Populist and Anti-Populist Discourse Concerning African-Americans. A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Central Park Five Case
Keywords:Populism, Critical Discourse Studies, African-Americans, Central Park Five, Donald Trump
AbstractWhile much work has been done on discourse and populism in Europe concerning various minority groups, little is understood about how populist ideologies are manifested through discourse in current US political and media discourses concerning African-Americans. Using the framework of Critical Discourse Analysis, the present study seeks to uncover such discursive patterns. Based on Wodak’s (2015) conception of populism as tied to fear, scapegoating, and ‘othering,’ the current paper aims to address populist discourse in US (social) media. A collection of diverse online media is employed (news articles, YouTube videos) to analyze the populist discourse of Donald Trump, his supporters, and his anti-populist opponents. Particular attention is paid to (anti) racist discourse concerning African-Americans, primarily the case of the Central Park Five. Specifically, the discursive strategies in these types of discourses are examined in order to explain how populism is structured and manifested in discourse, affording the unique opportunity to further understand the unfolding of populist text and talk in its recent and ongoing stages. Findings indicate that the most prominent discursive strategies that characterize these media, and that manifest populist attitudes are despective lexical choice, legitimation, evasion, and exclusionary rhetoric. This qualitative analysis reveals the subtle ways in which African-Americans are discriminated against through language use and sheds light on (anti) populist ideologies in US media. Additionally, this work tries to fill a gap in exploring resistance discourse (i.e. anti-populist), an understudied area in the critical discourse studies literature.
Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo. “Rethinking Racism: Toward a Structural Interpretation.” American Sociological Review 62.3 (1997): 465-480.
Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo and Tyrone A. Forman. “’I Am Not A Racist But’ Mapping White College Students’ Racial Ideology in the USA.” Discourse & Society 11.1 (2000): 50-85.
Casado-Velarde, Manuel. “El discurso político de Podemos: La construcción de una identidad.” Círculo de Lingüística Aplicada a la Comunicación 80 (2019): 177-190.
Casaravilla, Diego. “Crisis social, discurso y xenofobia.” Buenos Aires. Ciudad con Migrantes. Buenos Aires: Dirección General de la Mujer, Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, 2003. 15-28.
Cobb, Jelani. “The Central Park Five, Criminal Justice, and Donald Trump.” The New Yorker 19 Apr. 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-central-park-five-criminal-justice-and-donald-trump. All websites last visited 30/01/2020.
Courtis, Corina, et al. “Racism and Discourse: A Portrait of the Argentine Situation.” Racism and
Discourse in Latin America. Edited by Teun A. Van Dijk. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2009. 3-55.
Courtis, Corina. Discriminación étnico-racial: discursos públicos y experiencias cotidianas: Un estudio centrado en la colectividad coreana. Buenos Aires: Editores del Puerto, 2012.
Degani, Marta. “Endangered Intellect: A Case Study of Clinton Versus Trump Campaign Discourse.” Iperstoria –Testi Letterature Linguaggi 8 (2016): 131-145.
Gregorian, Dareh. “Trump on Central Park 5: ‘They Admitted Their Guilt’” NBC News 18 June 2019. https://www.nbcnews.com/video/trump-refuses-to-apologize-to-central-park-5-62191685996.
Hayes, Chris. “Trump Still Thinks ‘Central Park Five’ Are Guilty | All In | MSNBC.” YouTube, uploaded by MSNBC, 7 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67pQmshOOvA.
Homolar, Alexandra and Ronny Scholz. “The Power of Trump-speak: Populist Crisis Narratives and
Ontological Security.” Cambridge Review of International Affairs (2019): 1-21.
Htun, Mala. “From ‘Racial Democracy’ to Affirmative Action: Changing State Policy on Race in Brazil.” Latin American Research Review 39.1 (2004): 60-89.
Khan, Mohsin Hassan, et al. “Muslims’ Representation in Donald Trump’s Anti-Muslim-Islam Statement: A Critical Discourse Analysis.” Religions 10.115 (2019): 1-16.
Knight, Alan. “Populism and Neo-Populism in Latin America, Especially Mexico.” Journal of Latin American Studies 30.2 (1998): 223-248.
Lakoff, George. “Understanding Trump.” Georgelakoff.com 23 July 2016. https://georgelakoff.com/2016/07/23/understanding-trump-2.
Moffitt, Benjamin. The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style, and Representation. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2016.
---. “The Populism/Anti-Populism Divide in Western Europe.” Democratic Theory 5.2 (2018): 1-16.
Mudde, Cas. “The Populist Radical Right: A Pathological Normalcy.” West European Politics 33.6 (2010): 1167-1186.
---. “The Populist Zeitgeist.” Government and Opposition 39.4 (2004): 541-563.
Mudde, Cas and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser. “Exclusionary vs. Inclusionary Populism: Comparing Contemporary Europe and Latin America.” Government and Opposition 48 (2013): 147-174.
---. “Vox Populi or Vox Masculini? Populism and Gender in Northern Europe and South America.” Patterns of Prejudice 49.1-2 (2015): 16-36.
Ostiguy, Pierre and Kenneth M. Roberts. “Putting Trump in Comparative Perspective: Populism and the Politicization of the Sociocultural Low.” The Brown Journal of World Affairs 23.1 (2016): 25-50.
Pelinka, Anton. “Right-Wing Populism: Concept and Typology.” Right-Wing Populism in Europe: Politics and Discourse. Edited by Ruth Wodak, Majid KhosraviNik, and Brigitte Mral. London: Bloomsbury, 2013. 3-22.
Sclafani, Jennifer. Talking Donald Trump: A Sociolinguistic Study of Style, Metadiscourse, and Political Identity. London: Routledge, 2018.
Stavrakakis, Yannis. “Populism, Anti-Populism and Democracy.” Political Insight 9.3 (2018): 33-35.
---. “The Return of ‘the People:’ Populism and Anti-Populism in the Shadow of the European Crisis.” Constellations 21.4 (2014): 505-517.
Stavrakakis, Yannis, et al. “Populism, Anti-populism and Crisis.” Contemporary Political Theory 17.1 (2017): 4-27.
The Breakfast Club. “Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise Speak on Life After 'Central Park Five,’ Injustice Systems + More.” YouTube, uploaded by Breakfast Club Power 105.1 FM, 20 September 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45WYi6QY3zQ.
Trump, Donald. “Bring Back the Death Penalty. Bring Back Our Police!.” New York Daily News 1 May 1989. http://apps.frontline.org/clinton-trump-keys-to-their-characters/pdf/trump-newspaper.pdf.
---. “Donald Trump: Central Park Five settlement is a ‘disgrace.’” New York Daily News 21 June 2014. https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/donald-trump-central-park-settlement-disgrace-article-1.1838467.
Van Dijk, Teun A. “Critical Discourse Analysis.” The Handbook of Discourse Analysis (2nd ed.). Edited by Deborah Tannen, Heidi E. Hamilton, and Deborah Schiffrin. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015. 466-485.
---. Dominación étnica y racismo discursivo en España y América Latina. Barcelona: Gedisa, 2003.
---. Ideology: A Multidisciplinary Approach. London: SAGE, 1998.
---. “Political Discourse and Racism: Describing Others in Western Parliaments.” The Language and Politics of Exclusion: Others in Discourse. Edited by Stephen H. Riggins. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 1997. 31-64.
---, edited by. Racism and Discourse in Latin America. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2009.
---. Racism and Discourse in Spain and Latin America. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2005.
Van Leeuwen, Theo and Ruth Wodak. “Legitimizing Immigration: A Discourse-Historical Analysis.” Discourse Studies 1.1 (1999): 83-119.
Wodak, Ruth. The Politics of Fear: What Right-Wing Populist Discourses Mean. London: SAGE, 2015.
Wodak, Ruth and Michael Meyer. “Critical Discourse Analysis: History, Agenda, Theory, and Methodology.” Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis (2nd ed.). London: SAGE, 2009. 1-33.
Wodak, Ruth and Teun A. van Dijk, edited by. Racism at the Top: Parliamentary Discourses on Ethnic Issues in Six European Countries. Klagenfurt: Drava Verlag, 2000.
Zavala, Virginia and Roberto Zariquiey. “I Segregate You Because Your Lack of Education Offends Me: An Approach to Racist Discourse in Contemporary Peru.” Racism and Discourse in Latin America. Edited by Teun A. Van Dijk. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2009. 259-289.
Copyright (c) 2020 Philip P. Limerick
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.Iperstoria is an Open Access journal.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 BY-NC License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of their work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal. We require authors to inform us of any instances of re-publication.