When Racist Language Spreads, Immigrants Suffer—and the Social Fabric Frays

The Recurring Backlash Against U.S. Newcomers Triggers Threats to Health, Safety, and the Rule of Law

If immigrant children are exposed to racist hate speech, how will it affect their mental and physical health? If elected officials indulge in immigrant-bashing rhetoric, could they embolden white supremacists to take to the streets wielding torches and Nazi flags?

Those timely, troubling questions, among many others, confronted panelists Tuesday evening at a Zócalo/The California Wellness Foundation event titled, “What Are the Social Consequences of Racist Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric?” The discussion took place as verbal attacks on Mexican immigrants and Muslims by President Trump and nativist pundits have escalated relentlessly. Meanwhile, media, …

More In: rhetoric

When Paranoid Rhetoric and Falsehoods Prevail, Public Trust Crumbles

A Government That Undercuts Peoples' Faith May Undermine Its Own Legitimacy

“Nothing is more surprising,” wrote David Hume in his 1758 First Principles of Government, than “the easiness with which the many are governed by the few.”

What explains this surprising …

The Rhetorical Power of Always Being at War

American Presidents Both Overstate Constant Threat and Understate the Human Cost as a Way to Ensure Faith in Government

An essential goal of American presidential rhetoric is to keep the public thinking the nation is constantly under threat, and thus reliably deferential to their ostensibly protective government.

You can …

Is Donald Trump a Rhetorical Virtuoso?

The Incendiary Candidate’s Popularity Isn’t Surprising If You Understand the Art of Persuasion

For thousands of years, rhetoric, the art of persuasion, was a core area of study in our schools. And rightly so. It was widely accepted that speaking and persuasion together …