Synthesis Paper #2: Connecting course ideas to observations of language and race

Synthesis Paper #2: Connecting course ideas to observations of language and race. (You may also incorporate attention to class and gender.) 30 points
STEP 1
Find an article, video, or social media post that addresses race or racism in the US, Black Lives Matter protests, White Supremacist activities, police actions, policies towards undocumented workers, non-white populations in the U.S., etc. Using this source for your analysis analyze the role of language in constructing possible meanings indexed in the article, video or media post. Make specific observations about how language is being used. Don’t hesitate to take a deep dive into one utterance and really try to explore the possible meanings and connotations of the utterance. Think about what specific language may be indexing (pointing to) either directly or indirectly.
For inspiration, watch the following two videos: “What is Code Switching?” and “The Language of Racism.” The first discusses the codes people use to communicate with others. We all code switch, from the language we speak at home and at work or school. For people whose language differs more significantly from a standard American English dialect, this can be even more striking. Choice of code can thus signal messages about audience and meaning.
“The Language of Racism” is addressing how our language is full of skeletons of a more explicitly racist past and gets us to think about how specific expressions may reinforce racist ideas. Thinking more about people’s word choice, in particular, is one way to analyze utterances.
Material to help you with this paper:
Video: What is Code Switching?Links to an external site.
Podcast: “The Language of Racism: Why It’s Time to Get Rid of Master Bedroom, Cake Walk, Grandfather Clause” (Links to an external site.) (Transcript  Download Transcript)
Article related to above podcast: Everyday Words and Phrases that Have Racist Connotations (Links to an external site.)
Article: Analyzing the Underlying Meanings of “Black Lives Matter” and “All Lives Matter (Links to an external site.)”
Video on Indexicality by Jan BlommaertLinks to an external site. is a Belgian sociolinguist and linguistic anthropologist: Indexicality
Suggestions for possible texts you could analyze instead of finding your own text to analyze. These two articles (Van Over and McIntosh) come out of a recent volume entitled Language in the Trump Era, and they deal a bit more directly with the concept of power, but they also show how power is expressed directly through language. How might this understanding of the construction of power through language be useful for understanding how race, which is a power construct (see Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist) is also constructed through language?
Van Over, Brion. 2020. “Evaluator in Chief.” In Language is the Era of Trump, edited by Janet McIntosh and Norma Mendoza-Denton, 191-202. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  Download Van Over, Brion. 2020. “Evaluator in Chief.” In Language is the Era of Trump, edited by Janet McIntosh and Norma Mendoza-Denton, 191-202. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
A related article by Janet Holmes (which I discussed in the Week 7 lecture and also posted in the Week 7 Module), would also be interesting as a supplement to the Van Over article, or as a stand-alone discussion as she explores how compliments can expressed gender hierarchies.
Janet Holmes. 1998. “Complimenting: A Positive Politeness Strategy.” In Language and Gender: A Reader, edited by Jennifer Coates, 100-120. Oxford: Blackwell. Download Janet Holmes. 1998. “Complimenting: A Positive Politeness Strategy.” In Language and Gender: A Reader, edited by Jennifer Coates, 100-120. Oxford: Blackwell.
Janet McIntosh. 2020. “Crybabies and Snowflakes.” In Language is the Era of Trump, edited by Janet McIntosh and Norma Mendoza-Denton, 74-87. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Download Janet McIntosh. 2020. “Crybabies and Snowflakes.” In Language is the Era of Trump, edited by Janet McIntosh and Norma Mendoza-Denton, 74-87. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
STEP 2:
Your analysis: Read carefully through the written text you have identified and listen to or watch any associated audio or video texts.  Then think through how various course concepts might help you analyze the text/video you are focusing on. What language-related ideas or concepts might you use to discuss shed light on ideas being constructed or indexed through language.
Here are some suggestions for a possible relevant idea/concept:
The concept of language ideology
Indexicality
Direct and indirect indexicality
Mock Spanish (Jane Hill)
Code switching
The development of academic literacy (e.g. James Paul Gee)
Heath’s discussion of the Roadville vs. Trackton approaches to language development and literacy
Grammatical patterns/rules in AAE (African American English); the rule-governed nature of AAVE, e.g. invariant or habitual “be,” double negatives
The Ebonics controversy
Language vs. dialect
Misrecognition
Racist language
STEP 3:
Describe the article/text/video you are analyzing. Make careful description of specific language and action you are reading/hearing/witnessing (through transcription and description of other relevant details). Try to discern the meanings behind the language forms, both verbal and non-verbal, that are being used. What aspect of the linguistic expression are important for understanding its meaning? Focus on language/expression that you find most interesting. Drawing on one course concept, analyze the language being used. What is this language indexing? What are the implications of the language/words being used? Try to go deep in your discussion rather than just scratching the surface. See, for example, how understanding the term “Black Lives Matter” from the article, “Analyzing the Underlying Meanings of ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘All Lives Matter’.”
Due: Saturday of Week 8 @ 11:59 PM
Length: The paper must be a minimum of TWO (2) 1.5 or double-spaced pages. Try not to exceed four pages.
Title: Give your paper a catchy title.
Citation: Please include in your references page a citation for the text you are analyzing and any other sources you cite. If you would like to use anthropological citation consult the AAA Style Guide (Links to an external site.). Otherwise, just be consistent in your citation.
Rubric:
20 points:  Paper goes beyond expectations to exhibit a clear, original and innovative synthesis, bringing in discussion of relevant terms and theories to the analyze of the given text. All required components are present, including citation of sources.
18-19 points: Paper does a solid job in presenting a clear and innovative synthesis, focusing on a clear concept that is used and explicated to analyze the given text. Includes citation of sources.
16-17 points: Paper has identified a text for analysis and engaged in synthesis of ideas. Some elements of the paper are less developed, such as identification of a clear concept or the analysis of the text.
15 points and below:  Paper exhibits synthesis that is less clear and developed, bringing a less-developed discussion of terms and theories to the analyze of the given text. Required components may be missing, including citation of sources.

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