The Politics of Activism: On Rhetoric and Power

By Andie Alexander

“So are you a political activist now?”

I’m not the kind of person who often posts on Facebook about politics. After all, I’m still a grad student hoping to get a job one day, and there’s no telling what sorts of ideas people could formulate about me based solely on my Facebook posts. With that always in the back of my mind, I tend to keep my posts mostly about the academic study of religion (well, that, and pictures of my dogs, obviously, because they’re adorable). However, over the past few weeks, I have been sharing significantly more news articles and reports on my Facebook page. In the wake of this exponential increase in the number of political articles and photos from the Denver Women’s March (see above) on my page, folks were somewhat surprised with my seemingly sudden interest in politics. So much so that some have even called me a political activist.

When others heard these comments about my newfound activism, some agreed in a positive way, while others maintained that I was not a political activist and that I was just sharing information. However, what struck me about these comments was not whether I really am/am not a political activist — to me that misses the point. Rather, I am more interested in this label or designation of “political activist.” For the more I thought about it, I realized that this identifier rarely has a positive connotation. Continue reading “The Politics of Activism: On Rhetoric and Power”

Immigration and Two Forms of Identification

Recognizing identifications as narrative constructs or fixed identities organizes the world in particular ways that inform the debate over the immigration order that Trump issued last Friday, shutting down admission of refugees for 120 days and banning citizens of 7 predominately Muslim countries from entering the US for 90 days. Certainly, one aspect of the debate hinges on a person’s willingness to generalize an entire nationality as a threat, as some have asserted that everyone from those countries hates the United States, but these two models of identification also serve different functions in different settings.

Continue reading “Immigration and Two Forms of Identification”

We’re All From Someplace Else

10ways

Have you been following the ongoing debate about whether Britain should stay in the European Union? There’s a referendum coming up (on June 23) and discussions of economic impact, should it leave or stay, are often cited.

But there’s also arguments based on immigration — whether pro or con. Continue reading “We’re All From Someplace Else”

Just a few Notes

aristocatsKnow that image? It’s from the once popular Disney movie “The AristoCats” (1970) — take a look at the scene: Continue reading “Just a few Notes”

Your Turn: Are they “illegals” or “post-fetal persons”?

Mexican children

For the past several days this image has circulated around Facebook in response to the recent flood of Central American children reaching the southern borders of the U.S. in hopes of gaining safe passage, many of them escaping violent home countries. If you’re unfamiliar with the dynamics of what’s gone on, you can read more about it here.

Clearly, this situation has given many political groups ample opportunity to engage in the manufacture of various identities as they take sides on the issue. What identity strategies have you seen at play in this conflict? How have they operated? In what political/social/cultural contexts do they appear to be effective? It’s your turn.

Code Switching in the Funny Papers

Picture 6This morning on National Public Radio, there was a story on a cross-cultural comic book superhero…. Continue reading “Code Switching in the Funny Papers”