THE WRONGS OF THE RIGHT by Matthew W. Hughey


Language, Race, and the Republican Party in the Age of Obama
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A dissection of the language of the far right, showing the continued, although masked, biases inherent in their message.

After a quick history of civil rights and racist attitudes, Hughey (Sociology/Univ. of Conn.; The White Savior Film: Content, Critics, and Consumption, 2014, etc.) and Parks (Law/Wake Forest Univ.; co-editor: Alpha Phi Alpha: A Legacy of Greatness, the Demands of Transcendence, 2011, etc.) show the process that continues the message while avoiding political incorrectness. There are four dimensions at play: black dysfunction, white patriotism, white paternalism and white victimhood. The authors show how these dimensions have grown sociologically and legally over the years, especially since the election of the first black president, Barack Obama. The “Southern strategy” was a child of the ultraconservative Dixiecrats in response to Harry Truman’s civil rights program. They laid the groundwork for the advent of the tea party, birthers and the radical right. All of these groups exhibit elements of racism and are anti-immigrant, pro-gun, anti-deficit, anti-Semitic and pro-religion in government. Hughey and Parks demonstrate the different ways in which outright hostility can be masked by implicit racial biases and coded words and phrases—e.g., welfare queen, inner city, states’ rights, entitlement society, welfare state and liberal bias. Decrying Obama as the affirmative action president, the disrespect of journalists and talking heads like Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, as well as the use of dehumanizing symbols are all methods of this so-called principled conservatism, a term the authors reject outright—“the banner of ‘post-racialism’ is devoid of ethical currency.”

Many of the groups the authors investigate will find further fodder for their tirades, and liberals will doubtless get angry, but all should learn that there’s a limit to the insults American intelligence will tolerate.

Pub Date: May 30th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-8147-6054-3
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: New York Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2014


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