Prejudicial rhetoric is a powerful tool that is used to breed hatred and prejudice. It is, very simply, defined as language that causes harm or injury to a person or a group of people. Prejudicial rhetoric has been around since language developed; its main goal is to persuade people to believe certain notions about groups of people. This has negative effects on society, because it is often how prejudices are communicated and stereotypes are formed. The college generation of today needs to take notice of prejudicial language. This generation is the one with the power to create change as we develop the society further. The media plays a big role in the communication of prejudicial rhetoric. There are many issues where prejudicial rhetoric is a large factor in influencing society’s opinions, including: politics, race, sexuality, and feminism. Race is often very affected by prejudicial rhetoric, often without society taking notice.


Prejudicial rhetoric is biased opinions that are versed in a socially acceptable linguistic style. One person holds a preconceived notion about a certain issue or group of people, which, through the correct manipulation of words, can be spread throughout society. Prejudicial rhetoric is not always blatant and its intentions are often disguised. The idea of prejudicial rhetoric is that someone could say African Americans are inferior and that segregation should be reinstated, and as long as it is said in a socially acceptable manner, and have the ideas would be accepted by society without question. Often times, prejudicial rhetoric is intentional in its ability to hurt. Prejudicial language plays on the emotions of citizens and persuades them to believe certain notions. In a way it is brainwashing. One person believes one thing and gathers followers through persuasive communication.


Prejudicial rhetoric is the means for communicating prejudices. This makes the prejudices alive in society some of the causes for the use of prejudicial rhetoric. The media is a huge contributor to the use and the spread of prejudicial rhetoric. Through news broadcast and even newspaper ads, there is a huge spread of prejudicial language. In the recent devastation that Hurricane Katrina left in her wake there was looting occurring all over New Orleans. Race did not matter, everyone was hungry and everyone was looking for food. However, in the newspapers the African Americans were pictured with the caption calling the picture’s subjects ‘looters’. Everyone was looting yet only the black population was labeled as looters. The white population had a caption stating that the food was found. The prejudicial language in the term looters labeled the black population negatively. The story was run in countless newspapers due to the fact that the picture was from the Associated Press. The white people left the situation unscathed while the black population did not. This communicated the idea that the black population was incriminating New Orleans, while the white population was only trying to survive. This not only stereotypes, but also creates an unfair double standard between the races.


The idea of prejudicial rhetoric and its communication of racial prejudices through the media is one of the downfalls of our technology driven society. It creates stereotypes and double standards. There is a widespread communication of racially biased ideas that become socially acceptable due to the language choice. These preconceived notions about racial minorities dictate their label in society and the place they take. By shining a negative light on a racial minority the prejudice is kept alive and they are treated accordingly. Society might have thought that prejudices were dropped due to the Civil Right Movement, but in actuality it is just the opposite. Society is still prejudice and still treats minorities as inferior, not always through actions, but definitely through language. Old prejudices are resurrected in a new linguistic style. This new style communicates the same idea, but sounds better and is less blatant in its racial biasness. After the Civil War in the South when there was devastation everywhere, the African American and white double standard was the same as it was after Hurricane Katrina. This is pretty backwards for a land that claims to be the land of equal opportunity; the land was completely transformed by Civil Rights Movement. The media is the means through which these prejudices are communicated. It grows progressively worse as the media weighs more and more on people’s lives. Through televised news broadcasts and the internet these biases are much more easily communicated. The media is a part of everyone’s lives and has a large influence on society’s opinion and in turn the way they treat others.


Prejudicial rhetoric is the means by which hatred and biasness are honed, and communicated to society. The social reverberations are endless and the prejudices are hard to drop once formed. There is a simple formula for breeding prejudice: take one preconceived notion and add some use of prejudicial rhetoric. By seeing through prejudicial rhetoric and in thinking for ourselves, some prejudices would be done away with. This is why prejudicial rhetoric is important to my generation, who is the future of America. This generation can control how things develop in America, and can help to stop the use of prejudicial rhetoric. Without an acceptable means of communication, prejudices will not survive.





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