Shock Jocks, the Radical Right and the Roots of Trumpism
Event Organizer: Professor Christian Paiz (christian.paiz [at] berkeley.edu)
This talk examines the deeper roots of Trumpism's xenophobia and white supremacy, arguing that President Trump benefitted from a wave of white fear and anger, rather than originating it. Tracing the origins of our current U.S. culture of intolerance and fear back to 9/11, Professor Young first considers Glenn Beck, a right-wing shock jock and Fox pundit, whose meteoric rise was largely due to his exploitation of the 9/11 attacks, which he typically discussed by couching Islamophobic and racist views in the language and rhetoric of the Black civil rights movement. Beck's borrowing of civil rights rhetoric was accompanied by his borrowing of its iconography, largely through a series of "Restoring Honor" D.C. rallies, one of which was held on the 47th anniversary of the 1961 March on Washington. Beck's rise fueled and coincided with the emergence of the Tea Party and the decentralization of the anti-immigration movement. After Obama's election, the Tea Party transformed its attacks on federal economic bailouts to attacks on the first Black president, whom they framed as anti-American, anti-white, a radical Socialist, and perhaps secretly Muslim. As the Tea Party coalesced in 2004, anti-immigration groups dispersed, turning their attention away from federal policy to focus on local and state level anti-immigration initiatives, joining local Tea Parties and other right-wing groups in the process. Militias and so-called "patriot" self-defense groups increasingly mobilized after Obama's election. These three elements — shock jock celebrity, the Tea Party, and white self-defense groups — were key ingredients fueling white xenophobia and anti-black racism in the first two decades of the 21st century.
This event is virtual and is open to all members of the community. Zoom webinar registration is required. (You must have a Zoom account in order to attend.)
The Race, Ethnicity and Immigration Colloquium invites speakers from the Berkeley campus and other institutions to report on research touching on various aspects of race, ethnicity, and immigration. One important theme explored by the colloquium is the changing shape of ethnic politics in the country. A second, closely related theme is the impact of immigration on the nation and on California's political and economic life. Recent censuses show important changes in the country's ethnic make-up: large increases in the Latino population, the emergence of a group of residents who prefer to identify themselves as bi-racial, and changing patterns of naturalization among the various immigrant groups. These changes have altered the meaning of the civil rights revolution and have important implications for public opinion, electoral outcomes and government policy.