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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Richard C. Marback


Blackness and the Rhetoric of Racism examines blackness and the rhetoric of racism in two student protest movements, the Rhodes Must Fall Movement (RMF) at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and the Concerned Student 1950 Movement (CS1950) at the University of Missouri in the United States. A rhetorical analysis of the public addresses in these movements suggests that black discursive responses to racism are a distinct discourse within the rhetoric of racism, which is frequently ignored in rhetorical scholarship on racist discourse. While the rhetoric of racism is concerned with naming racist ideology to transcend negative racial difference, I argue that the presence of black discursive responses to racism complicates the rhetoric of racism in that it simultaneously affirms, subverts, and resists the rhetoric of racism. In this case, both of these two movements illustrate the link between black discourse and the rhetoric of racism in that students employ black discourse to disrupt perceptions of racism in academic settings with university-wide policies built on racial inclusion intended to transcend negative racial difference.

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