Critical Rhetorics of Race

368 pages

July, 2011

ISBN: 9780814762233



Also available in



Part of the Critical Cultural Communication series


Michael G. Lacy is Independent Scholar in Chicago, Illinois.

All books by Michael G. Lacy

Kent A. Ono is Chair of the Department of Communication at the University of Utah. He is author of Contemporary Media Culture and the Remnants of a Colonial Past (2009) and co-author of Asian Americans and the Media with Vincent Pham (2009) and Shifting Borders: Rhetoric, Immigration, and California's Proposition 187 with John Martin Sloop (2002).

All books by Kent A. Ono

According to many pundits and cultural commentators, the U.S. is enjoying a post-racial age, thanks in part to Barack Obama's rise to the presidency. This high gloss of optimism fails, however, to recognize that racism remains ever present and alive, spread by channels of media and circulated even in colloquial speech in ways that can be difficult to analyze.

In this groundbreaking collection edited by Michael G. Lacy and Kent A. Ono, scholars seek to examine this complicated and contradictory terrain while moving the field of communication in a more intellectually productive direction. An outstanding group of contributors from a range of academic backgrounds challenges traditional definitions and applications of rhetoric. From the troubling media representations of black looters after Hurricane Katrina and rhetoric in news coverage about the Columbine and Virginia Tech massacres to cinematic representations of race in Crash, Blood Diamond, and Quentin Tarantino’s films, these essays reveal complex intersections and constructions of racialized bodies and discourses, critiquing race in innovative and exciting ways. Critical Rhetorics of Race seeks not only to understand and navigate a world fraught with racism, but to change it, one word at a time.


  • “A timely, imaginative and energetic enlargement of the discourse on identity rhetorics in the 21st century. Through critical examinations of some of the most visible contemporary communications moments, these authors impel us to revisit the temptation to embrace a ‘beyond ideology, race, and interest’ mentality.”

    —Aaron David Gresson III, The Pennsylvania State University

  • "Many other scholarly works have, of course, explored issues of race depiction in the media...but few have challenged traditional definitions of race and diversity while advocating for change in such a germane, timely manner."