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Linguistic Ideologies, Fallacies of Racism, and the Construction of a Racial "Gaffe"
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linguistic ideologies
covert racism
fallacies of racism

How to Cite

Rigby, David. 2015. “Quot”;. TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology, April. Washington DC: American Sociological Association.


The purpose of this activity is to introduce students to sociological and linguistic concepts useful for analyzing media narratives often encountered during the "moral panics" that follow infamous racist utterances. In order to do this, the activity utilizes video of an infamous racist chant that went viral in early 2015, along with several articles and...

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Subject Area(s):
Racial and Ethnic Relations
Resource Type(s):
Class Level(s):
College 100
Class Size(s):

Usage Notes

This activity can be modified for time or by class size.

To shorten the activity, and to accommodate class dynamics, the instructors can choose to skip Part 1 (assuming students have completed the readings) and/or Part 3, choosing to focus on the videos, and completion of the activity sheet.

Part 2 can be adapted to larger class sizes....

Download this resource to see full details. Download this resource to see full details.

Learning Goals and Assessments

Learning Goal(s):

  1. Define, identify, and differentiate among relevant linguistic ideologies, and five fallacies about racism.
  2. Apply five fallacies about racism, as well as linguistic ideologies that contribute to understanding of racist utterances as gaffes, by identifying their use in media discourse.
  3. Challenge the construction of the "gaffe" narrative, by assessing metacultural impacts from comment boards—as described in the assigned readings—and by evaluating personal experience with racial "light talk" and ideologies underlying such talk.

Goal Assessment(s):

  1. Students will demonstrate their initial knowledge and comprehension by completing a take-home review sheet assigned with the readings, and through a review session at the beginning of class, during which students will be asked to explain relevant terms.
  2. Students will be assessed on their analysis, and application skills through the completion of the activity sheet
  3. The activity will end in a class discussion where students will be asked to identify responses to gaffes that exemplify circulation of racist language, and to apply course perspectives to personal experiences with racial "light talk"

When using resources from TRAILS, please include a clear and legible citation.

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