Race Baiter comes to Chicago

It’s no secret that Chicago is one of the – if not the most – segregated big city in our nation. That said, what better place to discuss race and how the media portrays it than right here? And who better to launch the discussion of race in the media than Eric Deggans, the multiple award-winning TV critic for National Public Radio, and author of “Race-Baiter: How the media wields dangerous words to divide a nation.”

In this work, Deggans discusses how some media entities use words to thinly veil race. We all know what this is. Perhaps you’ve been a part of the Twitter discussion on any given Sunday in past years when people discuss why some commentators routinely compare some Black athletes to really fast or really strong animals while also stating that some white athletes are simply smart. Or maybe you’ve wondered why the word urban is routinely used instead of the word black – as if the two are synonyms. If that’s the case, does Justin Timberlake really sing “urban” music? Conversations about our use of words and their various nuances are usually very enlightening. And of course, the discussion of race as it pertains to descriptions of crime or media coverage of crime is an encyclopedia in and of itself. Not everything is as it seems. And that’s just the tip of what Deggans digs into in his discussions. (And if you’re already huffy about this post, don’t worry, he tackles gender issues in the media too.)

Deggans got his book title courtesy of Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, who described Deggans as a “race baiter” because Deggans critiqued O’Reilly’s reliance on coded language to describe blacks. He’s speaking at Depaul University twice on Wednesday. The first talk, How Well Do You Really Know Race?, discusses “misguided ideas” about race, poverty, drugs and crime.

Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014

Student Center 120AB, 2250 N. Sheffield Ave.

1:00pm-2:30pm

The second speech is entitled: How to Talk Across Race in a Polarized World.

Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014

Student Center 120AB, 2250 N. Sheffield Ave.

6:00pm-7:30pm

— Adrienne Samuels Gibbs

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