Rather than considering political discussions and rhetoric as symbolic, inconsequential forms of politics, Governing with Words conceptualizes them as forms of government action that can shape institutions and societal norms. Daniel Q. Gillion refers to this theory as 'discursive governance'. Federal politicians' statements about racial and ethnic minority concerns aid the passage of minority public policies and improve individual lifestyle behaviors. Unfortunately, most of the American public continues to disapprove of politicians' rhetoric that highlights race. The book argues that addressing racial and ethnic inequality continues to be a tug-of-war between avoiding the backlash of the majority in this nation while advocating for minority interests. Even though this paradox looms over politicians' discussions of race, race-conscious political speech, viewed in its entirety, is the mechanism by which marginalized groups find a place in the democratic process. Such race-conscious discussions, the book argues, have ramifications both within and outside of government.
Table of Contents
1. Discursive governance: toward a holistic approach to understanding a dialogue on race in government; 2. Measuring the political dialogue on race; Part I. Societal Reception to a Dialogue on Race: 3. The backlash: does America disapprove of racial discussions?; 4. The benefits: political rhetoric and health awareness in the minority community; Part II. Political Institutions and a Dialogue on Race: 5. Racial frames and policy coalitions: how the dialogue on race shapes the creation of public policy; 6. The disconnect between political rhetoric and public policy; 7. A place for a racial dialogue in an aspiring post-racial society.