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How public insults have become political strategies

By Steve Goldstein
Published: Thursday, November 4, 2021 - 11:33am

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The Public Insult Playbook by Ruth Colker
University of California Press
“The Public Insult Playbook: How Abusers in Power Undermine Civil Rights Reform,” by Ruth Colker.

The dramatic political divide in the U.S. is clearly evident on days like Nov. 2 — even if the 2021 Election Day is mild compared to what we’ll expect to see next year or in 2024.

As part of that divide, we’re witnessing much more raw language and the use of personal criticisms in the public square — which some attribute to former President Donald Trump’s style and rhetoric.

In the new book, "The Public Insult Playbook: How Abusers in Power Undermine Civil Rights Reform," Ruth Colker explores the ways in which people in power on the right have kept certain groups — including people of color and those with disabilities — from truly being treated equally. She also makes suggestions for how to improve the situation.

The Show spoke with her to learn about the extent we are seeing people feeling more empowered to insult others without hesitation — particularly those who don’t look or think like they do.

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