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Trumping Donald's Race Rhetoric

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 Election years are a particularly exciting time for Public Speaking educators like myself. Being able to connect theory and course material to the rhetoric and presentation styles of the presidential candidates creates relevancy and invites rich classroom discussion for my students. I have had some very colorful discussions in my class this semester centered around our presidential candidates and I knew that the second debate would be another opportunity for these conversations to continue.  I was eager to watch the second presidential debate since I knew that the content and delivery style of both candidates would be the hot topic in my classes this past Monday.
As I watched Hillary and Donald duke it out, I quickly noted the peculiar nonverbal behaviors of Trump.  He did many things I tell my students not to do- awkward movements , pacing back and forth, leaning on a chair, not making eye contact with his audience.Read he…

Lessons from Melania Trump's Plagiarism

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As a public speaking educator, I can not ignore the opportunity to discuss the speech Melania Trump gave at the Republic National Convention this past week. A portion of her now famous speech was admittedly plagiarized from a speech that our first lady, Michelle Obama, gave in 2008. If you have yet to hear or see the striking similarity of the two speeches, check out this short video clip. This incident of outright plagiarism can create a much needed awareness about academic integrity and hopefully teach us a few lessons about what not do when writing and delivering a speech.
In my years working with students and clients, I've realized that most of us are unaware of what plagiarism is and the potential consequences that come along with it. Plagiarizing according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary is “the act of using another person’s words or ideas without giving credit to that person.” As plagiarism.org explains original ideas that are recorded (think book, taped speech, or comput…

Coming Together in a Time of Tragedy

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There has been a growing divisiveness in our country between civilians and police officers in the last several years. Race relations are undeniably strained and it seems as if we are more divided as a nation than we have ever been in my lifetime. It is a frightening time to be a Black or Brown person in this country but also very frightening to be a police officer today. Police shootings of innocent Black and Brown (mostly) men NEEDS to stop. These senseless murders are rooted in stereotypes, prejudices, and institutional/systematic racism. We have a race problem in our justice system and I don’t think many people would argue that. However, lumping all police officers together and categorizing them as power hungry racists is just as dangerous as reducing an entire racial group as being violent criminals. Both of these depictions are static, inaccurate, and offensive. Instead of hating on each other and letting our personal biases create further racial tension and division, let’s learn…

Trump Hate with Love

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Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you are highly aware that Donald Trump is well on his way to becoming the Republican candidate for the upcoming presidential election. That’s right- Donald Drumpf the real estate developer and television personality who has been a pop culture icon in our country for decades has somehow been deemed by many of us Americans as “presidential.”

Before I go on, let me make one thing clear: This post is not intended to be political as I do not even know Drumpf’s platforms on many of the important issues (and to be fair- I don’t think he knows himself). The only thing Drumpf seems to be certain of is that he is “going to make America great again” without giving us consistent details of how he plans to do so. If you can’t tell by now- I don’t consider Drumpf a true politician. Just one of the many reasons I feel the way I do: Linguistic analysis of the various speeches that Drumpf has given shows that he speaks at the level between a 3rd and 4th grader.…