description:

I am an interdisciplinary and intersectional rhetorical and media studies scholar of social movements. I focus my scholarship of identity rhetorics on how institutions construct identity to influence community engagement. The questions I critically engage about identity, the relationship between content and form, and marginalized rhetorics offer students in rhetoric meaningful, praxis driven ways to engage in close textual analysis. Building on traditional work on white nationalism and feminist rhetorics, I utilize critical theory to develop theory within the area of social movement rhetoric. I completed my Ph.D. at Purdue University in Communication Studies and am currently working in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cites in Minneapolis teaching Argumentation, Communication Ethics, and Freedom of Speech. I can be reached at wzeitz@umn.edu

Friday, March 03, 2017

"I can't keep quiet...for anyone"

It's 4am and I am awake. I am "woke" (if I can write that without appropriating black culture, but rather appreciating the insight and roots of the term) and there is no going back. 

It is time, it has been time, but invention is the mother of necessity, without conflict there is no change, without constraint no creativity, whatever adage you need to see it, explain it, understand it, we are amidst a cultural transcendence...a cultural revolution. Folks saw this coming and we refused to listen...until we couldn't look away.

We are now faced with a question (or two). Where do you stand? More importantly, who you stand with and what you will stand (or not stand) for? Will you continue to assert power and control over others or seek opportunities to share power with others, to foster trust, empathy, and collaboration? Will you accept the continued oppression of people that violates civil rights or humanity because it ain't that bad for you (yet)? Will you accept  systems of oppression because you benefit from it? ....or will you rise?

#resist
@womensmarch
#BeBoldForChange
#WID2017




I stand for a greater conception/recognition/inclusion of people within our laws, our policies, our politics. However, without the introspection about what it means to be a human being and how we treat one another, our journey will fall short.

And I am done being quiet about my journey...


Monday, February 27, 2017

Scholar of Communication Studies

I am so privileged. I am white. I am middle class. I have a doctorate. I live in the U.S.

In recognizing that privilege and valuing equity it is my responsibility to continue to find ways to support others who do not have those privileges so they are able to be heard in their struggle to gain access to influence in the many institutional systems in U.S. culture. 

I have chosen this role of service, not because it is an easy or difficult road, but because equity is the soul of the U.S. Equity is how we    abide by our laws; our constitution and Amendments. Equity is why I will continue to do scholarly work (teaching is a part of that work) in the area of Freedom of Speech  Communication Ethics, Analysis of Argument, and Pubic Speaking, giving special attention to digital media. 

However, without my underrepresented status of being a woman, I am not sure that I would have recognized what oppression felt or feels like. Once one has experienced and recognized systemic oppression, how can one walk away from working to influence and empower others to influence those institutions.

So, I guess this is my manifesto, my scholarly statement of what I do...how I do it is on the CV (see link) or ask. Sometimes a question is the best argument we have.  

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Women and abuse (we march for freedom)

Looking away means you are guilty of walking by. Abuses of power against people (specifically women), happens everywhere. What will you do?

 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Intersectionality...more than just compiling under representations

It started with an election result, gained steam as I saw pervasive discontent being organized, and resulted in one of the most moving experiences of my life: my participation in the Women's March in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Don't get me wrong-I've participated in social change efforts, including protests, before, but this movement is different. Today I was immersed in what large scale a movement could be....a massive, wave-like tsunami all headed in the direction of our institution responsible for preserving the democracy of our state...and, this protest was the first of many waves to come. 

I knew that I was attending the protest early on. Early in the week, a close friend of mine, Alma, solidified my plans as she invited me to come with her and her sisters. 
 (Image taken by Luis Puga)
She sent me a picture of her sign and offered me the "motivation" to make my own. Our friendship is an example of how this movement works-she is one of my best friends and we challenge each other's thought processes and socio-cultural coding, yet retain what matters: our respect of one another's humanity and autonomy of perspective. So much of our relationship embodies a willingness to listen about our intersectionality (Crenshaw) and a mutual recognition of and desire to engage intersectionality, whether it be sex and gender with class and/or race or otherwise. We experience different shackles or constraints, but our oppressions are tied and complicated by the intersection of oppression (race with sex and class, class with sex and gender). We are bonded to one another-we see our lives as interconnected (Starhawk, Truth or dare). 

The Women's movement, like the Rhetoric of Malcolm X 53 years prior, bonds women together, but it definitely has limitations. 


One protestor illustrated some of those limitations today as she noted a lack of intersectional recognition with sexuality.
 

Another protestor noted how her life was compromised through this election, not only because she was a woman, but a Mexican woman. 
 

But in order for intersectionality to move forward the movement, we must identify those common parts, parts of our souls we recognize and share with one another, as so well noted by America Ferrera

We need to know, understand, and share our roots, our immigrant and indigenous roots, our desires to be listened to, be accounted for, and allowed to choose our lives. We have to embody the lady liberty that is our shared cultural icon and unite to ensure our freedom of democracy is not compromised due to someone's limited or constrained vision of us.
 
 
 

That is the only hope we have because our history mandates it. We must choose to learn who we were to know who we are and envision who we must become. And it is with those ideological stars in our eyes that we can become our future, not a perfect future, but one where we are perfectly human and our identities are included in our institutions and systems, closer to the ideal set by our laws.

Today I witness the start of our revolution because Good Girls Revolt (at least those with certain privileges feel able to do so). It is time to get Nasty, and thank you Janet Jackson, because you made our rallying cry.
 
We have a long way to go and so much to change and reorganize, but it is time it has been time!) to take action to change what you can no longer accept. I can no longer accept the static character of "woman" placed on me or any other people. I refuse, resist, and rebel against our treatment as single dimensional beings and look forward to our next strides together to ensure our revolution does not become this one-time event.

 


References

Images taken by me on 1/21/2017

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Book Proposal first page...

Following the 2016 election and shock of its turnout, media outlets published a series of articles identifying various groups responsible for the election results. Some focused on millennials voting for third party candidates or not voting at all (Blake, Green, Kartje). Others highlighted the non-voters or voters with religious affiliations like evangelicals (Flynn) or even working class white voters (Young). However, what I found most interesting were the various media outlets who identified white women as a source or turning point for the 2016 election. Out of all the people marginalized in the U.S., and specifically targeted during the 2016 election (Black people, Latino people, Muslim people, women), more white women (53%) voted for Donald Trump than another other group of marginalized people such as 13% of Black men, 4% of Black women, 33% of Latino men, and 6% of Latino women (CNN exit polls, Ibrahim, Rogers). Even more authors and media outlets continue to attribute white women for the downfall of the 2016 election (Bianco, Grattan, McDonough, Moore, Orlov). Why wasn’t I surprised? While studying White Nationalist women and racism in the U.S. over the last ten years, I found white women to be at the apex of the White Nationalist movement...

Forthcoming article entitled "(De)coding Whiteness: Rhetorical Refinement of Coded Rhetoric by White Nationalist Women Appropriated by U.S. Politicians"

Well, after ten long years of dissertation-related research, I have my first single author work in a special issue (Race, Whiteness, and Resentment) of Rhetoric Review that is developing into a book proposal. Here is the abstract: In 2007, White Nationalist women became a primary source of inferential racism directed at white women and girls in online spaces. White Nationalist women’s webspaces functioned as a space of rhetorical refinement for coded rhetoric used by Republican and Libertarian politicians in the 2016 election cycle. During his successful 2016 presidential campaign, Donald J. Trump and gained maintained public support by appropriating coded racist rhetoric. Through this comparative analysis, I unmask Trump’s coded rhetoric to illustrate how he appropriated White Nationalist women’s rhetorical refinement to signal white supremacist values and privilege to mainstream audiences.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Interview on Mediated Motherhood for the Star Tribune

Based on some the research that Kittie Grace and I recently completed, I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by Aimee Blanchette from the star Tribune about social media and motherhood. I am grateful for the opportunity to share insights from our work!



Monday, January 19, 2015

Our Legacy of Civil Rights: Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today I post one thing.

Shocking I know for all of you who know my posting habits on facebook where I posted this originally, but desperate times call for deliberate measures and I ask you to consider our civil rights today.

We are called today to consider the rights and responsibilities we have to and with each other. I offer Dr. King's words from 'A Letter from a Birmingham Jail' and have linked the statements from the DFL Chairman posted by #BlackLivesMatter (https://www.dfl.org/dfl-news/2015/01/chairman-ken-martin-black-lives-matter/). Both are incredibly eloquent and their words resonate for me today as we look upon this new year contemplating the important things in our lives.

Dr, King wrote, 'You deplore the demonstrations that are presently taking place in Birmingham. But I am sorry that your statement did not express a similar concern for the conditions that brought the demonstrations into being. I am sure that each of you would want to go beyond the superficial social analyst who looks merely at effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. I would not hesitate to say that it is unfortunate that so-called demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham at this time, but I would say in more emphatic terms that it is even more unfortunate that the white power structure of this city left the Negro community with no other alternative.'

Demonstrations happen because people must embody change-the alternative is a slow death and, once someone has glimpsed that bleak future, the 'alternative' action becomes one's only means of survival.

Today, there will be a demonstration, a March. Don't mistake it-it is a March for freedom. Freedom from an identity that proceeds one's existence....especially in the eyes of the law. 

I ask you to consider a time when you have been reminded of one piece of your identity (race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, height, hair color, eye color, etc.) and, if you were reminded of one feature of your identity so much that you couldn't just live, what option would you have?