Language and Prejudice (A Longman Topics Reader)

Allyn & Bacon
Tamara M. Valentine  
Total pages
October 2003
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Language and Prejudice (A Longman Topics Reader)
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Part of the “Longman Topics” reader series, The Language of Prejudice examines the effects language has on societal biases.

This brief collection of readings focuses on the way language influences and prejudices society's view on race, gender, age, disabilities, and sexual preferences. Thought-provoking selections ask students to think about timely and relevant issues such as: racial slurs and other offensive language, anti-feminist discourse, and verbal assaults on homosexuals. Divided into seven chapters, each features six or more essays of varying lengths. Brief apparatus helps students write more thoughtfully in response to the selections and to think more critically about the importance of choosing language wisely.

“Longman Topics” are brief, attractive readers on a single complex, but compelling, topic. Featuring about 30 full-length selections, these volumes are generally half the size and half the cost of standard composition readers.


  • Half the size and cost of typical readers, “Longman Topics” can be used alone or paired with other texts.
  • Sixty-two essays provide insight into the biases of language in a range of literary styles and reading levels.
  • Provocative readings include, “How Are We Doing with Nigger?” “Language and Woman's Place,” “Queer,” and “The Language of Ageism.”
  • Discussion questions, projects, and other writing activities open each chapter and provide a framework for classroom debate.

Table of Contents

1. Language and Society.

1. Haig A Bosmajian. Introduction, From “The Language of Oppression.”

2. David Crystal, The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis.

3. Kamala Das, An Introduction.

4. Eva Hoffman, Exile from “Lost in Translation.”

5. Lewis Carroll, Humpty Dumpty.

6. Abigail Van Buren, Proud to be an American Means Speaking any Language, for Some.

2. Language and Ethnicity.

7. Amoja Three Rivers, Cultural Etiquette: A Guide for the Well-Intentioned.

8. Ossie Davis, The English Language Is My Enemy!

9. Randall Kennedy, How Are We Doing with Nigger?

10. Rob Nelson, The Word 'Nigga' Is only for Slaves and Sambos.

11. Clara Standing Soldier, Ordinary Words Cause Extraordinary Pain.

12. S. L. Price, The Indian Wars.

13. Thomas Friedmann, Heard Any Good Jews Lately?

14. Mark McDonald, Term Limits: Hispanic? Latino? A National Debate Proves No One Name Pleases Everyone.

15. Anita Vasudeva, Can You Talk Mexican?

16. Aparisim Ghosh, Subcontinental Drift: The Mind of a Racist.

17. Guidelines for Avoiding Racist Language.

3. Language and Gender.

18. Laura Hutchison, A Script of Their Own.

19. Pamela Perry, The Secret Language of Women.

20. Alleen Pace Nilsen, Sexism in English: Embodiment and Language.

21. Cheris Kramarae and Paula A. Treichler, From Words on a Feminist Dictionary.

22. Deborah Tannen, Marked Women.

23. Ashwini Dhongde, Small Ads: Matrimonials.

24. Mark Magnier, In Japan, Women Fight for the Last Word on Last Names.

25. Guidelines for Gender-Neutral Language or Nonsexist Language.

4. Language and Sexuality.

26. Jessica Parker, Language: A Pernicious and Powerful Tool.

27. Christopher M., Respect My Right to Be Responsible: Homophobia's Last Day in School.

28. Lillian Faderman, Queer.

29. Tom Pearson, Ironic Genius?

30. Guidelines for Avoiding Heterosexist and Homophobic Language.

5. Language and Age.

31. Barrie Robinson, Ageism.

32. Linda M. Woolf, Gender and Ageism.

33. Frank H. Nuessel, The Language of Ageism.

34. Guidelines for Age-Neutral or Nonageist Language.

6. Language and Ableism.

35. Maia Boswell, Sexism, Ageism, and “Disability”: (Re)Constructing Agency Through (Re)Writing Personal Narrative.

36. Nancy Mairs, On Being a Cripple.

37. Sucheng Chan, You're Short, Besides!

38. Michael Callen, AIDS: The Linguistic Battlefield.

39. Guidelines for Avoiding Ableist Language.