1st Edition

Tropes of Intolerance Pride, Prejudice, and the Politics of Fear

By Peter Rose Copyright 2021
    196 Pages
    by Routledge

    196 Pages
    by Routledge

    Continue Shopping

    Tropes of Intolerance is a Baedeker of bigotry, a short course on xenophobic racism and populist nationalism – both enduring threats to the social fabric of democratic societies.

    Each chapter is a self-contained commentary and a building block. In the first, the author considers the concepts of pride and prejudice and discusses patterns of discrimination and strategies of resistance. This is following by an illustrated consideration of the emblems of enmity – words, signs, symbols and other verbal and visual expressions of both chauvinism and intolerance. Linking the first two, the third chapter explores the nature of American Nativism and its contemporary expression. This is followed by an assessment of the exploitation of anxiety among particularly vulnerable sectors of society by skillful, manipulative leaders and their agents and the exacerbation of social divisions by the use of stereotyping, stigmatizing, and labeling. Chapter Five, "Trumped Up," narrows the focus to the present day, the president himself, and his exacerbation of polarizing particularism. A sixth chapter examines two of the most malignant ideologies -- resurgent anti-Semitism and the rise of Islamophobia -- bringing readers full circle. In addition to a brief Coda and a glossary of key terms related to the principal topic, there is a post-election Afterword written in late November, 2020.

    1. Pride and Prejudice
    2. Badges of Bigotry
    3. Wrapped in the Flag
    4. Exploitable Angst
    5. The Politics of Fear
    6. Malevolent Ideologies


    The author, sociologist and ethnographer Peter I. Rose, is Sophia Smith Professor Emeritus at Smith College and a visiting scholar at Stanford University’s Institute for Research in Social Science. Among his other books on race, ethnicity, immigration and the dilemmas of diversity are They and We, The Ghetto and Beyond, The Subject is Race, Strangers in Their Midst, Americans from Africa, Tempest-Tost, The Dispossessed, and Mainstream and Margins Revisited: Sixty Years of Commentary on American Minorities.

    In Tropes of Intolerance, Peter Rose lays out a compelling and intense review of the fear and hatred of the "other" that has existed in human history for millennia. He brings this ages-old phenomenon into present times and uses the persona of Donald Trump and the people who surrounded him during his administration as exemplars of these ancient, negative attitudes and actions. 

    Rose’s broad-scope framework puts current destructive stances regarding race, ethnicity, and gender into a context that allows us – actually forces us – to step back and ask, "what do we do now?" 

    It would be wonderful to see this book become a catalyst for a coming together of people who value and respect differences. The enormous, daunting task is to figure out how to mitigate long-standing, damaging human behaviors. Unhappily, it feels like an almost unachievable goal. But…huge thanks to Peter Rose for setting the challenge out before us.

    Marian Leah Knapp, Ph.D. is a writer, community activist, and author of Prohibition Wine: A True Story of One Woman’s Daring in Twentieth-Century America

    In this timely book, renowned sociologist Peter Rose explores the politics of fear, racism, xenophobia and bigotry that have long plagued American society and are particularly characteristic of the divisive and troubling Trump Era... This book is a must-read for those wanting to combat expressions of intolerance...  
    Damian Pargas, Professor of American History and Culture, Leiden University

    In these times when any given day’s news is likely to leave us feeling hopeless, Professor Rose has offered up quite a gift. Such an expansive survey of intolerance - in so many forms, over such a long time- brings invaluable perspective.
    Reading through the chapters, over and over I was reminded of something one of our favorite characters in How Democracy Works Now once said: ‘“You have to fight the big battles of a democracy again and again and again.”
    Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini, prize-winningdocumentary filmmakers of Well-Founded Fear and How Democracy Works Now.

    In his powerful narrative Peter Rose traces the historical evolution of the politics of exclusion and the marshalling of fear toward those who are different... His short course on xenophobic racism and its expression is both bracing and galvanizing.
    Jenny Moore, Professor of Law, University of New Mexico School of Law

    In this small volume consisting of six closely intertwined essays Peter Rose provides a succinct record of the many struggles to create 'out of many, one', as stipulated by the founders. In doing so he leaves no doubt that to him the MAGA mobilization and the politics of fear that he quotes in the title indicate the relapse into a social disease which has been plaguing the country from its inception: the self-inflicted iniquity of racism and white supremacy. … Those, however, who seek an answer to the question of how we got to where we are it is a must-read. It is one of its many qualities of this volume that it offers valuable insights and guidance for students and teachers.
    Jochen Fried, President, Global Citizenship Alliance

    Timely and trenchant. Peter Rose, who has written prolifically on these themes for more than half a century, aptly likens it to a short course on racist nationalism and nativism. He deftly examines their rebirth and polarizing effects in the age of Trump and the enduring threat to democracy’s social fabric.

    Rubén G. Rumbaut, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, University of California, Irvine