Press Releases

September 27, 2016

Presidential Debate the Latest Chapter in Political Race Baiting, Penn GSE Educational Linguist says

September 27, 2016

Nelson Flores is available for comment on the first presidential debate.

Media Contact: 

Jeff Frantz (215)-898-3269/

*Note for TV and radio: The University of Pennsylvania has an on-campus ISDN line and ready access to a satellite uplink facility with live-shot capability.


Dr. Nelson Flores

"As someone who studies the intersection of language and race and the different racial tropes that were used, I think we need to pay attention to the words both candidates used. On the one hand, you have Trump creating this vision of the 'hell' that Black and Latinos in the inner-city live in while simultaneously chastising Clinton for her use of the term 'super predator' to describe inner city Black and Latinos during the 1990s.

"Both of these racial tropes serve to reinforce images of violent communities of color that need saving. It plays on racial fears of white swing voters, while allowing them to distance themselves from claims of racism — since they can position themselves as wanting to save communities of color (often having never entered one) from the "super predators" and hell that they live in. In many ways, Trump's race baiting is a continuation of the race baiting of the Clintons. They, in turn, inherited this from the so-called Southern strategy first utilized by Richard Nixon as a way of winning the so-called "silent majority" vote as a backlash to the Civil Rights movement." -Nelson Flores

• Nelson Flores studies how children learn language, and how schools help or harm bilingual students with their policies.

• Flores advises the School District of Philadelphia as it replaces transitional Spanish-to-English language programs with dual language programs that give both languages equal weight, and he continues to work directly with Philadelphia bilingual teachers to develop Common Core-aligned instruction.

• Flores is a research partner in the Center on Standards, Alignment, Instruction, and Learning (C-SAIL), based at Penn GSE and funded by the Institute of Education Sciences to study the implementation and effects of the full breadth of college- and career-readiness standards.