A Racial Reckoning of a Progressive Ideology in Public Discourse
Applying racial formation theory, this research argues that when the political progressive ideology becomes the status quo, it loses its focus on “reform” and “progress” toward equity. Critical discourse analysis of media texts reveals how the ideology evolved into a “racial project” perpetuating institutional racism. When a moment of racial reckoning is presented to challenge the hegemonic politics in this case study, politicians, journalists, and engaged citizens employ discursive strategies to uncover privileges, call out (dis)trusting relationships, and reclaim the dominant narrative around what reform and progress look like. This work demonstrates how political communication unfolds when a progressively maintained infrastructure is revealed to be a system of oppression and where digital platforms allow for a substantial challenge.