Coloring a Movement: 
Revealing Hegemony and Definition of “People of Color”
from the Perspective of POC

Photo: Raymond Haddad/

Group 3: Alvin Chang, Conor Knowles, Scott Lozano, Fumiko Nishioka, & Tzu-lin Wu

I. Introduction

Our group is focusing on the element of identity from the perspectives of People of Color (POC,) a subgroup of the 99% Movement. The obscure nature of race and differences comes into play in the self-identification of the group through social media. We specifically focus on how the movement defines the term, “color.” Having a better understanding about the definition of “color” can help us reveal the figure of hegemony hidden in our society.Texts are taken from the official blogs and micro-blogs of the POC movement. These sources reflect the most contemporary views which directly represent the movement from within. People of Color is a sub-unit group of the Occupy movement and a group devoted to “developing critical consciousness” within the 99% movement ( and to equalize the imbalance of representation. By looking closely at how “people of color” are defined, we can gain a closer glimpse of how classical formations of race and differences are presented through discourse in American society. POC’s efforts to bring greater representation to people of color offer an underlying understanding to the tensions found in economic inequality and the overall 99% Movement. The movement’s efforts in challenging the power differences ultimately reveal a socially constructed hegemonic relation between those of distinct social classes and races. Identifying these groups lends an actionable framework around which groups can organize. These are similar premises to those around which sports teams operate. Essentially, in-group members of a socio-economic minority group self-characterize by reproducing hegemonic structures of social and race-based stratification. The POC differentiates in-group and out-group through broad self-representation as vicitimized and a specific representation of the out-group through stereotype.

This analysis will take a qualitative approach at analyzing discourse, reviewing first the methods used to extrapolate upon the aforementioned theories and hypothesis. Then a detailed analysis will be presented that draws upon key patterns and findings which led to the formation of this social theory.

II. Method

The corpus that is the subject of this analysis is comprised of messages and discussions, or posts, taken from the official social media web-sites of the People of Color Occupy movement. These include the POC Tumblr blog, the POC Working Group Twitter micro-blog and the POC Working Group Facebook page. Additionally, articles from outside sources posted by activists to their social media web-sites were included as representing activist discourse. The posts from these respective sites are organized in chronological order. Posts are taken from within the dates of October 3, 2011 and December 31, 2011. These dates reflect a time when activist organizers were generating texts most vigorously. Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr play a vital role in how we gain access and view events in the world, and the occupy movement has been vastly portrayed through social media sites.  It has made the movement easier to follow and it can help people collaborate with people across the nation and the world. The social media genre is one of the only ways of studying a minority in-group perspective on the Occupy movement, though it is perhaps the best and most representative of the direct voices of all activists in the movement as discourse in such media is generated by all members of the group regardless of leadership status. Texts are compiled in a 33,28-token corpus with a Token/Type ratio of ~.16. Roughly 160 posts or articles combined comprise the corpus.

Several strategies were employed to derive the social theory mentioned earlier. The practices outlined by Svenja Adolphs are particularly helpful in preliminary identification and formation of this theory of exclusionary motivation (Svenja, 2006). Specifically, techniques such as generating frequency lists and then using collocation tables and analyzing concordance data for semantic prosody illuminates relationships between various words and phrases to similar lexical units surrounding them. In our corpus, we were able to see the rate in which words like “movement”, “justice”, “color”, or “race” occurred.  Looking to see how many times these words appeared helped us see just how the POC wanted to define themselves, and how often they decided to use a word.Tools such as KWIC, an electronic corpus analysis program, is significant for identifying patterns amongst lexical items and forming initial theories based on semantic prosody. For example, the word “white” was commonly found near the word “racist” or “racism.” The readings on Kelle and coding similarly helped identify patterns and key words that are relevant to the definition of color (Udo, 2000). Analysis methods such as those mentioned earlier (collocation tables, ect.) helped extrapolate on these codes. In this analysis some items proved irrelevant and could thus be discarded while unexpected patterns and meanings appeared. Also, Fairclough’s ideas surrounding clausal and sentence structure are also useful in deriving meaning from the POC corpus (Fairclough, 2003). Analysis of agency reveals in the case of POC one of the more basic ways in which group identity is formed. Understanding narrative structure and methods for analyzing race-based discourse taken from Van Dijk is similarly useful to understanding discourse construction by groups and race-group identity (Van Dijk, 2011).

III. Analysis

1. First Pattern

The POC represents group identity by re-creating itself as a minority. It does this in three ways; narration, specific out-group representation, and vague in-group representation.

The POC discourse as taken from the texts they create via social media offers a perspective which presents the assumption that the reader and the narrator of the text are in-group members. From both a syntagmatic and paradigmatic perspective this holds true. Pronoun usage such as “we” and “us” positions readers as in-group members.

“We spoke out about Racism in the 99 percent…”
“We spoke out about how nobody was talking about the racist….”
“Those of us in the POC spoke shared the deep concern…”
“Join us to help OWS….”

Cook’s Triangle of Communication highlights the positions of activist narrators and those spoken too in the text, by the text. For example, what is absent from the texts are narrator definition and indeed most forms of adjectives describing the group, revealing both in-group definition by defining what the group is not.

“When we wanted to address the people….”
“…so we know that Wall Street…”
“…reminds us that we must look…”

Contrast of actions and how groups are affected by each other/ will be affected (binaries)
Representation of Social actors (inclusion/exclusion, activated = victimizing, impersonal= institution, generic yet specific= institution/distinct attributes, classified= institution)

<Specific out-group definition>
Descriptors applying to out-group members generally took on a negative connotation, as proved by binary contrast analysis. Specific institutions, races or classes such as banker, corporation, government and white were common underlying thematic paradigms characterizing the out-group. These definitions are often paired with negative adjectives or actions, creating a binary of action against the in-group which legitimizes reactions by the group. For instance, the phrase “corporate greed” 68% of the times the word was found using a key-word analysis, where the other times “corporate” was paired with benefactor, profiteering, and occupation.

“white dominated movement…”
“Neither approach needs to be treated by whites as a threat…”
“…organized by upper-middle class, educated white…”
“oppressive ideas of whiteness…”
“whites need to acknowledge…”
“The capitalist class has historically used racism to divide…”
“…our government no longer represents us…”
“…government has been slashing away …”

Analysis establishes that out-group characteristics are most prominently socio-economic, and particularly racial. The word “white” is predominantly used to describe the out-group. Discourse thus centers on racial identity much of the time to define group character. Out of 90 samples of the word taken from the group 3 corpus all 90 uses of the word pertained to race. Compared to a random sample of 90 contexts surrounding the word “white” in the British National Corpus, it was 90% more likely to be used as a racial marker.

“being an anti-racist white…”
“white people haaaaate…”
“White kids whining that it’s unfair…”

<Vague in-group definition>
Group actions or concerns were also used to describe in-group members, rather than specific racial markers, which was decidedly vaguer than how the out-group was defined. In-group definition of the POC uses several referential strategies. The in-group is represented in a classical power struggle between those in power and those lacking power. Victimization is typically used to represent the in-group as well, as people who have been “oppressed” or subject to “social injustice.” In our Dedoose code section, we had a lot of sentences tagged with codes such as “group categorization,” “group characteristics,” and “identity” as you can see in the excerpts below;

“our movement against corporate…”
“…protests against banks and insurance…”
“we would like to see the nationalization of banks…”

Also, a lack of descriptors applying to in-group as denoted by token figures for the few instances of descriptors such as “black, Hispanic, Latino, LGBT, etc. are negligible. Speakers and those spoken too are back grounded while statements broadly include in-group members through general pronoun use and unspecific group actions.

“ We will protest…”
“We will stand in solidarity…”
“We should not forget…”
“We were called racist…”
“…they have evicted us…”
“…To help us face…”

We need to be aware of the fact that there are numbers of people who are not categorized in neither in-group nor out-group; in another word, 99% nor 1%. In critical analysis, it is a fallacy to claim that “if you are not 1%, you are 99%.” It syllogism has not been well established and can be considered enthymeme. This is the case of Modus Tollens. For example, the middle-class people, which we believe majority of us who go to UW are also categorized in this section, receive education, have enough food and drink, basic health care, and some luxuries that satisfies their life to some extent. These people seem quite different from those who participate in POC movement such as long-term unemployed workers or homeless people.

2. Second Pattern: 

Internal and emotional stimulants used as a motive for gaining support and spreading representation.

We could observe many cases of usage of internal and emotional stimulants as a motive for encouraging POC blogs viewers to support their actions and will within the movement and spreading its representation widely. POC approaches to people using pathos, an appeal to audiences or viewers’ emotion. Use of pathos is very effective way to gain more power and representation for this POC’s 99% movement. It helps not only convincing people to support POC by victimizing their representation, but also it builds stronger interaction and bonds between POC and followers of their movement. For example, you can observe the pathological approach in a sentence below;

“Within an emotional justice framework, someone is able to bring up their pain.”

In the example, emotional justice is referred to as a framework, where pain is experienced. The form that this example is presented in is through a collective identity, which shows plurality, complexity, and involves the identity of a community (Dijk, 2006). As this shows, the use of the ‘justice pattern’ brings the issues into an internal form where individuals are identifying themselves. This is how this ‘justice pattern’ plays a part in exploring the claim in using identity as a driving force in equalizing the social and economic inequality.

IV. Conclusion

Throughout the analysis, a close association is taken to how the text uses the theme of creating an environment where identity is chosen by splitting up in and out-groups to oppose the social and economic power imbalances in terms of the People of Color Working Group and the 99% Movement. Through the essay, the methods of corpus linguistics and qualitative coding allowed us to extract the meaning found underneath the text and within the genre of social media. Unlike the OWS movement, the smaller POC is not so broadly inclusive in terms of members. Although there are times in POC generated discourse where definitions of membership still represent individuals with out-group-like characteristics, there seems to be fairly specific criteria for those presented as POC members. Typically, as in the case of the POC, in-group members of the socio-economic minority group self-characterize by reproducing hegemonic structures of social and race-based stratification. The POC wants to differentiate itself from other groups. The more branched out they can be, the more unique they will seem, and perhaps they will garner more attention as a group.  However, at the same time, they want to include as many as possible, by leaving the definition of “color” completely open.  These people of color tend to associate themselves as a subset group of the 99%–a 1% of the 99% if you will. As can be seen in analysis of both the sub-division undertaken by POC discourse generators within OWS and more broadly in society, out-group and in-group characterization is motivational. Negative qualities attributed to out-group characteristics are paired with actionable perspectives similar to how pronouns both define and are paired with phrases to define groups and promote group action. Overall this generates a better understanding of how classical struggles such as those undertaken to fight inequality by the POC can reveal a broader understanding of race-based power relations in a society (Means, 1992).

One particular interesting finding of our research was that counter-hegemonic power try to fight against hegemony using a classical stereotypical hegemonic imageries. As we have mentioned many times with various examples, victimizing in-group and making out-group look like an evil enemy has used in POC’s discourse. We found their representation of both have created with hegemonic stereotypes. It is a very unique and interesting to see the ironic relationship between hegemonic power and counter-hegemony. Even though subordinated groups of people challenge hegemony, their claim to discredit hegemony does not even exist without the figure of hegemony in their appeal and discourse.

Finally, in context of the greater 99% Movement, we have discussed how this form of support-gathering executed by the People of Color Working Group helped us understand the forces behind the supporters of the 99% movement in raising awareness, gaining support, and struggling to create a counterbalance to the nation-wide social, racial, and economic hegemonic power imbalances. Social inequality remains in our society for too long time in our history producing anger, sadness, misery, grief, hopelessness, fear, and other diverse negative feelings that can not be described only with visual words here. Yet, now, with the power of today’s high technology, more and more people are enabled to speak up their ideas in public and gather with those who share the same ideas to claim it in the entire world across the nation and the world. Many underrepresented people started to shout their voice to counter hegemony today. However, we must emphasize that each one of us including these counter-hegemonic people must consider what the “real meaning of equality” is in terms of being active in movements to seek the true equal society in this world.

V. References

Dijk, T. A. (2006). Discourse studies. (2 ed., pp. 268-273). London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Fairclough, N. (2003). Representation of social events (134-155). In Analyzing discourse: Textual analysis for social research. London: Routledge.

Means, R. (October 23, 1992). Acting against racism. Entertainment Weekly, 102392, 141.

Adolphs, Svenja. “Exploring Frequencies in Texts: Basic Techniques.” Chapter 3 in Introducing Electronic Text Analysis. London ; New York : Routledge, 2006. 37-50.

Adolphs, Svenja. “Exploring Words and Phrases in Use: Basic Techniques.” Chapter 4 in Introducing Electronic Text Analysis. London ; New York : Routledge, 2006. 51-63.

Adolphs, Svenja. “Electronic Text Analysis, Language and Ideology.” Chapter 6 in Introducing Electronic Text Analysis. London ; New York : Routledge, 2006. 80-96.

Van Dijk, T. (2011). Discourse studies: A multidisciplinary introduction. (2nd Ed.) London, UK: Sage.Ch. 12,14,15.

Kelle, Udo. “Computer-Assisted Analysis: Coding and Indexing.” Chapter 16 in Qualitative Researching with Text, Image, and Sound. Eds. Martin Bauer & George Gaskell. London : SAGE, 2000. 282-298.


Race Inequality & the 99%: Representing Race in Caucasian and Asian Seattle Newspapers

Group 15: Amanda Kirk, Hyun Jin (Chloe) Kim, Stephanie Dusin, Wei Jiang, & Jenny Nguyen

Our group focused on race in the 99% movement for our project. When dealing with the Occupy movement, there are many different issues that we could have focused on but we wanted to zone in on something that affects our immediate setting. Seattle has a very large mix of ethnicities and is known for its cultural diversity. We thought that it would be interesting to look at how different races were represented in the Occupy movement in Seattle because of this reason. The importance of analyzing the multi-racial factor of the Seattle Occupy Movement lies within the racial categories so ever present in American society today. There is a very large Asian population in Seattle so we thought it would be important to narrow in on this dynamic between how Asians and Caucasians represent the Occupy movement in newspapers. Looking at how different races cover local news is important to understanding not only a city’s dynamic but how different cultures deal with current events. Asians are a minority in Seattle and many come to the city internationally. It is interesting to see how up to date Asian cultures are with more American politics and how involved they might be in these issues. Through newspapers we saw which publications decided to include or exclude the certain races while also observing other aspects of the discourse genre such as the language used. While gathering articles, creating our corpus, and coding the terms we decided on, we discovered that there are some patterns in the way the two races deal with the Seattle events. From this we were able to draw some conclusions about the discourse in our topical focus. We used different discourse analysis methods within our discourse genre to come to these conclusions in our corpus. American newspapers and Asian newspapers focus on different topics and use different terms to describe the incidents that deal with the 99% movement in Seattle. Through our analysis, we found patterns that proved Asians and race were not represented in Caucasian based newspapers. It is necessary to claim that racial inequality still exists not only in the Occupy Seattle Movement, but in Seattle newspapers through the minimal coverage of racial ideologies throughout Caucasian newspapers. We found that American based newspapers focused on the economy much more than the racial implications of the movement. Another trend we found was that Americans were not defined by the term protestors. There was also in and out grouping done by both the Caucasian and Asian newspapers. We also found that in Asian based newspapers, articles are targeted exclusively at Asian populations and excludes themselves from the “American” Occupy movement by out grouping Caucasians. Some Asian newspapers did try to stay in the in group by promoting democracy in reference to the Occupy movement. These findings are all supported by discourse analysis methods.

Our group was able to come to some of these conclusions through discourse analysis.  These methods are content analysis, concordance, collocation, word frequency cohesion and coherence. We use them in discourse analysis and text linguistics to describe the properties of written texts. (Connor, 1996). Discourse analysis was a way to understand that “knowledge is socially constructed- that is, that our current ways of understanding the world are determined not by the nature of the world itself, but by social processes” (Gill, 2000). Discourse analysis helps us examine our materials in a more rigorous and effective way so that we can reveal the answers that we are looking for. “Discourse Analysis is more than a simple method of discovery. It rests on a powerful theory detailing and explaining how the social world is understood” (Phillips, 1).  The main topic of interest is the underlying social structures, which may be assumed or played out within the conversation or text (Taylor, 2001). A Critical Discourse Analysis or ‘Semiosis’ method of analysis allows meaning to be made out of the pattern of excerpts found in the corpus. “An important part of a CDA is to demonstrate the existence of consistent patterns in a text or set of related texts. Analysis, in other words, has to be systematic and not just a matter of picking out isolated examples for comment” (Cameron, 129). In this project we used a variety of different techniques that helped our research. We first looked at “the study of the functions of social, cultural, situative and cognitive contexts of language use” (Wodak, 2001). We used a lot of inductive theory to guide our research. The inductive theory is described as “the process of testing hypotheses [which] can only occur after one has gathered evidence from which the predictions are deduced… the subconscious must contain material based on reality for it to be potentially useful” (Locke, 2007). So by using the inductive theory, we tried to notice if there were any patterns in the corpus so that we could build typologies to make sense of the patterns. Another method we used was corpus linguistics. “Corpus linguistics will systematically analyze a large body of naturalistic texts or spoken discourse (called a corpus) along various dimensions of language and discourse” (Van Dijk, 131). Corpus Linguistics allows a quantitative exploration of texts and text collection in relation to the Seattle Occupy Movement through a grammatical analysis. “Corpus-based analyses of individual lexical items and phrases that have been identified as relevant references in the study of particular aspects of ideology can be used in providing evidence from different domains of discourse and from different discourse communities” (Adolphs, 93). The KWIC Concordance is a corpus analytical tool for making word frequency lists, concordances and collocation tables. Since collocation tables highlight more or less common collocates, we were able to use this method to find out which terms were used more often. By using concordance lines, which “arranges all instances of a particular search item in a way that makes the search item appear in the centre of the page” (Adolphs, 2006, p. 53), it was helpful to focus only on instances of a specific lexical item and locate patterns of use with my corpus for our analysis. One particular analytical tool that we used was Keyness. It is used to analyze the high frequency of certain words in comparison to another corpus. “Its purpose is to point towards the ‘aboutness’ of a text or homogeneous corpus that is, its topic and the central elements of its content” (Baker, 2012). Also, by using the Dedoose tool, codes for communicating meaning were found and made sense of. Through these codes an ability to find relationships between the language to describe power and race were possible. There is also qualitative coding, which draws on patterned occurrence of key themes throughout the corpus. Additionally, it “tends to emphasizes aspects of the study that can be replicated, such as its instruments, measurements, sample and the order in which treatments are applied or survey items presented” (Alexander, 2001). We used these tools and methods to come to theoretical explanations about our research topic. Discourse analysis helped our group find approaches to examining our research material.

The discourse genre that we employed was essential to our goals. Our group dealt primarily with newspapers that captured the effects of the 99% movement. In contrast to other groups, each person in our group chose a different news source relating to their specific race they were researching.  Newspapers offered a chance for our group to investigate the two different cultures in relation to newspaper publications that covered the issue and compare and contrast the ways in which each race deals with publication of the 99% movement. This genre is available to both of the races that were involved in the movement so we looked at both cultural newspapers to see if both races were treated equally in the events that occurred. Through newspapers we can see which publications decided to include or exclude certain cultures while also observing other aspects of the discourse genre such as the language used or photographs. The Caucasian based newspapers we used were The Seattle Times, Seattle Weekly, The News Tribune, and The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The Asian based newspapers we employed were The International Examiner, and The Northwest Asian Weekly. The specific date ranges that we looked at are from September 2011 until present.

After figuring out what our discourse genre was going to be, we needed to gather our corpus. “Investigating the use and distribution of synonyms in a corpus allows us to determine their contextual preferences, associated with other collocates or associated with register differences” (Douglas, 1998). This project required a more specialized corpus, so a strategy for collecting data was very necessary. We collected data according to our individual discourse genre newspaper. The population for our corpuses was much too large so we had to zone in on a more concentrated sample. We needed the theoretical relevance to be more specific. We first narrowed down our search to fit into the timelines of September 2011 to the present. We also did this by searching for articles that were related to race by searching for key words such as race, culture, American, white, Caucasian, and Asian. We were able to find a more concentrated number of articles dealing with our individual corpus. The sample frame had to be narrowed down in order to reach the results that our group was looking for. The articles that we found all helped find some answers to issues dealing with race and helped us come to some conclusions about it.

From the Caucasian based newspapers, race was not dealt with in regards to the Occupy movement. There were several different patterns in the corpus that backed this up. The first was that Asians were not discussed much in the sample frame. Another pattern found was that not only were Asians not brought up, race was not a large concern when talking about the Occupy Movement. Another pattern backing this up was the fact that Caucasian based newspapers kept using the word “economy” instead of more cultural terms. Caucasian based newspapers also didn’t label Americans as protestors. Both American and Asian newspapers use labeling terms for the in and out group.  Asian newspapers also found a trend in promoting democracy in terms of the Occupy movement.

The fact that Asians were not a more common topic is a very interesting finding. The largest non-White racial group in Seattle is Asian (14% of the city’s population), followed by Black or African American (8%) (Seattle Population & Demographics, 2010). When dealing with a major current event, it is striking that such a large percentage of Seattle’s population wasn’t discussed. Using hermeneutics, a qualitative analysis term that relies on the process of interpretation, we can come to this conclusion. This method is much more of a meso-analysis because it focuses on the trends within an institution. This all comes from the moment of encoding. This is the production of communication in general that is influenced by institutional practices, organizational conditions, practices of productions, and the producer’s bias. The issue of race within the Occupy movement is not something that American newspapers thinks is noteworthy in their articles, and this comes from their history of production. Asians were not incorporated into this issue because of the Caucasian’s cultural background in expressing current events. Caucasian newspapers are showing their narrative identity when writing these stories about the Occupy movement because of the way they position and construct the narrative away from the issue of race.  This could deal with the issue of power as a force or a constructive element to society. The fact that they decided to exclude race shows their lack of concern for the out group of Asians. This shows structuralized and institutionalized power relationships between ethnicities. This shows that by analyzing discourse, we can demonstration the particular micro-physics of power.  As discourse analysts, we need to take this argumentation into consideration when reading these articles so that we become more aware of different cultural sides to the issue. This perspectivization comes from Caucasian’s perspectives and its bias is shown quite passively because it would only take a discourse analyst to come to these conclusions.

Not only were Asians excluded from mention in the Occupy movement articles in Caucasian based newspapers, race as a general topic wasn’t discussed. In our corpus, using a type token ratio helped us come to this conclusion. The type token ratio helps find a word’s lexical density by looking at the ratio of words to word occurrences in a text (Sinclair, 1998). Using a type token ratio in order to analyze sources is more of a micro analysis because it is looking at more specific linguistic features of a text. The type-token ratio is “a more common ratio, that is often calculated in order to gain some basic understanding of the lexical variation within the text” (Adlophs, 2006). By looking at the words race and American, we were able to get a good sense of its importance and relevance to the stories. These words best summarize our goals because we are looking for all instances that newspapers take a stance on ethnicity. We want to see if culture is incorporated into their stories and how they attempt conquering that theme. The type token ratio for the word race in The Seattle Times is 1/7,355. In The Seattle Weekly, the word race only showed up once as well, making its ratio 1/13,172. In The Seattle Post Intelligencer, the word American’s type token ratio was 6/21,916. In those six instances, not a single time was it used as a racial term. Words that were frequently attached to the term Americans were foreclosure, million, percent, top, billion, cost, housing, and homes. Another example from the collocation tables shows that the term Americans was never tied to inequality or racial patterns. Furthermore, the term Americans was not used to describe anyone from another race and ethnic background other than Caucasian. The lexical choices made in these articles were clearly not centered on ethnicity because the word race was only used once in all of the articles that I looked at. It says a lot that the word wasn’t used because race is an important issue when it comes to the Occupy movement and it should be talked more about. The words before the word race in The Seattle Times were “whose parents were born in Taiwan, said issues of” and the words after were “have come up during the group’s twice-daily gener” (Haines, 2012). The collocation was interesting to note. Some of the words surrounding race were capitalism, inclusive, issues, and job. These words are interesting when comparing them to race in the broader issue of the Occupy movement.  A key lesson of this pattern throughout Seattle Newspapers is that just because racial inequality is not talked about or present right in front of us in written language does not mean that it is not an issue in society. The Occupy Movement is just as much of an issue of economic inequality as it is of social and racial inequality. By the patterns shown throughout the corpus it is clear to see that the journalistic style that embodies Caucasian centered ideologies in Seattle Newspapers is more focused on the economic inequality tied to the movement than racial. Looking at the lexical density of the word race and American led us to the conclusion that ethnicity was not a priority for Caucasian newspapers to cover with the topic of the Occupy movement.

Another pattern for Caucasian based newspapers was that the main focus centered around the term “economy.”  There were more than fifteen examples in The Seattle Weekly where the articles mainly talk about economic issues such as budget cuts and tax breaks. Since the economy has been an ongoing issue with the people in America, looking for sentences that were related to the economy helped contribute to our group’s goals since we wanted to look for all instances where newspapers talk about American and Asian perspectives in connection to the Occupy Movement. In the article, Teachers, Taking a Page from Occupy Protests, Get Militant by Nina Shapiro, she says,

“600 teachers [showed up], making for the largest local demonstration by their profession in years. After years of budgets cuts to education, and even more on the table now, teachers are getting militant.”

These sentences talk about the main reason why those teachers are protesting and what they want to get from it. The budget cuts to education seem to be a big issue for them, and they said they are doing this “to make the invisible work we do visible.” If the teachers are getting paid less and getting their budgets cut, the parents of students also have to worry about a less well-rounded education. There is another example to support this pattern. In the article, Occupy the Capitol Demonstrators Urge State to Repeal Tax Exemptions of the 1 Percenters by Rick Anderson, it also talks about economic issues by saying,

“it doesn’t make sense to hand out tax breaks to big banks and special interests at the same time as we’re raising tuition, ignoring toxic pollution, shortchanging our kids and putting people with disabilities and mental illness out on the streets.”

Here the focus on the economy can be clearly seen. People are protesting against unreasonable tax breaks to big banks and special interests when there seems to be a raise in tuition and other problems within the 99 percent group. Thus, those protestors are protesting for their right to be treated equally with financial and economic issues. Since tax breaks seems to be an ongoing issue in the Occupy Movement amongst American people, we looked for the term “tax” to see if there was any sub-pattern within the economy topic. The term “tax” was included quite a number of times with the Movement topic, showing up 33 times in 29 articles in The Seattle Weekly. By looking at the presentation of the collocation tables, we noticed that when talking about tax, it continually showed up with certain words such as breaks, exemptions, income, sales, corporations, rich, business, etc. Moreover, by analyzing via KWIC and looking at the concordance lines, it became more obvious that the term tax dealt mostly with tax breaks and tax exemption issues. These terms of economy and tax help us see where the focuses of the articles are, and that is certainly not on race.

A large pattern we found in American based newspapers was that Americans were not portrayed as a protestor. In an article in the Seattle Post Intelligencer, it is said,

“They are another race of being: They are loyalists who really, really believe in what they are doing.”

This suggests that a protestor is neither American nor from another ethnic background. It also labels them as something besides a protestor, which is an interesting stance to take because it has an American bias. Another example from the Seattle Post Intelligencer is,

“Demonstrators upset with the current economic climate hold signs and yell slogans expressing their feelings towards the banks and corporations in America.”

This again deemphasizes the protestor perspective while also being vague in ethnic background. This syntagmatic analysis shows that there is a prejudice in the authorship of these articles. Through this Critical Discourse Analysis it is fair to say that these texts strike a pattern that it is un-American to take part in the occupy movement. If it is un-American to take part in the Occupy Movement, then those who are not taking part (those occupying the 1% of the United States) are the ones that are American. This is also validated through a Corpus Linguistics approach of discourse that shows that the term protestors are regularly grouped with violence and the out group. This suggests even further that the Occupy Movement does not truly involve Americans, but rather an unknown group. This pattern shows us that Americans are not portrayed as the protestor.

Another pattern that we found was that The Seattle Weekly, The Northwest Asian Weekly, and The International Examiner articles clearly distinguish who are in-groups and out-groups by labeling them with particular terms. An example is in the article, Teachers, Taking a Page from Occupy Protests, Get Militant by Nina Shapiro in The Seattle Weekly. It talks about the protest in Olympia and the article calls the teachers “the self-declared 99 percenters.” Shapiro clearly refers to those teachers as the 99% group, describing them as the major protestors in the movement. Here, those teachers are also being described as the in-group who is protesting against those years of budget cuts to education. The article, 9/11 Truthers: Please Stop Running Occupy Seattle by Curtis Cartier in The Seattle Weekly, also mentions “the 99 percent” here. It says,

“If protestors are going to call themselves “the 99 percent,” they need a message that resonates with 99 percent (or at least most) of the American people. The middle class and the poor are getting shafted by corporations and the government that those corporations control is such a message–9/11 conspiracies are not.”

This article describes the 99 percent of the American people as the middle class and the poor, and corporations and the government as the one percent. In Asian based newspapers the same occurrences happen. By using paradigmatic choice to find lexical and semantic terms, we found trends in word and image choice that coined American protestors as “different” and “other”. This is a form of out grouping. An example from The Northwest Asian Weekly is an article titled, Criticizing Its Profits at the Expense of Families. It says,

I hope that Chase [Bank] really thinks about the impact they are having on poor families with young kids, as well as on seniors.”

This shows that the Asian based newspapers are labeling all the American institutions involved in the movement as the “other”. The use of labeling as in and out groups is another pattern found in the Caucasian based newspapers.

We found another pattern in that Asian newspapers are promoting democracy in terms of the Occupy movement. We found that the newspapers clearly distinguish that Asians who are not Americans want to promote the discourse of democracy. They want their voice, freedom, right, and independence just the same as others. One example comes from The International Examiner in an article titled Reflecting Back on 2011. It said,

“The Occupy Wall Street protests showed corporate powers that people won’t stand for corruption and inequality. Every individual wants their existence validated – to be shown they matter; that they have a voice and will be heard.”

This shows that Asians are standing up for their rights in this democratic country. Another example comes from an article titled New Pulse,

“We want to contribute the voices of moms of color and present to the public the people who are carrying the brunt of a failed economy, which is our children.”

This example again shows how Asian newspapers are including themselves in the in group of the Occupy movement and are promoting democratic ideologies in relation to it. In this pattern it is important to note that Asian newspapers are including themselves in the democratic happenings of the Occupy movement.

Our group has found that Caucasian newspapers exclude Asians and race in general from their newspaper articles. The main focuses of American and Asian newspapers are different. This is because of power relationships of production and proven by our corpus. Through corpus linguistics analysis and critical discourse analysis one can see that by leaving out any mention of racial categories other than the perspective of the journalistic tone, there are no other racial categories present in the Seattle Occupy Movement other than Caucasian and that they have little power in the American society. These reflected a sort of in grouping of Caucasians by the lack of reference to the Asian culture and an out grouping of other races. Asian based newspapers show that they are somewhat involved, though. They raise the awareness of democracy promotion in relation to the Occupy movement, which shows awareness of the events. Race was also excluded from any article involving the Occupy movement. Caucasian based newspapers also referenced the economy much more than any racial implications of the movement. Lexical studies also showed us the importance of the word protestors in context and that Americans were excluded from this definition. It is important for us to study and analyze texts in this way so that we can find patterns to current events. In this case, it is necessary in order to figure out cultural differences and systems. It is fair to claim that racial inequality still exists not only in the Occupy Seattle Movement, but also in Seattle Newspapers through the minimal coverage of race. Caucasian-based newspapers need to become more aware of their perspectives and the way in which they present different cultures in their stories. The Occupy movement is a very important current event that affects all ethnicities in Seattle, especially Asians because they make up such a large percentage of the population. An understanding of the mix of culture is important for any discourse genre to keep in mind, and this project helps highlight this.


Adolphs, Svenja. “Exploring Frequencies in Texts: Basic Techniques.” Chapter 3 in Introducing Electronic Text Analysis. London ; New York : Routledge, 2006. 37-50.

Adolphs, Svenja. “Exploring Words and Phrases in Use: Basic Techniques.” Chapter 4 in Introducing Electronic Text Analysis. London ; New York : Routledge, 2006. 51-63.

Adolphs, Svenja. Electronic Text Analysis, Language and Ideology.” Chapter 6 in Introducing Electronic Text Analysis. London ; New York : Routledge, 2006.

Alexander, Alison, W. James. Potter, and James A. Anderson. How to Publish Your Communication Research: An Insider’s Guide. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2001. Print.

Baker, Paul, Costas Gabrielatos, Majid KhosraviNik, Michal Krzyzanowski, Tony McEnery, and Ruth Wodak. “A Useful Methodological Synergy?” Discourse and Society. SAGE, 04 Dec. 2008. Web. 28 May 2012.

Biber, Douglas, Susan Conrad, and Randi Reppen. Corpus Linguistics: Investigating Language Structure and Use. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998. Print.

Cameron, D. (2001). Excerpts from Working with spoken discourse. London: Sage Publications.
Connor, U. M. (1996). Contrastive Rhetoric. Cambridge: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSTIY PRESS.

Gill, Rosalind. “Discourse Analysis.” Qualitative Researching with Text, Image, and Sound (2000). Web.

Haines, Errin. “Occupy Protesters Eye Diversity as Movement Grows.” The Seattle Times 2012. Print.
Locke, Edwin. “The Case for Inductive Theory Building.” Journal of Management. 2007. Vol. 33 Issue 6, p867.

Nelson and Cynthia Hardy. Discourse Analysis: Investigating Processes of Social Construction. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2002.

“Seattle Population & Demographics: Seattle-at-a-Glance.” Seattle Population & Demographics: Seattle-at-a-Glance. Web. 25 May 2012. <>.

Sinclair, J. (1998). The Lexical Item. In E. Weigand, In Contrastive Lexical Semantics (pp. 1-24). Philadephia: J. Benjamins.

Taylor, S. (2001). Discouurse as Data. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE.

Wodak, Ruth, and Michael Meyer. “Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis.” (2001). Web.

Van Dijk, T. (2011). Discourse studies: A multidisciplinary introduction. (2nd Ed.) London, UK: Sage.