Political Discourse Is Getting Ruder, but De Anza College Isn’t

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A. Robert Dehart Library at De Anza College

Soaking in the sound of a nearby water fountain, a De Anza student answered questions, politely and hesitantly.

Kajol Adhikari, 19, a pharmaceutical science major, said that she was afraid to talk politics because if she said the wrong thing, the opposite party might start a fight.

Adhikari is not the first to notice rudeness in political discussion. In her article, “The Age of Rudeness,” Rachel Cusk argues that rudeness is on the rise, rearing its head in many aspects of our daily lives – especially political discourse.

“There really is compelling evidence that political discourse… is at a low point for now – and sadly descending down,” said Alex Kramer, a speech professor at De Anza College.

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Alex Kramer – speech professor at De Anza College

Kramer thought that the relationship between the rudeness of the public and our politicians was “reflective.”

“The people get the politicians they deserve… And sadly right now the politicians we deserve are ones that are pretty rude, pretty nasty,” Kramer said.

Chris Ou, 22, a kinesiology major with parents native to China, argued that politics in the United States isn’t that bad, and that there has always been “mud-slinging.”

“From the home country where my parents come from, people in the same political party will actually hit each other physically – just knock each other off the stage,” Ou said.

Himank Thakkar, 20, a computer science major, said that American politics are just going through a phase. “It’s the outcome that matters,” he said.

In her article, Cusk expresses her worry that “discrimination and bullying are used against people trying to enter Britain, my country.” Britain is currently experiencing a surge in nationalism and anti-immigrant mentalities, according to Cusk and indicated by the recent Brexit referendum.

Kian Ghaemmaghami, 19, a business major, said that religion is a huge factor contributing to nationalism and the consequential rudeness in the U.S.

“People think that terrorism comes mostly from the Muslim community, and that looks bad on everybody, you know, in that community,” Ghaemmaghami said.

Thakkar, an international student from India, said that nationalism causes people to be rude to immigrants.

“It’s the outcome that matters.”

“Some people name it patriotism… but it’s basically racism in the form of nationalism – that’s what it is to a certain extent,” Thakkar said.

Ou said the problem with nationalism isn’t the result of conflicting cultures, it’s the result of individual choice.

“I don’t think diversity is the root cause, it’s that they (nationalists) allowed themselves to be taught hate – that’s the root cause,” Ou said.

Kramer said that comparing Britain to De Anza College was difficult, stating that context was “immensely important.”

“We really don’t have an issue with this stuff… Cupertino, Ca is a truly unique place in the world,” Kramer said.

Thakkar said that De Anza College lacks a lot of the animosity seen in other parts of the world.

“I don’t know what the reason is, maybe because we’re in California… but people are very nice to each other regardless of ethnicity,” Thakkar said.