My New York Times Word of the Day: Othering

I couldn’t help but be struck by Charles M. Blow’s use of “othering” in his column today. He put it in quotes most likely because it isn’t a word, at least not according to the dictionaries I checked. Here’s how he used it in referring to how Republicans treat President Obama: “This lawlessness talk is simply another iteration of the ‘othering’ of this president.” I don’t remember seeing this as a word before but I didn’t have trouble picking up the meaning, which could be one criterion for whether it works as a word. A Google search turned up a lot of references, however. According to Geek Feminism Wiki, “Othering is a process or a rhetorical device in which one group is seen as “us” and another group as “them.” How about it? Should it be a word?


About msvoss

Melinda Voss, MPH, APR, is a freelance writer, editor and public relations specialist. A staff writer for The Des Moines Register and Tribune for nearly 26 years, she has won regional and national awards and taught undergraduate and graduate journalism courses at three universities. In 1999, she earned a master's degree in public health from the University of Minnesota after co-founding the Association of Health Care Journalists in 1997. Voss initially served as the association's unpaid coordinator, then became the executive director from 1999 to 2004. She then became the public relations director for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and served in that position until November 2012. She earned her APR, an accreditation in public relations, in 2011.
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