“If You Don’t Want to Be Silenced, Be Silent: Tactical Silence & Jeffco Students for Change”
Western Journal of Communication
Ordinary Democracy, protest, rhetorical criticism, tactical silence
© 2020, © 2020 Western States Communication Association. Silence has been a recurring focus of rhetorical criticism. This essay examines the role of tactical silence in political contestations, particularly during protests. To do so, it explores local debates about K-12 education policy that took place at school board meetings in Golden, Colorado between 2013 and 2015. The analysis centers on two particular school board meetings during which a social resistance organization, Jeffco Students for Change (JSFC), exposed the analog between imposed silence and chosen silence in order to reappropriate the silencing power of the Jefferson County Board of Education (JBOE) and make claims at political agency. I offer seven characteristics of tactical silence in politics that are apparent as the students use silence to challenge the board’s authority.
Donofrio, Andrew R., "“If You Don’t Want to Be Silenced, Be Silent: Tactical Silence & Jeffco Students for Change”" (2020). Faculty Bibliography. 2703.