话语的力量在于它能够在破坏他人的同时为某些知识提供合法性;并且，它能够创造主体位置，并将人们变成可以控制的对象。在这种情况下，来自执法和法律体系等机构的关于移民的主流话语因其在国家的根源而具有合法性和优越性。主流媒体通常采用占主导地位的国家批准的话语，并通过向这些机构的权威人士提供播放时间和印刷空间来展示它。关于移民的主流话语，具有反移民性质，具有权威性和合法性，创造了诸如“公民” – 具有需要保护权利的人 – 以及像“非法”这样对象构成威胁的移民。公民。相比之下，从教育，政治和激进组织等机构中产生的移民权利话语提供了主题范畴，即“无证移民”，取代了“非法”的对象，往往被视为不知情和不负责任的人。通过主流话语。以2014年至2015年间在佛罗里达州的摩根大学和巴尔的摩市举办的种族主义活动为例，我们也可以看到福柯对话语“概念”的阐述。福柯写道，概念“创造了一种演绎架构”，它组织了我们如何理解和与之相关的理论。在警方杀害迈克尔·布朗和弗雷迪·格雷之后，主流媒体对起义的报道中使用了诸如“抢劫”和“骚乱”等概念。当我们听到这样的话语，充满意义的概念时，我们推断出有关人员的事情 – 他们是无法无天，疯狂，危险和暴力。他们是需要控制的犯罪对象。当用于讨论抗议者或那些在灾难后期挣扎求生的人，如2004年的卡特里娜飓风时，犯罪的话语构成了对是非的信念，并在这样做时制裁某些行为。当“罪犯”“掠夺”时，在现场拍摄他们是合理的。相比之下，当在弗格森或巴尔的摩的背景下使用像“起义”这样的概念，或者在新奥尔良的背景下使用“生存”时，我们推断出所涉及的内容非常不同，并且更有可能将它们视为人类主体，而不是危险的物体。因为话语在社会中具有如此多的意义和深刻的影响，它往往是冲突和斗争的场所。当人们希望进行社会变革时，我们如何谈论人们及其在社会中的地位不能被排除在外。
The power of discourse lies in its ability to provide legitimacy for certain kinds of knowledge while undermining others; and, in its ability to create subject positions, and, to turn people into objects that that can be controlled. In this case, the dominant discourse on immigration that comes out of institutions like law enforcement and the legal system is given legitimacy and superiority by their roots in the state. Mainstream media typically adopt the dominant state-sanctioned discourse and showcases it by giving airtime and print space to authority figures from those institutions. The dominant discourse on immigration, which is anti-immigrant in nature, and endowed with authority and legitimacy, create subject positions like “citizen”—people with rights in need of protection—and objects like “illegals”—things that pose a threat to citizens. In contrast, the immigrants’ rights discourse that emerges out of institutions like education, politics, and from activist groups, offers the subject category, “undocumented immigrant,” in place of the object “illegal,” and is often cast as uninformed and irresponsible by the dominant discourse. Taking the case of racially charged events in Ferguson, MO and Baltimore, MD that played out from 2014 through 2015, we can also see Foucault’s articulation of the discursive “concept” at play. Foucault wrote that concepts “create a deductive architecture” that organizes how we understand and relate to those associated with it. Concepts like “looting” and “rioting” have been used in mainstream media coverage of the uprising that followed the police killings of Michael Brown and Freddie Gray. When we hear words like this, concepts charged full of meaning, we deduce things about the people involved–that they are lawless, crazed, dangerous, and violent. They are criminal objects in need of control. A discourse of criminality, when used to discuss protestors, or those struggling to survive the aftermath of a disaster, like Hurricane Katrina in 2004, structures beliefs about right and wrong, and in doing so, sanctions certain kinds of behavior. When “criminals” are “looting,” shooting them on site is framed as justified. In contrast, when a concept like “uprising” is used in the contexts of Ferguson or Baltimore, or “survival” in the context of New Orleans, we deduce very different things about those involved and are more likely to see them as human subjects, rather than dangerous objects. Because discourse has so much meaning and deeply powerful implications in society, it is often the site of conflict and struggle. When people wish to make social change, how we talk about people and their place in society cannot be left out of the process.