Dog Whistle Politics…

Dog Whistle Politics…

First …

A very good friend of mine forwarded me a recent virtual presentation by Professor Ian Haney Lopez  (Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Public Law, University of California, Berkeley;  and William H. Neukom Fellows Research Chair in Diversity and Law, American Bar  Foundation). Although Professor Lopez is speaking  about politics, people committed to social justice and racial justice should understand how the information he presents applies to their work and to general audiences. 

Following is a brief summary of information from the presentation and a link to a  December 1, 2021 article by Professor Lopez on the same topic “Dog Whistle Politics:  Past, Present and ’22” and “Can Democracy (and the Democratic Party) Survive Racism as a Strategy?” 

Summary Points:  

—Dog whistle politics was invented to hide racist views, strategies and tactics. It uses  race-neutral words with a racist meaning beneath the surface. For example, “states  rights,” “law and order,” “crime in the streets.” Dog whistles are crafted for “plausible  deniability” that allows people to deny racism while triggering deep seated racial  attitudes, fear, anxiety and other feelings. 

—In the 2022 elections, the strategy that will be used is “racial justice” means “racial  revenge.” People motivated by racial justice are promoting racial revenge. People who  speak about race and racism are the real racists. There will be continued efforts to  discredit “Critical Race Theory,” “Black Lives Matters,” and the “1619 Project.” “Since  July 2020 support for Black Lives Matters has collapsed.” (See “Support for Black  Lives Matter surged last year. Did it last?”, NY Times, May 22, 2021) 

—A message of white racism to counter dog whistle politics will not be effective with white voters and “persuadable voters” across all races who do not see race or bigotry  in dog whistle messages. 

—A successful counter message says unity not division; build cross-racial solidarity, and demand that government work for us all.  

UC Berkeley Professor Ian Haney Lopez’s Article

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