Dog Whistle Politics

Dog Whistle Politics

How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class

Book - 2014
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The decades-long increase in income inequality has become perhaps "the" issue in American politics, and scholars have offered many reasons for why the gap between the rich and the rest has widened so much since the mid-1970s. Most of the explanations have been social and political in thebroadest sense, and many have keyed on the propensity of middle- and working class Americans to vote against their own interest. Yet given that the greatest income divide is racial in nature, why have so few looked toward racially motivated behavior as a cause?Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Wrecked the Middle Class is a sweeping account of how "dog-whistle" racial politics contributed to increasing inequality in America since the 1960s. Now a pervasive term in American political coverage, "dog whistle" refers to coded signals sent tocertain constituencies that only those constituencies will understand. Just as only dogs can hear a dog whistle, only a constituency fluent in a subterranean argot can understand that argot when it is used. For instance, attacks on Obama's use of a teleprompter is a dog whistle for racist voters whoquestion blacks' (and by extension, the President's) intelligence. Haney's book will cover racial dog whistles in America from the 1960s to the present, showing that their appeal has helped generate working class and middle class populist enthusiasm for policies that were actually injurious to their own interests. As Haney-Lopez argues, the implicit associationbetween blacks and social welfare programs that dog whistle politicians make has led many voters to turn against the state itself despite the fact that they benefit from redistributive policies. The dog whistle tactic has been with us from at least the era of George Wallace, but every candidate whohas benefited from race-based resentments has used it: Nixon, Reagan (welfare queens), George Bush I (Willie Horton), Bill Clinton (Sister Souljah), and - most recently - Newt Gingrich. A sweeping reinterpretation of the recent political and legal history of the U.S., Dog Whistle Politics is sure togenerate a productive and lively debate about the role of race as a fundamental driver of inequality.
Published: Oxford ;, New York :, Oxford University Press,, [2014]
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780199964277
0199964270
Branch Call Number: 323.1196 HAN
Characteristics: xiv, 277 pages :,illustrations ;,25 cm

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acullison
Feb 12, 2016

A convincing and alarming analysis of modern racism and its place in modern politics. Going from Wallace and Goldwater in the 60s to Obama's first term, it shows how coded language has been used to sublimate racial issues in politics by both parties (though the focus is heavily on the GOP) and places this 'strategic racism' in a larger context and argues, in my opinion quite well, that this process has been used/manipulated to continually hurt (through economic and social policies) the lower and middle classes while benefiting the upper class.

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