Ian Haney López on the Dog Whistle Politics of Race


Bill Moyers web site has this interview broken up into two pieces. The first is Ian Haney López on the Dog Whistle Politics of Race (Part One).

Haney López is an expert in how racism has evolved in America since the civil rights era. Over the past 50 years, politicians have mastered the use of dog whistles – code words that turn Americans against each other while turning the country over to plutocrats. This political tactic, says Haney López, is “the dark magic” by which middle-class voters have been seduced to vote against their own economic interests.

“It comes out of a desire to win votes. And in that sense… It’s racism as a strategy. It’s cold, it’s calculating, it’s considered,” Haney López tells Bill, “it’s the decision to achieve one’s own ends, here winning votes, by stirring racial animosity.”

The second part is The Dog Whistle Politics of Race, Part II.

Politicians manipulate deep prejudice to rouse hostility against minorities and the government, according to Haney López, and summon support for policies that make economic inequality even worse. And it’s not just Republicans and the tea party who have used this “strategic racism” to win votes, but Democrats as well.

The point of this presentation is not to demonize the people who are the targets of these strategies. The point is to demonize the people who use the strategies to get people to vote for things they don’t realize they are voting for.

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