Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class

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Oxford University Press, 2014 - History - 277 pages
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Campaigning for president in 1980, Ronald Reagan told stories of Cadillac-driving welfare queens and strapping young bucks buying T-bone steaks with food stamps. In trumpeting these tales of welfare run amok, Reagan never needed to mention race, because he was blowing a dog whistle:
sending a message about racial minorities inaudible on one level, but clearly heard on another. In doing so, he tapped into a long political tradition that started with George Wallace and Richard Nixon, and is more relevant than ever in the age of the Tea Party and the first black president.

In Dog Whistle Politics, Ian Haney López offers a sweeping account of how politicians and plutocrats deploy veiled racial appeals to persuade white voters to support policies that favor the extremely rich yet threaten their own interests. Dog whistle appeals generate middle-class enthusiasm for
political candidates who promise to crack down on crime, curb undocumented immigration, and protect the heartland against Islamic infiltration, but ultimately vote to slash taxes for the rich, give corporations regulatory control over industry and financial markets, and aggressively curtail social
services. White voters, convinced by powerful interests that minorities are their true enemies, fail to see the connection between the political agendas they support and the surging wealth inequality that takes an increasing toll on their lives. The tactic continues at full force, with the
Republican Party using racial provocations to drum up enthusiasm for weakening unions and public pensions, defunding public schools, and opposing health care reform.

Rejecting any simple story of malevolent and obvious racism, Haney López links as never before the two central themes that dominate American politics today: the decline of the middle class and the Republican Party's increasing reliance on white voters. Dog Whistle Politics will generate a lively and
much-needed debate about how racial politics has destabilized the American middle class-white and nonwhite members alike.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mcelhra - LibraryThing

I found Dog Whistle Politics utterly fascinating, horrifying and heartbreaking all at the same time. López defines dog whistling as “inaudible and easily denied in one range, yet stimulating strong ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Mithalogica - LibraryThing

On the one hand, I love this book, and I think it's terrifically important. On the other, I was disappointed in its lack of scope. Let me back up; I received this for Early Reviewers, and I've been ... Read full review


IntroductionRacial Politics and the Middle Class
1 The GOPs Rise as the White Mans Party
Strategic Racism
4 The False Allure of Colorblindness
Clinton and W
6 Getting Away with Racism
The Tea Party and Romney
8 Whats the Matter with White Voters? Commonsense Racism
9 Obamas PostRacial Strategy
ConclusionTo End Dog Whistle Politics

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About the author (2014)

Ian Haney López is the John H. Boalt Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. An incisive voice on white identity since the publication of his path-breaking bookWhite by Law (1996), he remains at the forefront of conversations about race in modern America. A past visiting professor at Yale and Harvard law schools, in 2011 he was awarded the Alphonse Fletcher Fellowship, given to scholars whose work promotes the integration goals of Brown v. Board of Education.

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