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

Paperback | February 19, 2015

byIan Haney Lopez

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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 Lopez 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 forpolitical 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 socialservices. 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 theRepublican 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 Lopez 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 andmuch-needed debate about how racial politics has destabilized the American middle class - white and nonwhite members alike.

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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 inaudibl...

Ian Haney Lopez 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 book White 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, ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:February 19, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019022925X

ISBN - 13:9780190229252

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Table of Contents

Preface: Learning about Racism at Harvard Law SchoolIntroduction: Racial Politics and the Middle Class1. The Southern Strategy and the GOP's Rise as the White Man's Party2. Beyond Hate: Strategic Racism3. The Wrecking Begins: Ronald Reagan4. Colorblindness and Whites as Racial Victims5. Updating the Whistle: Clinton and W.6. How Conservatives Get Away with Racism7. Makers and Takers8. What's the Matter with White Voters?9. Obama's Post-Racial StrategyConclusion To End Dog Whistle Politics

Editorial Reviews

"Grounded in history rather than theory, this is recommended to readers engaged in today's political discourse." --Library Journal