Notes and Reflections on Books and Media
by Hannah Leitheiser
Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class
- Haney López, Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class (2015)
Brief Outline of American History (as told by author)
before-World War II - the science of racism is growing questionable; social forces probably account for differences better. Slavery abolished, but legal discrimination persists. The idea of the color-blind government grows to try to fight laws that explicitly discriminate.
World War II - racism becomes a bad word; we won't do what Hitler did.
Brown v. Board of Education (1954) - the government has a role in ending discrimination and segregation.
mid-1970's - According to the courts: Removing overt discrimination in hiring is not enough if the result is unfair.
late 1970's - According to the court: The government will only step in in cases of expressed racial malice (which has never happened).
1980's - Reactionary color-blindness: Harm is done when any law refers to race (eg. affirmative action). A focus on ethnic cultures as a source of inequality, and these cultures can't be changed from the outside, therefore social programs that attempt to benefit non-whites (well, people within those cultures) are wasteful. Republicans get "tough on crime" with a special focus on street crime.
1990's - Fearing backlash to Democratic association with racial progress, Democrats as well move in the colorblind direction, get tougher on crime, and seek to shrink New Deal social programs.
2000's - 9/11, domestic round-ups, war, torture. A battle based on religion and geography, but with effects on race. Growing worry about illegal Mexican immigrants; probable analog to 80's 'tough on crime.'