Session 4

Session Four

Fusing Race and Class: How to Defeat Dog Whistle Politics


Identifying coded racist rhetoric in political messaging.

Building response messaging that calls out and shuts down racist rhetoric.

Align the issues typically separated by class and race to bridge a collective action and effort from different resistance groups.

How to combat Dog Whistle Politics: Professor Ian Haney López introduces Dog whistle politics, the coded racism that is frequently used by President Trump and those who spread fear and hate, which generate consequences seen in the 'corporate hijacking of government' and scaring white voters from progressive politics.  In this session Professor López details a method of fusing race and class to combat Dog Whistle Politics, and teaches us to identify racially coded political rhetoric and build response messaging which fuses arguments of race and class to unite, rather than divide, a progressive base. Throughout the training, Professor López leads us through the process of workshopping messaging examples across a range of social issues, so that each of us is well-equipped to do this work within our own communities.

Access session readings and the RS Town Square collaborative space below the video to dive deeper into this session's ideas and to connect with other organizers and activists utilizing them in their work.

The Speaker: Ian Haney López

Ian Haney López holds an endowed chair as the Earl Warren Professor of Public Law at the University of California, Berkeley, where he teaches in the areas of race and constitutional law. The author or editor of five books, his most recent is Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class (Oxford 2014). There he describes how for fifty years Republicans, and some Democrats too, have exploited racial pandering to build resentment toward government, fooling voters into supporting policies that favor the very wealthiest while hurting everyone else.

One of the nation’s leading thinkers on racism’s evolution since the civil rights era, Haney López is also a Senior Fellow at Demos and the director of the Racial Politics Project at the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society. Haney López has been a visiting law professor at Yale, New York University, and Harvard. He holds a master’s in history from Washington University, a master’s in public policy from Princeton, and a law degree from Harvard, and is a past recipient of the Alphonse Fletcher Fellowship, awarded to scholars whose work furthers the integration goals of Brown v. Board of Education.