Categorized | Opinion

Dog Whistle Politics and Racial Code Words at Bearing Drift

I have heard the term Dog Whistle Politics used, mostly by African-American politicians, to describe a covert type of racism that is, according to Author Haney Lopez, pervasive in American politics.

“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.”

Now I am not sure that I agree with the premise that covert racism exists as an intentional set of coded words maliciously used to secretly tell white voters that what the politician is saying is not what they will eventually do if elected. That with the use of certain “code words” somehow the white racist voters listening will decode the encrypted message and be reassured that racism is alive and well in the politician in question. So, no worries. Vote for me and I will put on the KKK sheet and carry on.

In fact, I reject that notion out of hand.

But that does not change the fact that a large number of African Americans believe it to be true. Especially the liberal blacks. And based on numerous conversations I have has with some of my Conservative black friends, the notion of Dog Whistle Politics is a consideration.

The Urban Dictionary defines Dog Whistle Politics as:

Dog whistle is a type of strategy of communication that sends a message that the general population will take a certain meaning from, but a certain group that is “in the know” will take away the secret, intended message. Often involves code words.
Republicans say they want to make civil rights for gays a state issue, which is really just a dog whistle strategy for saying that they will refuse to grant equal rights on a federal level.
So it does not matter if you believe this is an actual phenomenon or not. It is considered a fact in the overall discussion of race and racism.
So when Bearing Drift and others attack Dave Brat because of a college paper written by a former student researcher because she dared to ask the question if there was a correlation between poverty and lower test scores, anyone looking for a dog whistle just found it.
Never mind the fact that the conclusion of the paper stated:
“… if poverty is statistically significant, the obvious recommendation is to eliminate poverty, but this is a very unrealistic solution.”
“…pouring money on the problem will not solve anything. “The direct relationship between spending and student proficiency is not very strong. This does not mean that ‘money doesn’t matter.’ It simply means that spending, by itself, does not determine performance.””

But the dog whistle politics at work here is the attack on the writer for even asking the question if poverty is an impediment to test scores and learning. And for those that hear the dog whistles, the ugly tinge of racism is loud and clear.

Who are the ones in poverty? (Listen to the high pitched dog whistle.)

For Bearing Drift or anyone else to object to looking at links between poverty and education, even if they misrepresent the conclusions, is the dog whistle that we are talking about.

And the translation?

“How dare a Republican even consider a study that may link poverty to lower test scores? Are you trying to help blacks? You must be a Liberal. Only a Liberal would want data like that out there in public.”

Intentional or unintentional this is the message Bearing Drift is sending out to those who listen for the whistles.

So what does this tell us about someone who would write or say these things?

Well, at least two conclusions come to mind. Either they are racists who intentionally inject their racial prejudice into this or they didn’t think about it at all and their subconscious injected the dog whistle. And I don’t have enough data on those that have used this line of attack to reach a conclusion.

I just know that in any academic exercise if you limit the scope of the research to avoid certain “inconvenient” conclusions lest they fail to conform with your desired conclusions, the entire academic exercise is tainted and worthless.

It is not a liberal philosophy to want to see that every child receives a good education. And it is not a liberal stance to want to explore the reasons for poor scores. And knowing why children in poverty score lower as a class on tests than more affluent children does not mean you want to “redistribute” wealth.

Whether this is intentional or unintentional dog whistle racism, it is my conclusion that this is dog whistle racism, plain and simple. To attack someone for doing research that finds facts, no matter how much you might dislike them, is simply wrong.

The conclusion of the paper that pouring money on the problem will not solve anything is as simple as it gets.

So what is the answer to making sure that all children, when parental income is considered, achieve statistically normal scores? Obviously not money. So the “redistribution of wealth” theory was not even considered.

Let’s put the dog whistles away fellows. Studying the impediments to a good education in an academic setting is not Liberal.

And stop giving Republicans a bad name.

About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog. Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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