Dog-Whistle Racism

By Terry Keleher Sep 18, 2008

The Center for Social Inclusion has a new project that examines how race figures implicitly in many political discussion. Check out their new site called “Dog-Whistle Racism” which they define as “political campaigning or policy-making that uses coded words and themes that to appeal to conscious or subconscious racist concepts and frames. For example, the terms ‘welfare queen,’ ’states’ rights,’ ‘Islamic terrorist,’ ‘uppity,’ and ‘illegal alien’ all activate racist concepts that have already been planted by racist media coverage. So, what’s dog whistle racism? It’s pure political theater to push buttons to win elections and policies.” As election day near, the subtle and not-so-subtle race messaging is sure to get more heated, so there should be plenty of interesting fodder to analyze and expose.