Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dog Whistle Works Both Ways

This recent Sailer column got me thinking.

There has been a lot of talk lately about "dog whistle politics" where denotatively race-neutral terms such as "welfare queen" or "tough on crime" are supposedly connotative "dog whistles" whose desired effect is to play on white racism.

Supposedly, someone who claims to be "tough on crime" really is really saying "lock those uppity blacks up!" Someone who says he wants to reduce taxes and talks about getting people off of welfare is really saying "don't pay those lazy blacks!" etc. The implication is that only the racists understand the subtext, as a dog can hear a inaudible (to human ears) dog whistle.

Of course, not mentioned is the fact that the dog whistle works both ways.

Considering how much higher black crime rates are than white crime rates, isn't is possible htat the anti-racist (I'm not saying "black," because I am not convinced that most blacks are unhappy with tough on crime policies, as they disproportionately live in neighborhoods where they will be victimized) who is against being "tough on crime" is really saying, in coded langauge, "blacks should be able to commit crime because our society is racist!" Or that the person advocating against reduced welfare benefits and for higher taxes is really saying "we want to take other peoples' money!"

Funny how no one complaining about dog whistles ever thinks of that.

That is all.

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