Where did Dog Whistle politics come from? In the early 1960s, it was no longer acceptable to use racial slurs, so politicians like Goldwater used Law & Order as code for dangerous Black and brown people fighting for civil rights. Politicians have used Dog Whistles ever since as a strategy of political racism to divide us, win elections, and make sure government only worked for the powerful elites.
But the reason politicians use Dog Whistles goes back much further. The roaring 20s were a time like most of our history - when the government worked only for the wealthy few. A financial crash gave us the Great Depression. Families were devastated – hungry, without work, without homes, without hope. Then, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected. He created the New Deal with the belief that the government has a responsibility to protect people. He ended the Depression by launching recovery programs that gave people jobs.
Conservatives, especially in the south, hated the New Deal. They hated government working for most Americans – including people of color. FDR had to adjust programs so that only whites received full benefits of the New Deal.
The New Deal was incredibly popular, but Conservatives never gave up fighting against it. Beginning in the 1960s, they divided Americans with Dog Whistles that used racism as a political weapon. Throughout the 1960s until today, we hear Dog Whistles used by Conservatives as a deliberate political strategy of racism with the single goal to hold on to political power.
Our fight against Dog Whistles is a fight for a new ‘New Deal’, one that adds the imperative of inclusivity to a government that protects us and helps solve today’s biggest problems. We call out Conservative’s strategy of political racism and offer a new vision of a multi-racial society that works for us all. The Race-Class narrative changes the conversation to help us get there.
Learn how to disarm political Dog Whistles and offer a positive vision for our future in our three-part series ‘Message Vision. Not Division’: https://www.liberalleadershipleague.org/messagevision