[Ads-l] dog whistle politics

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Dec 29 21:20:31 EST 2017

A "dog-whistle" is P.C. racist code. One of the older examples is _the
undeserving poor_ for "black people." A couple of others are
"sexually-active teenagers," "welfare-recipients," "inner-city dwellers,"
etc. Possibly the current most-common example is _undocumented aliens_ for
"Hispanic people who are poor and/or have sallow complexions."

Of course, the overwhelming majority of these terms are two days older than
water. Well, at least as old as the the era of Ronald "The Great
Communicator" Reagan and his tales of Cadillac-driving 'welfare queens' and
'strapping young bucks' buying T-bone steaks with food stamps. During the
same era, a candidate for mayor of Boston used a variant as a slogan: "You
Know Where I Stand!" In the words of the Shangri-Las in their song, The
Leader of the Pack: "Yes, we do." What's new is this tactic's being
recognized for what it is and being given a name.

Every time that I hear that 1971 jam by Lee Michaels, Do You Know What I
Mean?, I can't avoid being reminded of the political tactic now called a

Dog-whistle politics - Wikipedia
Dog-whistle politics is political messaging employing coded language that
appears to mean one thing to the general population but has an additional,
different, or more specific resonance for a targeted subgroup.

On Fri, Dec 29, 2017 at 7:23 PM, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Dog Whistle:  Anything a "conservative" says that isn't clearly racist,
> sexist or X-ist, so characterized by "liberals" as to avoid responding to a
> substantive policy argument, instead tainting the comments with racism,
> sexism or other X-ism for cheap political advantage among their base for
> whom (ironically) calling out a conservative "dog whistle" frequently acts
> as a liberal "dog whistle" in its own right.
> ________________________________
> From: David K. Barnhart<mailto:dbarnhart at HIGHLANDS.COM>
> Sent: ‎12/‎29/‎2017 13:07
> Subject: dog whistle politics
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "David K. Barnhart" <dbarnhart at HIGHLANDS.COM>
> Subject:      dog whistle politics
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> -------------------
> I came across this term a couple of days ago.  And, this is what I had
> (more
> coming as the weekend passes):
> dog-whistle politics, {w}  Also written dog whistle politics.  See the
> quotations for description.  Compare alt-right and lipstick on a pig.
> Nonstandard (used in slang contexts dealing especially with party politics
> throughout the English-speaking world; frequency?)
> The deputy leader said the Lib Dem's pro-EU stance had helped them recover
> from a crushing defeat after five years of coalition government, and
> achieve
> the party's highest ever membership.
> Ms Swinson said her party fought against "racist, dog-whistle" politics in
> defeating the former Conservative London mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith in
> a byelection in 2016, and continued to stand against "rabble-rousing,
> hate-stoking" populism. "Jo Swinson: Dems are the Chumbawamba' party,"
> Scotsman (Nexis), Sept. 16, 2017, p not given
> Palmerston North political candidates are divided over proposed measures to
> deal with the scourge of methamphetamine, with one describing them as
> "dog-whistle politics".
> Deputy Prime Minister and Police Minister Paula Bennett announced a raft of
> measures against both gangs and methamphetamine, also known as P, as
> National continued election campaigning on Sunday. Jono Galuszka,
> "Politicians sparring over Nat's meth plan," Manawatu Standard [New
> Zealand]
> (Nexis), Sept. 5, 2017, p 3
> President Trump has deplored the violence that occurred in Charlottesville.
> To claim that he has a "role in the resurgence of far-right violence" and
> indulges in "dog-whistle politics of hate" is not only wild nonsense but
> suggests that Mr Amery has succumbed to the fake news and views that
> proliferate in sections of the media.
> This is indicated by his attempt to denounce what he calls "alternative
> facts" which obviously clash with his views. "Distorting facts to serve an
> opinion," The Mercury [South Africa] (Nexis), Aug. 28, 2017, p 6
> Republicans have also employed so-called "dog whistle" politics: coded
> words, policies and imagery that preserve deniability while speaking with
> implicit clarity to white racial and cultural fears. From the Willie Horton
> ad that helped George H.W. Bush become president to the suggestive white
> woman ad that helped sink a black candidate's Senate bid in Tennessee, from
> photo ID voter suppression to birther conspiracies, from Newt Gingrich
> condemning a "food stamp president" to Paul Ryan's complaining about "a
> tailspin of culture in our inner cities," the GOP has seldom missed a
> chance
> to lay out the welcome mat for white supremacists. Leonard Pitts, Jr.,
> "Charlottesville didn't spring from nowhere," Spokesman Review [Spokane,
> Wash.] (Nexis), Aug. 21, 2017, p 003
> [1995] 1997.  Composite (compound): formed, with semantic shifting, from
> dog
> whistle (eOED: 1801), meaning "a whistle for calling a dog, especially such
> a whistle with a hig-frequency sound inaudible to people" (WBD), + politics
> (OED: 1638), as in message politics.
> Happy New Year and Happy Wording,
> David Barnhart
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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