THE BLOG
03/04/2014 09:53 am ET Updated May 04, 2014

Watch: Ian Haney López on the Dog Whistle Politics of Race

Previously published on BillMoyers.com

What do Cadillac-driving "welfare queens," a "food stamp president" and the "lazy, dependent and entitled" 47 percent tell us about post-racial America? They're all examples of a type of coded racism that this week's guest, Ian Haney López, writes about in his new book, Dog Whistle Politics.

Haney López is an expert in how racism has evolved in America since the civil rights era. Over the past 50 years, politicians have mastered the use of dog whistles -- code words that turn Americans against each other while turning the country over to plutocrats. This political tactic, says Haney López, is "the dark magic" by which middle-class voters have been seduced to vote against their own economic interests.

"It comes out of a desire to win votes. And in that sense... It's racism as a strategy. It's cold, it's calculating, it's considered," Haney López tells me, "it's the decision to achieve one's own ends, here winning votes, by stirring racial animosity."

Ian Haney López, a professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, is a senior fellow at the policy analysis and advocacy group, Demos.

Moyers & Company airs weekly on public television. Explore more at BillMoyers.com.

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