Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Dog Whistler For Sale

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, September 22, 2020

UrbanDictionary.com states this about the popular cultural meaning of “Dog Whistle:

“Dog whistle is a type of strategy of communication that sends a message that the general population will take a certain meaning from, but a certain group that is “in the know” will take away the secret, intended message. Often involves code words.

“Republicans say they want to make civil rights for gays a state issue, which is really just a dog whistle strategy for saying that they will refuse to grant equal rights on a federal level.”


Trump To White Minnesota Audience:

“You Have Good Genes.”

by Christopher Wilson – Senior Writer, Yahoo News
September 21, 2020

It’s called a “dog whistle,” a word or phrase in a speech that is unobjectionable on the surface but conveys a coded message to partisans, by analogy to high-pitched sounds that are audible to dogs but not to people. Richard Nixon leaned on it heavily during his 1968 presidential campaign, referencing “law and order” and a “war on drugs,” further codifying racial appeals from Barry Goldwater for “states’ rights” and “freedom of association.” Ronald Reagan took it to another level in 1976, demonizing a “welfare queen” who fraudulently collected $150,000 in government benefits, a barely concealed appeal to the race and class resentments of White voters toward Blacks.


Ed. NOTE: Reagan’s demagogic demonization of an ostensibly Black woman as a “welfare queen” is a highly-popularized modern-day Republican myth. Linda Taylor, a Tennessee-born White Chicago-area resident, was given the miscreant moniker by the Chicago Tribune in October 1974, which also focused upon her personal possessions – jewelry, furs, and a Cadillac – though the real story of her behavior was much worse, and more complicated than a relatively minor case of simple welfare fraud. In 2013, Josh Levin, Editorial Director for Slate, wrote an extensively detailed report of the real-life character who Reagan mythologized on his campaign trail, exclusively in an effort to capitalize upon the “shock and awe” factor to gain voter support for his candidacy. Reagan’s use of exaggeration as a raconteur was renown, and in a January 1976 campaign rally, as any good story-teller would, he embellished that character by claiming, “In Chicago, they found a woman who holds the record. She used 80 names, 30 addresses, 15 telephone numbers to collect food stamps, Social Security, veterans’ benefits for four nonexistent deceased veteran husbands, as well as welfare. Her tax-free cash income alone has been running $150,000 a year.” While much has been written about Reagan’s well-known penchant for demagoguery, little of what he claimed was true, though he made significant political hay with it by portraying one isolated problem as a wholesale representation of systemic organizational failure, which he later used to justify reducing spending on social welfare programs. While Taylor did go to prison for committing about $8000 in welfare fraud (the 2020 value of which would be about $36,500), she was more memorable for her theft-claim and bigamy scams, which frauds were discovered only years later, along with probable murder and kidnapping for which she was never indicted. Levin wrote, “For Linda Taylor, people were consumable goods, objects to cultivate, manipulate, and discard. For Ronald Reagan, Taylor was a tool to convince voters that the government was in crisis.”


By that standard, President Trump’s riff about the “good genes” found among the people of Minnesota — an 80 percent white state — wasn’t a dog whistle. It was a train whistle, folding in Trump’s long-held belief that some people, himself especially, are simply born with superior traits to others.

“You have good genes, you know that, right?” Trump said during his Saturday rally in front of a nearly all-white crowd in Bemidji. “You have good genes. A lot of it is about the genes, isn’t it, don’t you believe? The racehorse theory. You think we’re so different? You have good genes in Minnesota.”

The racehorse theory is the belief that some humans have a better genetic endowment than others, and by breeding two superior people you end up with superior offspring. The belief in eugenics, the pseudoscience of trimming out “inferior” bloodlines to increase the quality of the gene pool, is part of a long, racist history in America, from forced sterilizations to research funded by the Carnegie Institution, among other wealthy foundations. Earlier this month, charges surfaced that a doctor at an ICE facility was performing unwanted and likely unnecessary hysterectomies on detained immigrant women, which would prevent them from having more children.

“It’s not just eugenics in theory, but it’s eugenics in practice,” said Steve Silberman, a historian whose book “NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity” discusses 20th century theories of eugenics in both the United States and Nazi Germany.

“Trump’s allusion to ‘good genes’ in front of a mostly white crowd in Minnesota isn’t just ‘like’ Nazism, it’s classic Nazi eugenic theory, encompassing the belief that ‘Aryans’ — like the descendants of Swedes in Minnesota — are destined to become the so-called master race,” Silberman told Yahoo News. “It’s not even a subtle dog whistle; Trump is just saying it, straight out, in the midst of a pandemic that disproportionately impacts people of color and disabled folks. The ramifications of this for our society are deeply chilling, and made concrete in the soaring COVID-19 death tolls for these vulnerable communities.”

Trump has long espoused a belief in eugenics, stating in a 1990 Playboy interview that “I’m a strong believer in genes.” In the 2014 film “Kings of Kallstadt,” a documentary looking at descendants from a single German town, Trump said, “You know I’m proud to have that German blood. There’s no question about it.” At a January 2016 event in Mississippi, he said, “I have Ivy League education, smart guy, good genes. I have great genes and all that stuff, which I’m a believer in.”

He has often cited a paternal uncle who was a professor at MIT as certifying his own superior intellect.

In a 2016 PBS documentary, Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio claimed Trump and his father were big believers in the concept of good breeding.

“This is a very deep part of the Trump story,” D’Antonio said. “The family subscribes to a racehorse theory of human development, that they believe that there are superior people, and that if you put together the genes of a superior woman and a superior man, you get superior offspring.”

Ian Haney López, a law professor at University of California, Berkeley, who’s studied the effectiveness of dog-whistle messaging, said Trump’s comments were consistent with his father’s reported beliefs on race science and an attempt to “trigger fears and resentments rooted in racist stereotypes, but in a way that allows a politician to deny that’s what they’re doing.”

“But what’s left of plausible deniability when you begin to talk about genes?” López told Yahoo News. “Because genes begin to connect up to eugenics and Nazi race theory. That ideology in the United States would lose favor and generally be repudiated, because that same system of thinking of races as groups you could and should control the breeding of would give rise to Nazism and in particular the effort to exterminate Jews and Gypsies and homosexuals. To have the president give voice to those ideas is profoundly dangerous for the country.”

“To have an audience that’s overwhelmingly white, that’s no surprise,” López continued. “What is shocking is to see the way in which rhetoric that has been coded is returning to a form of naked endorsements of white genetic superiority. Trump didn’t say ‘white genetic superiority,’ he just said ‘genes,’ so there’s still some slight cover.”

During the same speech Saturday, Trump also disparaged refugees. He has made Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee who won a seat in Congress from Minnesota in 2018, a frequent target of racist attacks. Omar is one of the first female Muslims ever elected to federal office.

“One of the most vital issues in this election is the subject of refugees,” Trump said Saturday. “You know it. You know it perhaps better than almost anybody. Lots of luck. You’re having a good time with the refugees. That’s good. We want to have Omar. He said Omar. That’s a beauty. How the hell did she win the election? How did she win? It’s unbelievable.”

“Every family in Minnesota needs to know about sleepy Joe Biden’s extreme plan to flood your state with an influx of refugees from Somalia, from other places all over the planet,” Trump continued. “Well, that’s what’s happened, and you like Omar a lot, don’t you?”

More than 52,000 Minnesota residents trace their ancestry to Somalia, in East Africa. Trump had previously attacked them in 2016, stating that Minnesotans had “suffered enough” as a result of “filthy refugee vetting.” During a 2018 Oval Office meeting, Trump criticized protections for refugees from “s***hole countries” in Latin America and Africa while expressing a preference for immigrants from Norway.

According to a 2019 book from New York Times reporters Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael Shear, Trump asked why he couldn’t ban refugees from “f***ing Somalia.” At a rally in October 2019, he promised to protect native-born Americans from an influx of immigrants from Somalia.

“In the Trump administration, we will always protect American families first, and that has not been done in Minnesota,” Trump said, adding, “We will not make the mistakes made in European countries and allow a violent ideology to take root in our country, on our shores. We’re not going to allow it to happen.”

López said one reason Trump continues to return to dog whistles is that, according to López’s research, it works.

“Trump in his own way has a more sophisticated understanding of how race works in American politics than many progressives or journalists,” López said. “Trump understands that the majority of Americans are susceptible to these messages of racial fear and understand them not as racism but as common sense. I say this not simply as an observer of Trump but as someone who ran two major research campaigns to figure out how this rhetoric is working and multiple dozens of focus groups and major polling campaigns. This sort of rhetoric comes across not just as convincing to majorities of whites but to majorities of Latinos, majorities of African-Americans, majorities of Democrats and majorities of union households.”

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

 
%d bloggers like this: