Lori Ziganto at Twitchy notes, "The funny thing is, it is the racist Left who hears them." Her point that the Pavlovian response seems to be missing among the faithful Republican bigots who seem tone deaf to the whistling while the left is particularly deft at hearing the unheard is driven home by James Taranto:
The thing we adore about these dog-whistle kerfuffles is that the people who react to the whistle always assume it's intended for somebody else. The whole point of the metaphor is that if you can hear the whistle, you're the dog.The left is constantly accusing the right of racist motive and intent no matter what the right does. Everything is racist. You are a racist if you use a moderator's first name. You are a racist when you say that people should work a job rather than take food stamps. (And as Gingrich asked Matthews, “Why do you assume food stamp refers to blacks? What kind of racist thinking do you have? You’re being a racist because you assume they’re black!”) You are a racist if you are against the President's policies. You are a racist if you support a black man for president. You are a racist if you talk about problems that afflict certain communities. You are a racist if you don't talk about problems that afflict certain communities. You are a racist if you use racist language. And if you don't use racist language, you're using code and are a racist. And if you don't hear the code, you are a racist. And if you deny you are a racist, it is proof positive that you are a racist. When teachers expel students for their behavior, the left cries racism. If you think culture might have anything to do with the problems in the Middle East, you are a racist. If you don't speak at the NAACP you are a racist. If you do, you are throwing red meat to your racist supporters: (Well, only if you are on the right. The left can go, or not, and if they don't go it just means they were busy that day.) It doesn't much matter what your track record is, if you oppose the left, you are a racist. To the left, the popularity of conservative blacks such as Herman Cain, Condoleezza Rice, Michael Steele, Thomas Sowell, Allen West, Clarance Thomas, JC Watts, Armstrong Williams, Colin Powell, and Mia Love only proves the deep racism within the GOP.
But if you are on the left, you can't possibly be racist. No matter what you say or what policy you support. No matter how contemptuous you are of members of a race. You can even say out loud that certain people by virtue of their skin pigmentation are not capable of getting, or shouldn't be expected to get, an ID. That might seem racist, but no, it isn't if you say it from the left. (How is it that asking for ID be discriminatory only when it comes to voting?)
|Forward to the past|
It is the right that thinks more highly of citizens and treats them all the same as though there is no difference, no matter what their skin color. It is the left that treats racial groups with contempt by having lower expectations for them. But somehow it is the right who is blamed as the racists in the leftist's world. One wonders how much of this is the projection of the left. When you are on the left, you can say the most hateful, racist things about blacks and be thought of as 'progressive'. You can even say that the GOP wants blacks in chains or that they should be hanging from trees.
So in the end, the right embraces people of all races and background with whom they share values while the left obsesses on race and hears the dog whistles. For whom then does the dog whistle toll?
UPDATE (9/1): Mark Steyn's column on this issue. Some takeaways:
On MSNBC, Chris Matthews declared this week that Republicans use “Chicago” as a racist code word. Not to be outdone, his colleague Lawrence O’Donnell pronounced “golf” a racist code word.
Mr. Akselrod now says it was a “typo.” Could happen to anyone. You’re typing “neighborhood,” and you leave out the “i,” and the “h” and “b,” and the “o” and “r” get mysteriously inverted. Either that, or your desktop came with Al Sharpton’s spellcheck. And then nobody at the campaign office reading through the mailer spotted it. Odd.
When you don’t have frighteningly white upscale liberals obsessing about the racist subtext of golf, it’s amazing how much time it frees up to talk about other stuff. For example, as dysfunctional as Greece undoubtedly is, if you criticize the government’s plans for public-pensions provision, there are no Chris Matthews types with such a highly evolved state of racial consciousness that they reflexively hear “watermelon” instead of the word “pensions.” So instead everyone discusses the actual text rather than the imaginary subtext.
UPDATE (10/5): Peanut butter jelly sandwiches, chair, and many other words have been added to the dog whistle list. I guess this cover by the New Yorker makes them racist too: