On Dog Whistles

I've got a new piece at Comment is free America, "McCain blows the dog whistle," which not only examines the racist undertones to McCain's new campaign advert, as has been previously discussed here, but also provides a primer on what dog whistles are and how they function:
This is a lesson in how dog whistles work.

If you're not familiar with the term "dog whistle," as it relates to politics, here's a quick primer: As a literal dog whistle emits a pitch that only dogs can hear, a political dog whistle sends a message that only a particular constituency will hear (or intuitively understand).

…The dog whistle piques [social justice advocates] with something the average person won't see as bigoted, but that the constituency for which they advocate (and/or of which they're a part) will expect them to call out, because they instantly spy it and recognize it for what it is; they've heard the tune of that particular string being plucked their whole lives. Then whoever calls it out is marginalized as a hysteric, over-reactionary, looking to get offended, etc.

And that's exactly how the game has played out here.
Read the whole thing here.

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