Session Type(s): Featured Panel
Starts: Friday, Aug. 3 11:30 AM (Eastern)
Ends: Friday, Aug. 3 12:45 PM (Eastern)
Government violence against communities of color is rising to match the Trump administration’s rhetoric of racial fear-mongering. These outrages pose, at once, severe human rights challenges, and also, strategic cover for the right’s economic war on all working-class people. The progressive movement must speak forcefully to both racial and economic injustice. But how, when conversations about racism discomfit significant numbers of whites, and a colorblind economic populism leaves large parts of our base frustrated and alienated?
Our research indicates the key lies in a narrative that centers racial division as the principal weapon in a class war the rich are winning. For the last year, Ian Haney López (author of Dog Whistle Politics), Anat Shenker-Osorio (ASO Communications), and Heather McGhee (Demos Action) partnered in an ambitious multi-phase project to create an effective new narrative around racism as a divide-and-conquer weapon that generates both racist violence and surging economic inequality. We crafted, empirically validated, and field-tested the result against a range of existing progressive and reactionary frames—and narratives fusing race and class outperformed both colorblind economic populism and racial justice messages, as well as Trumpian white nationalist populism. We believe the race-class approach provides a route toward a truly multiracial progressive coalition equally and simultaneously committed to racial justice and shared economic prosperity. Please join us for a conversation, with an opportunity for questions and answers, introduced by Heather McGhee and featuring Ian Haney López.
Ian Haney López is the originator of the race-class approach to beating dog whistle politics. A law professor at UC Berkeley who specializes in Critical Race Theory, his focus for the last decade has been on the use of racism as a class weapon in electoral politics, and how to respond. In Dog Whistle Politics (2014), he detailed the fifty-year history of coded racism in American politics. He then co-chaired the AFL-CIO’s Advisory Council on Racial and Economic Justice, along with Dorian Warren and Ana Avendaño, and co-founded the Race-Class Narrative Project, along with Anat Shenker-Osorio and Heather McGhee. In Merge Left: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America (2019), Ian explains Trump’s complex relationship with dog whistling and further develops the race-class response.
Ian is the Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Public Law at the University of California, Berkeley. He has published four books and two anthologies, and lives in Richmond, California.
Other sessions: Unifying our Story: Lessons on Creating and Implementing a Race-Class Narrative
Celinda Lake was one of two main pollsters for the Biden campaign, is the only Democratic pollster to play a major role in defeating two incumbent presidents, and is a prominent pollster and political strategist for progressives. Celinda currently serves as President of Lake Research Partners. Lake’s polling and strategic advice has helped candidates such as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Senator Jon Tester, Senator Debbie Stabenow, and former Governor Bob Wise to groundbreaking wins, and her expertise guided former Senator Mark Begich to victory, making him the first Senate candidate in Alaska to oust an incumbent in 50 years. Celinda has focused especially on women’s concerns and women candidates, including Speaker Pelosi, former Governor Janet Napolitano, Senator Debbie Stabenow, former Senator Barbara Mikulski, Mayor Carolyn Goodman, former Mayor Annise Parker, and over a dozen women in the House and Senate. Celinda worked on behalf of the largest independent expenditure to take back the House in 2006 and has been a key player in campaigns launched by progressive groups such as the AFL-CIO, SEIU, NRDC, ecoAmerica, Planned Parenthood, Vote Vets, HRC, and EMILY’s List. Lake co-authored the book What Women Really Want with Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway. Celinda works with innovative messaging projects that help redefine language on the economy, inequality, big money in politics, climate change, public schools, teachers, criminal justice reform, and has worked in depth on the Race Class Narrative work with Anat Shenker-Osorio.