Race-Class: How to Build a Truly Multiracial Movement for Racial Justice and Shared Prosperity for All

Race-Class: How to Build a Truly Multiracial Movement for Racial Justice and Shared Prosperity for All

Session Type(s): Featured Keynote Panel

Starts: Friday, Aug. 3 11:30 AM (Eastern)

Ends: Friday, Aug. 3 12:45 PM (Eastern)

Room: 217/218

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.

Moderators

Ian Haney Lopez

Ian Haney Lopez

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.

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Panelist

Celinda Lake

Celinda.Lake

Celinda Lake is one of the Democratic Party’s leading political strategists, serving as tactician and senior advisor to the national party committees, dozens of Democratic incumbents, and challengers at all levels of the electoral process. Celinda and her firm are known for cutting-edge research on issues including the economy, health care, the environment and education, and have worked for a number of institutions including the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Democratic Governor’s Association (DGA), Next Generation, AFL-CIO, SEIU, AFSCME, NEA, AFT, IAFF, Sierra Club, EcoAmerica, Planned Parenthood, Human Rights Campaign, EMILY’s List, the Kaiser Family Foundation and The RWJ Foundation. Her work has also taken her to advise fledgling democratic parties in several post-war Eastern European countries, including Ukraine, and South Africa. In 2008, Celinda worked as pollster for Vice President Biden.

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