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Collective Action has the Power to Defeat Racist Rhetoric in 2016

Ian Haney-Lopez releases new report outlining strategies for collective action against racist rhetoric in politics 

(Washington, DC, January 14, 2016) – Today, the AFL-CIO and University of California Berkeley Law Professor Ian Haney-Lopez, in partnership with Demos and the University of California-Berkley Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, released a new report offering a response to the increase in racist and offensive rhetoric throughout the election season so far.

In the report, entitled “Race and Economic Jeopardy For All: A Framing Paper for Defeating Dog Whistle Politics,” Haney-Lopez addresses the connection between dog whistle politics and the increasingly successful right-wing attacks on the government and unions, and offers a frame for the labor movement to mobilize and defeat dog whistling.

Dog whistle politics and manipulated hostility towards people of color already have a strong presence in the 2016 election. Recently, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka released a video shaming the use of such rhetoric, specifically shining a light on Donald Trump’s campaign.

“The report comes at a crucial time in American politics when right-wing politicians are inciting fear in voters with the use of dog-whistle politics,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “This language damages the ability to achieve the policies our country’s working families so desperately need.”

"Conservatives and their billionaire backers are exploiting racial anxiety to win support for policies that overwhelmingly favor the very rich. Race today is about all of us--the economic future of each of our families, and also, who we are as Americans," said Haney-Lopez.

"In this election cycle, we’ve seen presidential candidates unabashedly using racist dog whistles to divide and spread distrust among working people, and the only winners are those already benefiting from record inequality," said Demos President Heather McGhee. "Ian Haney-Lopez's agenda-setting new report makes clear that a strong and inclusive labor movement is America's best hope for true cross-racial solidarity."

As the demographics of working people continue the shift to include more women and people of color, the labor movement must continue to fight back against such divisive language that inhibits shared progress.  

The report can be accessed online.

Contact: Mariah Young (202) 637-5018

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