The Power of a Simple Act of Kindness
The term “dog whistle” while outdated is still an effective strategy in American politics. Dog whistle simply means speaking in code to a target audience. It is a tactic that targets audiences such as civil rights advocates, members of the religious right, environmentalists, and second amendment activists. Targeted messaging can be directed at any part of the political spectrum and is used by all sides. The practice of dog whistling is rooted in the pre-civil rights era of the 1950s, as a way for right-wing politicians to convince white voters that black and brown individuals were threats.
Today the term “identity politics” has reemerged as a dominate tool in the political strategist’s playbook. Identity politics is when people of a particular race, ethnicity, gender, or religion form alliances and organize politically to defend their groups interests. The feminist movement, the civil rights movement, and the gay liberation movement are all examples of this kind of political organizing. The Muslim ban gained traction because for the first time many whites feared the prospect becoming a minority in their “own country.” While many in our multicultural cities may well celebrate the “browning of America” as a welcome step away from “white supremacy”, it’s safe to say that large numbers of American whites are more anxious about this phenomenon, whether they admit it or not! The bottom line is that political advisors who care nothing about any of us use these tools to keep us divided.
Whatever happened to the old adage, “Together we stand…..”? Think back when times were better. Identity politics referred to your family of origin. Like the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s. If it were not your family then it was your neighborhood or High School! Those were times when you could attend a school sock hop or neighborhood block party without the fear of gun violence.
Random act of Kindness, Photo: medium.com
If we all take a deep breath, we all know people who are different from ourselves with whom we have an affection. The love we feel for those individuals “out Trumps” the fear that we are supposed to feel. I believe in identity politics and that is our identity as Americans! Do not fear those who are different. Instead open a dialogue! You will find as many of us have found, we have more in common than political social engineers would like us to realize. We care about family, safety, meaningful employment and our country. When one steps back and views the political strategies of today one can realize we have all been played. Just because someone you know who has been identified as a member of one group or another, remember the time when both of you shared barbecue in your backyard. Most of us have been labeled…. by someone else! I have met very few people who openly identify with any of these diversionist entities.
I challenge all of us to stop, listen and think before we talk about hating a fellow human being because someone else told us to!