With the 2020 Presidential Election drawing closer, we thought it only be fitting to continue our race and racism series, this time delving into issues like dog-whistling and voter suppression. We kick off the show with a clip from Lee Atwater, a well-known Republican Party consultant where he talks about ways to enforce racism without being able to say the N-word. This leads into a discussion on dog-whistling—the use of covert, coded language, which by all accounts appears neutral but is loaded with racist rhetoric. Terms like ‘inner-city’, ‘God’s country’, ‘suburban’, and ‘urban’ are all widely used to invoke images that foster division and fear.
These insidious displays of racism are very much alive and well in today’s United States, and another common, furtive racist tactic is voter suppression. While it may be easy to relegate voter suppression to a time passed, it is incredibly prevalent and naturally disproportionately affects communities of color. We look at a study of Harvard students taking the 1964 Louisiana Literacy Test and the correlations it has to the obstacles that voters still currently face. Some of these new and improved voter suppression tactics include limited absentee ballot drop-boxes, like in Texas, prohibitive ID laws that exclude 21 million people from voting, and subtle ‘watchful eyes’ under the guise of preventing voter fraud.
All elections are significant, but this might arguably be the most important one of many of our lifetimes. Your vote absolutely does count, regardless of what you have been led to believe. If it didn’t, why would so many people be trying to stop you from voting? While we acknowledge the very real obstacles that are placed in the way of the Black and community of color’s way to vote, we encourage you to get out there on election day to have your say on the future of the country.