A Race-Class Narrative About Immigration
Encouraging people to see their fates as linked across color lines is critical to defeating dog whistling and its mass violence. The race-class research suggests that efforts to broaden the “we” will be most successful when those not at risk of deportation come to see how fearmongering imperils their own well-being. When people perceive that messages of racial threat are strategic lies that harm them and their families, they’re more likely to reject these fear stories entirely and to recognize their shared humanity with those they’re told menace them. The following box offers a race- class narrative on immigration.26 The one after that dissects the message into its component parts, offering a pocket summary of a typical race-class message.
The Narrative About Immigration
Regardless of where we come from, what our color is, or how we worship, every family wants the best for their children. But today, certain politicians and their greedy lobbyists are putting our families at risk. They rig the rules to enrich them- selves and avoid paying their fair share of taxes, while they defund our schools and threaten seniors with cuts to Medicare and Social Security. Then they turn around and point the fin- ger for our hard times at new immigrants—even tearing families apart and losing children. When we reject their scapegoating and come together across racial differences, we can make this a nation we’re proud to leave all of our kids—whether we’re white, Black, or brown, from down the street or across the globe.
Anatomy of a Race-Class Narrative
Regardless of where we come from, what our color is, or how we worship, every family wants the best for their children.
Discuss race overtly and as including everyone. Beyond physical features, this can be done by invoking the differences the Right seeks to racialize, including national origin and religion. As a matter of general messaging advice, start with an affirmative value statement rather than a problem.
But today, certain politicians and their greedy lobbyists are putting all of our families at risk.
identify the actual source of threat to working families, taking care to explain motives, even through simple terms like “greedy.”
They rig the rules to enrich themselves and avoid paying their fair share of taxes, while they defund our schools and threaten seniors with cuts to Medicare and Social Security.
Excerpts from Merge Left: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America.
Ian Haney López. 2019. See post below and opportunity to download the chapter.
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