I'm reading "Dog Whistle Politics", a book by Ian Hanley-Lopez, a Berkeley professor who spoke at the Governing for Racial Equity conference in Seattle earlier this year. The book details how politicians and media campaigns have perpetuated and exacerbated racial biases and inequities in our country. The title references the fact that dog-trainers use whistles pitched so high that humans can't hear them, but the dogs can.
It's a profound, disturbing, and very helpful book. An excerpt I found particularly compelling:
"RACE AND LIBERAL GOVERNMENT
It would be bad enough if race provided a routine way to win elections, but beyond this, dog-whistling underlies efforts to dismantle government commitments essential to supporting a vibrant and growing middle class. As we learned in response to the last great economic calamity to confront the country, to ensure broad prosperity government has four crucial roles to play:
* first, to weather the vicissitudes that easily plunge families into poverty, for instance job loss or ill health;
* second, to provide escalators of upward mobility, such as quality schooling, higher education, and mortgage assistance;
* third, to build the nation's infrastructure, thus laying the groundwork for the next great economic boom; and
* fourth, to rein in marketplace abuses through regulation, and to prevent excessive concentration of wealth through progressive taxation.
This is the New Deal liberal vision that propelled the largest expansion of the middle class ever seen, and that once enjoyed broad support across the whole country."
I encourage you to read the whole book.