Race in the 2012 US Presidential Election: Demographics and 'Dog Whistles'

Thursday, July 5, 2012
19:00 (Talk will start at 19:30)
Temple University, Japan Campus, Mita Hall 502/503 (Access)
Ben Karp, Ph.D candidate in the departments of African American Studies and History at Yale University.
Kyle Cleveland, Associate Director, ICAS
Free (Open to general public)
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A dog whistle cannot be heard by the human ear but calls every hound in the neighborhood running. In politics this term refers to language spoken by a politician that will be heard as normal and appropriate by all but a select audience who can detect a specific, often racial, agenda.

In becoming the first black president of the United States, Barack Obama symbolized for most of his country and much of the world an end to the traditional prejudices which had segregated society since its founding. But is Obama really a "post racial" president as he promised and as was expected by his supporters? Has racism disappeared as a driving factor in how large groups of Americans vote? Are there already racial messages embedded in the opposition to President Obama's re-election?

This discussion will examine the overt (demographics and voting patterns) and subtle aspects of race that may shape the tone of 2012 election and indeed determine its outcome.


Ben Karp

Ben Karp is a PhD candidate in the departments of African American Studies and History at Yale University, writing on the subject of African American - Japanese relations. After earning his MA at Yale, Ben worked as a finance director on the first mayoral campaign of Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker, then establishing a luxury jewelry importing business in Tokyo. He has written for The Asahi Shimbun, The New Haven Register and The Algemeiner, and has been quoted in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine on a variety of subjects.

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