Dog whistling

A dog whistle is a really effective way of interacting with dogs when you really think about. It sounds like a quiet hiss to humans while sending its message to the target audience effectively. But like most things, it is not perfect and can be heard by other animals such as domestic cats. The same thing can be said about dog whistle politics.

This coded language often employed to talk to a specific subgroup is not unlike an in-joke among friends. Unfortunately, such messages are usually more venomous than a simple joke shared between friends. If you have no experience with such language allow me to give you a brief introduction.

Coded words 101

What do the following words have in common;

  • pack
  • horde
  • thugs
  • ghetto
  • animals
  • criminals

Answer = Words used to describe black protestors

How about these words;

  • young people
  • fans
  • passionate
  • party gone awry
  • a bit too rowdy,
  • dispute

Answer = Words used to describe white riots

(Class adjourned)

Now I don’t mean to be insensitive and I am saddened for everyone that is suffering or has suffered from tragedy. But I can’t help but notice the narrative that surrounds such tragedy (The elephant in the room I’m trying to skip carefully around is terrorism).

The mainstream media is very quick (perhaps too quick) to name the culprit of an attack and this can lead to the aforementioned whistling. Looking at this clip, it’s obvious, to me at least, that the reporter is trying to pry the ethnicity out of the eyewitness, which is fine I suppose but the question is why? A terrorist is a terrorist, surely?

Actually no, you see apparently a terrorist is only a terrorist if they are black or brown. Then they may also be called an extremist or radical Islamist. But more and more it seems that white people are immune to committing acts of terrorism, at least if you listen to the mainstream media.

Case in point, a white US Army veteran admitted to driving to New York specifically to kill black people after stabbing a man. I called him a US Army veteran as that is the identifier used by most of the media for this terrorist.

Not convinced, Dylann Roof who murdered 9 church goers in cold blood is described as a “loner”, James Holmes who shot dozens at an Aurora movie theater was described him as a “smart kid”,  Alexandre Bissonnette who killed 6 Muslims in a mosque in Quebec is a “lone wolf”, Adam Lanza who killed 20 children in the Sandy Hook massacre is described as “gifted” but “mentally troubled”. Seeing the pattern yet?

white shooter

I wish this wasn’t as accurate.

Now you may wonder why these killers are humanized but the bigger question is why are ethnic victims vilified? Let’s look at the New York case again, below is an excerpt from coverage of the event by Daily News New York describing the victim, Timothy Caughman.

This trend of victim blaming is not new, Eric Garner’s death was justified because he was allegedly selling loose cigarettes, Dajerria Becton, a black teenager who committed no crime, was tackled and held down by a police officer at a pool party and described as no saint either, to mention a few.

More recently this picture was shared online.

Taken out of context, it is meant to show the compassion of Christians compared to Muslims. The social media circus caused by the picture prompted the Muslim woman in the picture to make a statement, where she explains that she was devasted by the horrific incident and merely attempting to call her parents to inform them that she was safe. She elaborates that the picture doesn’t show her talking to other witnesses to find out what was happening or how she could be of help because one picture is never really the whole story. So what is the point of this post, to remind you of three things;


Question things.

Don’t take whatever you are fed by the media (or anyone) as fact, they make mistakes at times and sometimes push an agenda.


Challenge your own bias.

This is tough, try and honestly ask yourself why you believe certain things and be open to being wrong.


Knowledge is power.

Seek it, it is easy to fear what you don’t understand. So if something scares you, it might be better to learn more about it rather than hold on to that fear.

In this era where we have people screaming about fake news, we need the media to be more accurate in their reporting, lest we allow a raving lunatic to be correct about something…

Peace and Love,

Aharoun the Author.

3 thoughts on “Dog whistling

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