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CANCELED 12:00pm - Speaker Series: Ian Haney López, Law, University of California, Berkeley

  • When: April 22, 2020, 12–1:30 pm
  • Where: ABF Woods Conference Room, 750 N. Lake Shore Drive, 4th floor, Lakeside, Chicago, IL 60611

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Racism, Plutocracy, and the 2020 Election

Over the last half-century, the Republican Party has exploited social divisions—and racism in particular—to win power, and then has ruled primarily on behalf of the ultra-wealthy. No one better symbolizes the conjoined dynamics of racism and plutocracy than Donald Trump. In this lecture, Haney López lays out the history of dog whistle politics and Trump’s place within it. Then he suggests a clear way forward. Haney López recently co-led a national research project focused on developing the most effective political rejoinder to strategic racism as a class weapon. The research—discussed in his most recent book, Merge Left: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America—demonstrates dog whistle politics can be defeated. Drawing on these results, this lecture assesses the looming 2020 presidential election.

Photo and Bio Couresty of University of California, Berkley

Ian Haney López teaches in the areas of race and constitutional law. One of the nation’s leading thinkers on how racism has evolved since the civil rights era, his current research emphasizes the connection between racial divisions in society and growing wealth inequality in the United States. In Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class (2014), Haney López detailed the fifty-year history of how politicians exploit racial pandering to fracture social solidarity and ultimately to convince many voters to support rule by the rich.

After publishing Dog Whistle Politics, Haney López co-chaired the AFL-CIO’s Advisory Council on Racial and Economic Justice and then co-founded the Race-Class Narrative Project, exploring how to defeat dog whistle politics. His most recent book, Merge Left: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America (2019), explains how the political manipulation of coded racism has evolved in the Trump era, while also offering an evidence-based approach to neutralizing political racism and building cross-racial solidarity.

Haney López holds an endowed chair as the Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Public Law at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also the author of White by Law as well as Racism on Trial, books that respectively critique the legal construction of white and Latinx racial identity. From legal scholarship to commentary, his writings have appeared across a range of sources, from the Yale Law Journal to the New York Times. He has been a visiting law professor at Yale, New York University, and Harvard, and holds a master’s degree in history from Washington University, a master’s in public policy from Princeton, and a law degree from Harvard. He lives in Richmond, California.

Haney López’s personal website can be viewed here.

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