Based on Chapters 5-9 of Ian Haney López's Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class: According to the author, what led to and fueled...

Based on Chapters 5-9 of Ian Haney López's Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class:

According to the author, what led to and fueled the creation of the Tea Party? What are the "four hatreds," according to Haney Lopez, that motivated the Tea Party?

Expert Answers
jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

According to the author, the Tea Party was not motivated by outright racism but by the coded racial hatreds contained in dog whistle politics. While members of the Tea Party denied being motivated by racism, they were, the author points out, "united in their hostility towards Obama" (page 150) because they did not feel that Obama could possibly represent them. This rejection of the idea that Obama could be President motivated their continuing the falsehood that Obama was not born in the U.S.--the so-called "birther" movement.

The Tea Party was motived, the author suggests, by the following "four hatreds (page 152):"

  • Welfare: The Tea Partiers see welfare as taking money away from hardworking white people and giving it to the undeserving poor (who are, in their minds, nonwhite).
  • Immigration by undocumented people: The Tea Party sees immigrants, particularly brown immigrants, as taking money away from white taxpayers and causing crime.
  • Arab Muslims: Tea Partiers regard Arab Muslims as the enemy within the nation.
  • Obama himself: The Tea Party regards Obama as the incarnation of the hatreds and fears they feel about welfare, undocumented immigrants, and Arab Muslims and therefore as the devil incarnate.

The author states that dog whistle politics explains the contradictions of the Tea Party philosophy. For example, they hate entitlement programs such as welfare, which they link to nonwhites, but they support government entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security, which they feel benefit white people.