Joy Reid Tells Buttigieg the Word 'Heartland' Sounds Like a Racist 'Dog Whistle'

February 2nd, 2020 2:40 PM

Nobody escapes the racial prism through which Joy Reid sees virtually everything. Not even a gay, liberal Democrat like Pete Buttigieg.

With Buttigieg on her show today, Reid displayed a tweet in which he had said America needs a president shaped by "heartland" values, not by the politics of Washington.

Reid told him that she had received a lot of "not-positive" texts about the tweet, and that it sounds to many people "like a dog whistle for white voters."



Being accused of making a racist appeal clearly boggled Buttigieg. Check out his reaction at 23 seconds into the clip: Buttigieg very markedly flinches in shock.

But rather than angrily rejecting Reid's accusation, Buttigieg pointed out in reply that the "heartland" city he led -- South Bend in northern Indiana -- is 45 percent non-white.

When pretty much all Reid has is a racialized hammer, everything looks like a racist nail. It's a little like MSNBC claiming the use of the word "Chicago" is a dog whistle for white voters. 

Here's the transcript.

AM Joy
10:08 am ET

JOY REID: So I want to read you a tweet from you. And I'll see if I can find it here. I may not be able to find it. They can just put it. Oh, here it is. You tweeted this: "In the face of unprecedented challges, we need a president whose vision was shaped by the American Heartland rather than the ineffective Washington politics we've come to know and expect."  

I got a lot of texts on that tweet. Not positive. From people saying, "heartland"—that sounds to a lot of people like a dog whistle to white voters. When you say "heartland," who do you mean?

PETE BUTTIGIEG: I'm talking about a diverse heartland, like where I grew up. I'm from a city, in the middle of the Midwest, that is about 45% non-white. That reflects America in so many ways. 

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