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Web Extra: Dr. Nikitah Imani discusses racist imagery in aftermath of Chris Baker firing; calls Tweet a 'cognitive dog whistle'

A deeper conversation with the UNO Black Studies professor
Posted at 5:43 PM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 18:47:03-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — On Wednesday, 3 News Now reporter Alyssa Curtis interviewed University of Nebraska Omaha Black Studies Professor Nikitah Imani, Ph.D. about racist imagery and the impact it has on our society.

Imani was responding to a controversy that erupted when an Omaha talk radio personality, Chris Baker, published an offensive tweet immediately after the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial was reached.

Baker tweeted "Guilty!" along with an image of indigenous, people of color dancing. The tweet has since been deleted, but sparked national outrage.

He was fired by iHeart Media, which owns KFAB where Baker was employed.

RELATED: Radio host Chris Baker says he accidentally posted the wrong photo in racist tweet

"What’s really being pushed there is not simply the statement that people of African descent are celebrating the verdict, but also to associate people of African descent with a lower level of civilization. That is to say, if we were going to talk about the disturbances that happened in January, it would be unlikely that someone would find an indigenous group in the middle of the jungle in Europe, and put them there, and say this. And I think people would immediately recognize that if someone did do that, that would be offensive," said Imani.

"There’s no question that the intention was merely not to simply state the facts of finding guilt," said Imani about the Tweet, calling it a cognitive dog whistle.

"The sad part is that dog whistles like this have an audience," Imani added.

Watch the entire interview above.

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