Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Donald Trump's Racist Revival

Donald Trump is rapidly rebranding the GOP, or at least solidifying what has been a GOP staple in motivating voters to vote against their own and often America's best interest.  Trump has taken outright blatant racism main stream as he has encouraged crowds to rough up non-white protesters and played the race card against Hispanics and now those of Middle Eastern origin.  The man is a loud mouthed demagogue, yet he seems to be exactly what a large core of the GOP base wants because he is playing to their ugliest prejudices.  Sadly, Trump is providing fodder for ISIS' propaganda efforts but seemingly doesn't care.  With Trump, self-aggrandizement is all that matters. a Piece in Salon looks at Trump's naked racism.  Here are highlights:

Over the weekend, a group of Donald Trump supporters punched and kicked a Black man who attended a Trump rally, and disrupted the event with cries of “Black Lives Matter.” When asked later about his fans’ deplorable and violent behavior, Trump remarked that “maybe [the man] should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.” There have been no cries of outrage about how this man’s right to free speech was violated through use of intimidation and violence.

Instead, Trump condones white violence against a non-violent protestor. And in doing so, he demonstrates not only the complete hypocrisy of the right wing on questions of race but also the extent to which a deep desire and will to do violence toward Black people exists just beneath the surface of most right-wing political discourse. Many White Americans carry seething racial resentment toward Americans of color, with special enmity reserved for Black folks and those of ostensible Middle Eastern descent whom they would hastily deem “terrorists.”

Trump continues to be a formidable candidate for the Republican nomination because he grants legitimacy to most basely racist notions of the GOP base.  Many of us in the African American striver class had been convinced that while our society was still rife with covert racism and dogwhistle politics, that white Americans had evolved past the moment where they would dare express such explicit racial animus with no expectation of serious repercussion.

White rage freely expressed in a system of white dominance is a wholly dangerous thing, largely because it proceeds unchecked by riding the coattails of calls for honest, pull-no-punches political discourse.  The White Americans who love Donald Trump finally feel like they can breathe free oxygen again, like there might be a return to some semblance of an America they know. 

That Donald Trump continues to hold his ground in the presidential race suggests that we are in an era in which too many white folks can’t even be shamed into anti-racist pretension. In our endless discussions about post-racial discourse over the last 7 years, those of us who study race had been frustrated that this era seemed to be marked by an inability to nail down racism because the language of racism had become nebulous and indeterminate even though the policies continued to be as concrete and immovable as ever.

This moment, however (hopefully) fleeting, is both new and old. We see explicit racist discourse re-emerging boldly and shamelessly in public life. The rub is that the American public on the whole has been no more responsive to Trumpian racism than it has been to post-racial, covert, racism. And that is downright shameful.

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