I want to explain something to anyone who will listen.
Here is a comment I read today:
“You mention “racist.” I’m a Trump supporter so that automatically makes me racist? My best friend at my wedding is black, my wife is Mexican, my daughter in law is Muslim, one of my closest friends is black. They agree with Trump, so I guess they’re racist?”
Here’s my response:
Racism is NOT individual prejudice. Racism is the systematized and systemic denial of access to the same rights, benefits, educational, economic and legal opportunities–based on skin color–for our fellow humans that we live with in this country.
You do not have to have individual prejudices to be complicit in the systems of racism. (Although they often go hand in hand, despite your “black friend”.)
We have a candidate for the position of President of the United States. He has very few actual policies that he can explain clearly as to how he would “Make America Great Again”. But what policies he DOES have are all designed to make America not great—-but more racist. What Donald Trump is really saying is “Make America Racist Again.”
In case you are not clear on how Donald Trump plans to make America more racist by systemically denying people of other races access to the same rights, benefits, educational, economic and legal opportunities for people who are not “white like him”, let me quickly explain. 1) Building a wall to keep “bad hombres” out. 2) Tax cuts only for the wealthy (the majority of whom are white). 3) Supporting Stop and Frisk 4) Threatening to sue and take away the rights of “liberal media”. 5) Allowing groups like the Ku Klux Klan to gain credibility. 6) Directly attacking Muslims. 7) Calling for voter suppression and intimidation in areas where he is losing 8) Inciting violence and fear at his rallies, while speaking in coded language— such as talking about “The” blacks—which is designed to further marginalize a segment of our population.
If you vote for Trump you are voting for those systems.
If you vote for Trump, you are supporting systematized racism.
If you vote for Trump, yes—a person who works to support racist systems is racist.
Author’s note: This post is spreading virally across social media. I will be adding in some of the best comments I get in reply.
Here are some of the comments that have come in through Social Media:
Jez Davis: “I’m not racist because I have a black friend” is as inane as “I’m not a misogynist because I’m married”.
Michael Rowe: I frequently have discussions with people who vote for homophobic politicians (or, really, Republicans) but who have gay friends, or family members, or even children. They balk at being tarred as homophobes, but in the end, their vote is going to a party that has LGBT phobia written right into the platform. Not sure how to get around that.
Maybe an underlying racism or just too much Fox News.
Jez Davis: It certainly has been a disturbing experience, watching this election unfold – from outside the US in my case. There’s no doubt in my mind that Lisa‘s central argument in this post – that supporting racist policies makes you de facto a racist – is correct, but I imagine that’s very difficult for many to hear, and even harder for them to absorb.
I wonder though whether the central toxicity in this election is nothing more complex than stubbornness? The US and UK electorates are similar in many respects: we’re taught who to vote for before we’re old enough to think critically and the vast majority of us never change our minds. We actually live in fear of doing so. We decide (have decided for us?) that our ‘principles’ dictate we must always act in a certain way, and so few of us ever form the strength to become a ‘swing voter’.
As my wife points out, it’s a very masculine trait too, this intransigence. It’s what we think we should look for in our leaders (remember the calls of “Flip-flop!”?) It seems that any inkling of us changing our minds fills us with fear – ‘what will my friends think if they find out?’ To my mind this exposes the true uselessness, in fact danger, of these ‘principles’.
Imagine if you decided to buy a dog for a family pet. You go to the rescue centre and there are only two left, a doberman and a rottweiler. Due to their temperaments it transpires both are unsuitable and you don’t really want either but you have to choose – and then it’s revealed the rottweiler has rabies. Except you have a principle: your family never choose dobermans; never have, never will.
Alright, it’s a gross and silly hypothetical, but if we continue to run with it for just five seconds more, I’d argue it seems the one thing that’s about to destroy your entire life isn’t the rottweiler but your principles.
So I think that’s what’s causing all the pain over on your side. Not Trump so much, but that too many red voters can’t turn their back on red for a single, five-year period until a better option turns up that they can get behind without becoming monsters themselves. Because Trump is most definitely an abyss, and it seems too many have stared at him for too long because he’s *their* abyss, and now they’re floundering around trying desperately to excuse what they’ve become.
Christopher Ferris great post and comment thread. I’m not sure that I would go as far as you have taken the argument.
I’ve read too many posts about what motivates some to support this sociopathic narcissist demagog, regardless of what noxious waste spews forth from his lips. It isn’t as simple as one might like to hear.
Turns out, Rs and Ds are like tribes. It is very difficult for some to break with tradition and vote for the other team. In many, party affiliation defines who they are. They will twist logic and reason to rationalize their support for their team, regardless of who the individual is.
He who shall not be named is making things difficult for evangelicals because he has promised to name SCOTUS nominees who will over turn Roe v Wade. They will over look satan in the whitehouse for that wet dream. For others, it is the prospect of who she will name taking the court to the left for decades.
For most, like your friend, I suspect that the poison of 8 years of Hillary bashing on Faux News and the rightwing noise machine is enough to have them thinking it would destroy the country to have her in office, so will hold nose and vote for him.
I have some friends that sadly don’t see the scary parallels, saying that they are voting the ‘issues’. I don’t know what issues those might be, but this is the fantasy they have created to justify voting for someone clearly unfit for the job.
Some may be racist, or latent racist, but many are just caught in an internal struggle with all they have known crumbling around them.
I feel sorry for them and for us all for the damage he has done to our democracy.
Someone on CNN said that they hope that a R leader will step forward with some adult supervision on Nov 9th and give a compelling speech about the need to come together as a nation, and to work together to heal the wounds caused by you know who. Sadly, I don’t think that they have anyone like that. Maybe Romney. Maybe Bush. Ryan has proven he is craven. McConnell, too.
Lisa Hickey By the way — for anyone who wants to talk about racism on a deeper level and help to create actual change—The Good Men Project is starting it’s new “Social Interest Groups” — a completely different look at what a media company can do when it comes to solving some of the most difficult issues of our time. The Social Interest Group on #StopRacism will be lead by Jackie Summers and Lisa Duggan. It will be weekly calls, with discussions by email in between, and an action plan for how we can effect social change. More information is here:https://goodmenproject.com/featured…/stop-racism-sig-mkdn/