I am flabbergasted, and I don’t flabbergast easily.
It’s probably because I am a white liberal, but I am amazed at how many of my fellow white liberals are screaming that they are now worried that the election of Donald Trump “will embolden” white nationalists and other white racists to do unspeakable things to people of color. Someone told me that the other day, and I have since read roughly the same sentiment in several professional left outlets, as well as all over my social media feeds.
Are you kidding me? What country have you been living in?
The election of the real instigator of white racism and nationalism was elected in 2008. Did you not witness the rise of the Tea Party and its overt racism? For eight years, the entire GOP has targeted President Obama and the rank-and-file Republican voters have been shouting about “taking our country back” for eight solid years. Who do you imagine they wanted to take the country back from?
For eight solid years, there have been regular protests against Obama’s mere presence in the White House, and white teabaggers have sported signs like this one in a city with a population that is roughly 60 percent Black:
Call me crazy, but that seems pretty “emboldened” already. And that sign was at a Tea Party protest in early 2009, while Obama was fixing the Republicans’ economic mess and trying to give us health insurance. Do you think a white president would ever have to endure a congresscritter yelling at him at the State of the Union? For that matter, isn’t declaring racism dead because we elected a Black president a bit of a “bold” move?
This isn’t new shit, it’s been going on for years. I don’t know why this surprises anyone who is seemingly paying attention. The Republican Party has been actively recruiting racists since Richard Nixon devised his “Southern Strategy before 1968, when the GOP decided that it would rather win than stand for something. Many of the oldest racists are dying off, but when a radical group faces what they perceive as a threat, they don’t respond rationally, they yell louder. That’s what you’re seeing now; you’re seeing a dying breed yelling louder so they can be heard.
What do you white liberals think the “Black Lives Matter” movement is about, anyway? Police departments all over the country are populated with racists who seem to think that stopping black people for no reason is quite alright and that killing unarmed black men with impunity is somehow their right because they’re scared. Hell, folks, damn near the entire white population of the United States becomes apoplectic when a group of more than two Black people walks in our direction. Hell, folks; white rednecks have been walking through Target with AR-15’s strapped to themselves and daring anyone to stop them; that’s not already “emboldened”? Republicans have actually been calling for teachers in schools to be armed to the teeth because they don’t want to prevent white people from getting as many guns as they can afford, to fend off the hordes of “others” who are apparently planning to attack them at some point. That’s not “emboldened”?
Yes, in the immediate aftermath of the election, there has been a spate of reported hate crimes. According to some breathless reports, it’s worse than it was right after 9/11. That’s bad, to be sure, and law enforcement needs to do its job and crack down on that shit. But if you think this just started because we allowed Donald Trump to be elected president, you need to wake up to what People of Color have known for years. This is a white country and they have been dealing with bold white people all their lives. If you think this is changing, that’s your white privilege speaking.
Donald Trump adopted white nationalist and racist positions because he knew that would help him win. He didn’t invent this shit, he just used what had been there for years.