Trump’s Boldness Is More Shocking Than His Racist Views
Yesterday, Donald Trump once again played to his base and his basic instincts and basically said that in his version of “Immigration Reform” we don’t need people from “Shit-hole” countries like Haiti and Africa (Africa is not a country) and that we should have more people from places like Norway. After all the horrible, terrible, stupid and ridiculous things that Trump has done since coming into office, these comments still find a way to shock.
The difference now is that, these comments are not shocking because they are racist, uninformed and cruel, they are shocking because he would say these comments in a room full of lawmakers, some who are democrats knowing they will get out. Various news outlets are reporting that Trump and the administration think this is some red meat for his base who started to turn on him a little bit in the last couple days based on his perceived softening immigration policy specifically in reference to the Dreamers. I am fully aware of the society that we live in and the amount of racism that flows through the veins of America. However, I can’t pretend that its not shocking that the President of the United states would be so brazen with his racism as to use it as a political tool to try and “earn” more votes.
The Republican party has been the party that has embraced racist dog whistles and policies for the last 50 years, but it has all been coded and presented in the framework of religion, “American Values”, “Traditional Values”, or presented in away that effects poor whites as collateral damage to make sure “the other” stays in there place. But, Trump brand of racism is particularity dangerous because he completely ignores those tactics and gives it straight to you. From the first day of his campaign where he called Mexicans “Rapist & Drug Dealers” to questioning the ability of a judge to do his job strictly because he is of Mexican heritage, to assuming April Ryan, one of the few black female white house correspondents could setup a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus because they must be her friend because all black people know each other to maybe his most explicit comments when he said they were some very fine Nazi’s. This most recent indecent is not knew for Trump but the frequency of these comments and guile to say it with such conviction and no shame makes it dangerous for marginalized groups in the US.
There is a silver lining at least I hope there is. The one thing that has always got the white moderate to make a change is guilt. White guilt is essentially what pushed the Civil Rights Movement over the edge and is as strong a force as anything to making positive change in our country. We are starting to see polls and even election results that show upper middle class, educated whites are starting to move away from Trump. Never forget, Trump one every single demographic of White People in 2016, so they aren’t off the hook, but their guilt for electing someone that they cant support publicly or is causing people to question their integrity along with seeing black and brown pain on TV is starting to sway some voters.
Democrats are not a beacon of equality, however when you compare the policies and rhetoric of Republicans to Democrats its no contest. I know some people think they are the same and all of supports white supremacy and to an extant that’s true, however to say they’re the same is disingenuous at best and ignorant at worse. I am not completely sold that this wave that everyone is expecting in 2018 is coming based on what I saw in 2016 however, I have seen evidence that people are questioning their voting decisions in 2016 and are starting to realize the lesser of to evils option can make a difference how your experience.
The Media Has to Take Some Responsibility For Trump
In order for anything to change, the media is going to have to change how they cover Trump and how they cover “news” in general. There is this need to play “both sides” on every issue and every issue does not have both sides. This is not just limited to cable news, however they may be the biggest culprits when it comes to this, but newspapers and prominent blogs are also at fault. If you want to debate the merits of a tax plan, or which way we should go in healthcare, or when to take military action, there are multiple sides those arguments. But, when the question is cut and dry and around the merits of white supremacy and racism, or xenophobic polices and scapegoating there are not two sides to those issues. By constantly doing expose’s on Trump supporters while ignoring marginalized folks around the country or bringing on bigoted Trump supporters to defend his bigotry and idiocy when its clear, cut and dry is harmful to real people because it muddy’s the water for people who are skeptical.
By giving a platform to a message that you know to be wrong and harmful is to give credence to that message thus inspiring people who believe those things to come out the shadows and be more open with those views. Racist people here to the dog whistles and that’s bad enough, but exploiting fear of marginalized folks by presenting the counter argument as some form of equal makes the media no different than Trump’s ridiculous rant about there were bad people on both sides of Charlottesvile. From some outlets specifically MSNBC and Joy Reid they have Trump supporters and bigots on to point out the fallacy and ignorance of their views and present them to the world for ridicule and laughter and if that makes one person change their views or decide not to act on racist thoughts than its worth it.
At the end of the day its important to remember that Trump and his brand of racism is a direct result of the last 50 years of republican policy and more specifically the last 8 years of anti-Obama sentiment in the country. He plays to people who were mad the black guy won and are more upset that the country is becoming blacker and browner everyday. And while Trump is a result of those things he is also infinitely worse because of his openness about his bigotry along with his desire to be talked about and like by his base and his extreme lack of knowledge to basic civics and public policy. We must hold people accountable and remember our current political system is not ideal and has flaws but its the system we have so until we change it we as POC or marginalized groups in society need to make it work the best way we can and that is staying engaged in the process.