The Stink of Racism

“I’m not a racist.” I keep hearing that.

I’m not a racist. I voted for Trump because of the Supreme Court, or because he is against abortions. Or because he’s an outsider, because he promised to drain the swamp, bring back our jobs, shake things up, make us great again. I voted for him because Hillary is corrupt, evil, not nice, married to Bill. Benghazi. Emails. Killary. But I’m not a racist.

I like the one that says “I voted for Trump, but I’m not racist. I have friends who are black, Muslim, Mexican, or gay.” Clearly you have a different definition of the word “friend” than I do. I do not want my friends (or their family members) to be threatened or discriminated against. I don’t want them to live in fear, or for them to have their children harassed at school, or to wake up and find that a swastika has been painted on their house.

But no matter what you tell yourself or how you try to justify it, if you voted for Trump, you are tainted with the stink of racism. Because if you know that a person is inciting racist behavior either by his words or his actions and you don’t shout him down, it’s on you. If a person proposes laws or government actions that discriminate on the basis of race or religion and you vote for him for any reason, it’s on you. If you know that a candidate has hired a self-avowed White Supremacist as his campaign manager and you vote for him, it’s on you.

If you are willing to benefit from any of the actions of a man who is happy to be lauded by the Klan, by anti-Semites, and by White Nationalists, you are as guilty of their behavior as the man himself.

As acts of racism and hate crimes happen every day all over this country because of the words and actions of our newly-elected President, they are happening in your name. You can tell yourself whatever you need to help you sleep at night. But don’t try to tell me you’re not a racist.

4 Comments

    1. How about them? They are simply wrong. After all, 12 million Americans believe that their country is run by alien lizard people. But that doesn’t make it true. And the fact that people voted for him doesn’t mean that they don’t think he’s a racist, it just means they don’t care. Which was kinda my point. There is a lot to cover in the link that you posted, but I will just address the 3rd point, that of support from white supremacists. The post asks whether Trump is getting a lot of his support from white supremacists and the Klan. If you mean by percentage, I don’t know at this moment. But if you mean simply “is he getting a lot of support from them” the answer is a resounding yes. And I will just point to two sources: http://www.npr.org/2016/11/20/502719871/energized-by-trumps-win-white-nationalists-gather-to-change-the-world
      and http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/11/richard-spencer-speech-npi/508379/?utm_source=polfb
      And that’s just from today.
      The fact that he hired Steve Bannon to run his campaign and now has selected him as his White House strategist is further proof that, while Trump himself may not personally subscribe to the notion that people of color are genetically inferior to the white race, he is more than willing to surround himself with people who do believe that. And further, the fact that he has made absolutely no attempt whatsoever to denounce any of the racist activity that has surged since his campaign and exploded since his election, yet can take the time to wage a twitter war against a TV sketch comedy show and a Broadway musical shows that he is perfectly comfortable with the idea of people in his country being hurt. Under his watch.
      Furthermore, the fact that he used language during his speeches and on his website that was conciliatory and even uplifting to minorities, well of course he did. But words can lie. Just because he said some nice things doesn’t mean that he didn’t use other language during the campaign, and make other promises that were equally hurtful. And yeah, he says that he respects women. “Nobody has more respect for women than I do.” But he still brags about grabbing them by the pussy.

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  1. “There is a lot to cover in the link that you posted, but I will just address the 3rd point …”

    As far as I can tell from your response, you actually have no clear rebuttal to the article other than “they’re wrong; I’m right.”

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  2. Oh, you expected me to respond to all the points made in an 8,000 word article which was clearly researched and written over the course of many months in the space of a response to a one-sentence comment on a blog post (three days before Thanksgiving)? I’m sorry, that’s not going to happen.
    However, I’ll try to do what I can given limitations of time, space and relevance.
    I. It is true that the left has used the “racist” label perhaps more liberally than it should (pun intended). In our political climate, both sides often resort to inflammatory labels and hyperbole. No, that doesn’t make it right, and we all ought to work to change it. The fact that Trump is no more racist than any other 70 year old white guy in no way absolves him of the charge. Just because something was socially normal or acceptable in the past doesn’t somehow make it right, and absolutely doesn’t mean that we have to accept it –or vote for it– now. Moreover, there IS some evidence that Trump IS more racist than other Republicans: (http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/sep/27/hillary-clinton/true-hillary-clinton-says-federal-government-sued-/ ) His comments regarding Mexican rapists is another example. Words like that don’t simply spring whole-cloth out of a man who isn’t thinking something along those lines already. You don’t need me to list all of the other examples.
    II. As to the point that sources repeatedly used the term “openly racist” and that was “crying wolf,” I think that the author (you?) is exactly correct. In fact, I think that he engaged more in dog-whistle racism than overt racism. And that is a tactic that Republicans have been using for decades, and one that set the stage for a Trump candidacy early on. However, I think that you entirely missed the boat on the Cinco de Mayo tweet, which more than anything revealed Trump’s deep-seated ethnocentricity and complete lack of cultural awareness.
    III. Your statistics regarding the degree of White-Supremacy in this country are, by your own admission, purely speculative. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (www.splcenter.org), there are currently 892 hate groups operating the US. While not all of them are White Supremacists (and in fact 180 of them are Black Separatists) the majority are. Though small in membership compared to the total US population, they are capable of, and in fact do, cause hurt and hardship to many people in this country. But you don’t have to be a White Supremacist, shave your head or shout “Sieg Heil” to be a racist.

    But all of this misses my point entirely. My point, which I may have made perhaps passionately but not well, was: if you ALLOW injustice to happen, you are responsible for it just as much as if you CAUSE injustice to happen. You are not absolved of the consequence, nor of the guilt of it, simply because you had other motivations for your action or lack of action.

    I want to thank you for your comment and for giving me the opportunity to think deeply about my beliefs regarding racism and morality. I will lay them out in a separate blog post at a later time. I greatly look forward to your comments at that time.

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