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Discussing Systemic and Institutional White Supremacy

June 29, 2020

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Is our President a White Nationalist / Supremacist?

Well, yes he is. It really is that simple. Now of course, many of his supporters on the Right and some of his detractors on the Left would posit that White Nationalist or White Supremacist is an overreaching statement. An example of this is when ESPN Commentator Jemele Hill called President Trump a White Supremacist, people on the right and the left had suggested or stated she went too far.

 

I would agree that her employer, ESPN, was within its rights to have a standard that their on-air personalities be careful with their social media comments; however, that does not negate that her statement was rooted in observable facts. In her tweets, Hill wrote that:

 

“Trump is the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime.” She said his “rise is a direct result of white supremacy. Period,” and that he is “unqualified and unfit to be president. He is not a leader. And if he were not white, he never would have been elected.”[1]

 

Regardless of whatever other agitating factors led to Trump being elected; the reality is that as uncomfortable as the truth is for many White Americans to apprehend, White Nationalism and White Supremacy are part of those factors. The knee jerk reaction of many Whites in America when White Nationalism and / or White Supremacy are called out, is to get defensive. It is not comfortable for some Whites to see this reality unless it is as extreme as a cross burning, and even then, it is sometimes hard for people to accept. For example, when the issue of Confederate flags and symbols came up, many Whites who would not consider themselves racist were very quick to come to the defense of these things.

 

Utilizing any type of historical revisionism or false narratives to forward the intellectually fraudulent and academically lazy notion that Confederate flags and symbolism were about “southern culture” and not about what they actually were and continue to be about: symbols of a Southern slave culture that was willing to go to war to maintain the “states right” to own slaves and further the institution of slavery. Further to the point, Confederate symbols were to signify the right to maintain a White Supremacist class structure with the essential presupposition of the inferiority of Black people. These should be things that all Americans can agree to as facts, but many Whites have the knee jerk reaction to deny this reality.

 

Understanding these social, political and cultural realities, there should be no surprise that the more subtle and devious White Nationalist and Supremacist signifying by Trump has been willfully ignored by his supporters. And in supporters this is not just the people who emphatically voted for Trump but also the people who felt regardless of his rough tone and demeanor, or his questionable racist statements about Latino immigrants, Muslims and Blacks; that they could look past all that to not vote for Hillary Clinton (the greater of evils in their minds.) These are White people who tout knowing, working with, hiring and even dating, marrying or parenting Black people. Yet, these are people who would tell even the Black people in their own lives that Trump’s questionable comments are nothing to be alarmed about, not racist, as they haven’t gone to the "burning cross on the lawn" level. And thus, the problem, Whites have the privilege of waiting to it gets to that level to call out White Nationalism or White Supremacy, Blacks do not. Blacks must be able to see these things before they get to that level, because it is part of survival in a society where you have been and continue to be the most visible minority. A minority that historically and foundationally has been systemically and institutionally marginalized. Now it appears, that we have a burning cross on the lawn level issue. I say "appears" because we will see people defending Trump's chosen phraseology and imagery in his repugnant statement.

 

President Trump on Thursday (Jan 11, 2018) balked at an immigration deal that would include protections for people from Haiti and some nations in Africa, demanding to know at a White House meeting why he should accept immigrants from “shithole countries” rather than from places like Norway, according to people with direct knowledge of the conversation.[2]

 

The imagery that Trump utilized, contrasting Haiti and African nations (Black) with Norway (White) will surely not be lost on the White Nationalist / Supremacist demographic he is signifying to. However; beyond that group are the Whites who will swear up and down they are not racist, yet who will look the other way regarding these statements. Not to mention the Republican party leadership who will play the game of making statements of outrage, while waiting for this to die in the news feeds while they proceed with their own agenda. Of course, some of the Blacks who have aligned themselves or gone along with the radical right wing; from the Tea Party movement to the Trump elections, are now “outraged.” Case in point, Utah Republican Rep. Mia Love.

 

 

“The President’ comments are unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation’s values. This behavior is unacceptable from the leader of our nation. My parents came from one of those countries but proudly took an oath of allegiance to the United States and took on the responsibilities of everything that being a citizen comes with,”[3]

 

Now, before we actually believe she has come to her senses, in the same breath she doubles down on basic radical right-wing rhetoric, qualifying that her family didn’t get any handouts from the federal government. Love stated:

 

“They never took a thing from our federal government. They worked hard, paid taxes, and rose from nothing to take care of and provide opportunities for their children. They taught their children to do the same. That’s the American Dream,”[4]

 

I guess anyone who needs Medicaid, Food Stamps, Student Financial Aid, SBA help, etc, just shouldn’t immigrate, but I digress. At the least, unlike Ben Carson and Allen West, Love is actually admitting that Trump’s statement went too far, but still has not really called him out on the White Nationalist / Supremacist issue. And I would wager she never will, biting the hand that feeds her (the radical right wing of the GOP who supports Trump) is not the best career move for her.

 

I would posit, that this will pass as well. Trump’s supporters will find a way to brush this off. The Left will bark about it and Trump will double down. Because at the end of the day, to the demographic who supports President Trump, these are things that they have been wanting to say anyway and now they feel emboldened to not have to acquiesce to the "politically correct" standards of common decency they feel have been forced upon them by the Left. Trump represents the uninhibited White male who doesn’t have to care about respecting anyone that doesn’t look like them or share their worldview. And the hits keep on coming.

 

 

 

[1] David Nakamura, “White House: ESPN’s Jemele Hill should be fired for calling Trump a ‘white supremacist’” The Washington Post, September 13, 2017 (accessed January 12, 2018), https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/09/13/white-house-espns-jemele-hill-should-be-fired-for-calling-trump-a-white-supremacist/?utm_term=.d14729c2a768

 

[2] Julie Hirschfeld, Davis, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Thomas Kaplan, “Trump Alarms Lawmakers With Disparaging Words for Haiti and Africa’” The New York Times, January 11, 2018 (accessed January 12, 2018), https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/11/us/politics/trump-shithole-countries.html

 

[3] Abigail Abrams, “'The President Must Apologize': Haitian-American GOP Rep. Mia Love Slams Trump's 'Shithole Countries' Comment” Time, January 11, 2018 (accessed January 12, 2018), https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/11/us/politics/trump-shithole-countries.html

 

[4] Ibid

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