How to Be Less of a Jerk – Part 2 – Admit Racism
23 November 2016
[Content warning: Racism]
Just because someone doesn’t want to be racist doesn’t mean they aren’t. Contributing to white supremacy is racism. Supporting racists is racism. Excusing racism is racism. Not holding racists accountable is racism.
Racism is a system of oppression that permeates all levels of society and shows itself in invisible and in-your-face ways. But those things, those subtle acts or non-acts, are the stepping stones violence walks on. It isn’t always deliberate; it’s subtle, and that stealthy prejudice is where the blatant hate gets its strength. The seeds of covert racist denial are the fertilizer for outright discrimination, brutality, and hatred.
Sometimes racists are dressed in the white garb of the KKK, but they can also be dressed like your favorite aunt who volunteers at the soup kitchen. Racism is subconscious and deliberate. Racism does not exist only in Nazi rallies, hate crimes or racial slurs. It exists in thinking that maybe black people need to stop pulling the race card. Racism says that people protesting police brutality are “just complaining” and if they followed the law they wouldn’t get shot. Racism is trying to tell a person of color what racism is. Racism isn’t based on personal emotions(although they are tied up in it). Racism is an entire system and spectrum of inequality that disproportionately affects the lives of people of color. Racism is claiming to not see color. Racism is subtle and stark. Covert and overt. Quiet and loud.
A pervasive argument breaking out post-Election Day 2016 is that voting for Donald Trump does not mean someone supports racism. But elections are a place where we can see this spectrum of racism play out in real time.
Voting Can Be Racist.
President-Elect Trump’s campaign was powered by racist and xenophobic rhetoric. Hate groups such as the Klu Klux Klan have vocally endorsed Trump since the early days of his campaign. Trump, for his part, did little to distance himself from these blatantly racist terror groups. In January 2016, Trump retweeted a white supremacist and Nazi sympathizer with the username @WhiteGenocideTM. In February 2016, he retweeted another white supremacist. Days later, he retweeted yet another white supremacist.
When confronted about this and about the racist endorsements he had garnered, Trump did not outright distance himself from them. Additionally, official Trump campaigns and campaign staff across at least five states follow social media influencers that promote the fallacy of #WhiteGenocide.
Let’s go back in time and see other ways Trump has exposed himself as racist. For decades, Trump has spouted ignorant ideas about race in the United States. In 1973, the Department of Justice sued Trump for violating the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against black tenants.
In 1989, five black teenagers were falsely convicted of a brutal rape of a white woman. In response, Trump ran full-page ads in newspapers across New York City with the all-caps headline “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY.” In 2002, due to a confession and DNA evidence that matched another individual, the falsely convicted men were released and given large settlements. Trump’s opinion on the “Central Park Five” remained hateful when he continued to slander the innocent men by saying, “These young men do not exactly have the past of angels.” When asked again about his opinion on this in 2013, Trump tweeted, “Tell me, what were they doing in the Park, playing checkers?”
Trump’s racism is very much tied up in white supremacy. In 1993, Trump was at a Congressional committee hearing on the topic of gambling casinos ran by American Indian tribes, where he isrecorded making overtly racist remarks implying there was organized crime in those casinos. He said he didn’t believe “an Indian chief is going to tell Joey Killer to get off his reservation” and, “if you look at some of the reservations you approved … I’ll tell you right now, they don’t look like Indians to me … Now, maybe we say politically correct or not politically correct, they don’t look like Indians to me, and they don’t look like Indians to Indians.”
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