Thursday, November 3, 2016

Trump is White America's Test...And Maybe It's Shame (A Black Man's Opinion)

Watching the campaign for president it is very clear to anyone with even a minuscule conscience that the GOP candidate, Donald Trump, appeals to a very narrow (and I'd like to think detested) segment of the country.  He appeals to that segment that embraces the kind of racism, sexism, nativism, and xenophobia that was once the purview of the most extreme right-wing. The kind of racism that gave birth to people like Timothy McVeigh, Dylan Roof, and even ISIS.  As president, Donald Trump may well be the one who sets back not only the cause of progressives, but the cause of freedom, liberty, and equality over 50 years.  If elected he'll have a Republican House and Senate, as well as a pick of perhaps two Supreme Court justices.  But more importantly, a Trump presidency would be a stinging indictment of White America, who will no longer be able to excuse isolated cases of racism with "we're not all like that".  Because electing Trump will prove that they are, indeed, all like that.

As a Black man I choose to believe (perhaps naively) that the vast majority of White people are good and decent people, who harbor no ill will or resentment towards anyone because of their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.  The thing if it is, though, that belief would seem to clash with reality when you look a the predominately White audience at many of Donald Trumps campaign rallies. Furthermore, when you listen to his rhetoric against Muslims, his comments about Women, his insulting commentary towards the Black community, and the fact that he can't seem to say "L-G-B-T-Q" without looking like he's holding back a turd, and then see the outright idolatry it inspires in his supporters, one must wonder if White America has collectively lost it's mind.
According to just about every poll in circulation, broken down strictly by race White Americans are the ONE group that Donald Trump wins consistently.  He may poll up and down with other groups, but he does not have Hispanics, he does not have Asians, he doesn't have immigrants, and do I even need to mention Blacks where some polls have him at 0%.  No, the only group that has been totally in Trump's corner from the beginning are Whites, uneducated White males in particular. Based on polling and simple demographics, for Trump to win he would need more than just the majority of White votes. He would need all of them. If, God forbid, Trump is elected President of the United States less than one week from now, it will be because -- either through the action of voting for him, or their inaction in not voting at all (or for voting third party) -- White America put him there.

I realize this is a rather broad (and perhaps unfair) generalization, and a heavy load to place on a race.  But Whites are still the dominate race in this country.  For over 200 years they have been the ones who have determined the direction of this country.  And let's face it, White anger at having a Black president for the last 8 years is what created the Trump phenomenon.  Trump voters may represent a fraction of White America, but White America as a whole has to own them, just as Muslims have to own every terrorist that sets off a bomb, and Blacks have to own every gang-banger that shoots off a gun.

As a Black man in America this election will accomplish one of two things for me, and I suspect other minorities as well.  It will either reaffirm my faith that the vast majority of White Americans are good and decent folks who are accepting and tolerant of others, or it will confirm every horrible stereotype that Blacks and other minorities believe of them. In putting Donald Trump in the White House, White America will be, in effect, embracing the racist, sexist, xenophobic nativism  that he represents.  White America will be telling the rest of us that they value their continued dominance in American society over calm reasoned leadership.  They'll be telling the rest of us that we are merely obstacles for them to overcome, and that our presence in what they see as their country is not wanted.  A Trump victory will tell us in no uncertain terms that the hatred and racism that he cultivates is far greater than many of us realize, and that there are indeed more racist White people in America than there are the rest of us.

Donald Trump will be White America's shame.  Not only to the rest of us who live here, but to the rest of the world.  November 8th will be the moment for White America to prove once and for all that they're really "not all like that".  The rest of us will be watching.