Note: this is an updated version of an earlier post, Racism Made Donald J. Trump The 45th US President
“We the people” are well aware that racism is the elephant in the room that too many people want to pretend it is not there. This is an insidious infection within the USA culture that we can no longer afford ignore. We have to end it.
Yesterday (1/11/18), the republican President Donald Trump held a meeting at his office with the Democratic Senator from Illinois, Dick Durbin, the Republican Senator from SC, Lindsey Draham and others like his Senior Adviser Stephen Miller in attendance to discuss the issue of immigration, where he openly used racist terminology to describe immigrants of color. Here is only part of what’s being reported as to what the president said, according to multiple news reports:
“Why are we having all these people from s***hole countries come here?” Mr Trump said after being presented with a proposal to restore protections for immigrants from the countries in question. “
On the morning of January 12th, Senator Dick Durbin verified on the record that the president did indeed behave as has been reported in the news reports. “I have seen the comments in the press, I have not read one of them that’s inaccurate. In the course of (Trump’s) comments, he said things that were hate-filled, vile and racist. l use those words advisingly, I understand how powerful they are. I cannot believe that in the history of the White House and that Oval Office any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday.” (See: Senator Dick Durbin Fires Back At Trump Denial – Videos – CBS News) He singled out Senator Graham for having displayed the courage to directly confront the President’s about his racist words.
As per the 1/12/18 Post and Courier Palmetto Politics report by Schuyler Kropf and Seanna Adcox, Sen. Tim Scott: (Sen. Lindsey) Graham says reports of Trump’s ‘shithole countries’ comment (are)’basically accurate.’
The fallout has been swift: (Source: 1/12/18 Independent report by Tom Embury-Dennis)
Donald Trump’s reported remark branding Haiti, El Salvador and unspecified African nations as “s***hole countries” has been branded racist by a UN human rights official.
“These are shocking and shameful comments from the President of the United States,” spokesperson Rupert Coleville said.”
“There is no other word you can use but ‘racist‘.”
“You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘s***holes.”
“The African Union (AU), a group representing all 55 countries on the continent, said it was “frankly alarmed” by the US President’s alleged comments.”
“Given the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, this statement flies in the face of all accepted behaviour and practice,” AU spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo said.”
“This is particularly surprising as the USA remains a global example of how migration gave birth to a nation built on strong values of diversity and opportunity.”
Here’ the president’s response:
Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said “take them out.” Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings – unfortunately, no trust!
Here is the rest of the story…
The author Ta-Nehisi Coates has written an insightful commentary on the subject of how racism set the stage for the current republican President Donald Trump dwelling in the White House. I have footnoted a link below to the entire narrative.
In the October 2017 Atlantic Magazine edition, Ta-Nehisi Coates penned the following article, “The First White President.” He argues that the foundation of Donald Trump’s presidency is the negation of Barack Obama’s legacy.
“IT IS INSUFFICIENT TO STATE the obvious of Donald Trump: that he is a white man who would not be president were it not for this fact. With one immediate exception, Trump’s predecessors made their way to high office through the passive power of whiteness—that bloody heirloom which cannot ensure mastery of all events but can conjure a tailwind for most of them. Land theft and human plunder cleared the grounds for Trump’s forefathers and barred others from it. Once upon the field, these men became soldiers, statesmen, and scholars; held court in Paris; presided at Princeton; advanced into the Wilderness and then into the White House. Their individual triumphs made this exclusive party seem above America’s founding sins, and it was forgotten that the former was in fact bound to the latter, that all their victories had transpired on cleared grounds. No such elegant detachment can be attributed to Donald Trump—a president who, more than any other, has made the awful inheritance explicit.”
“His political career began in advocacy of birtherism, that modern recasting of the old American precept that black people are not fit to be citizens of the country they built. But long before birtherism, Trump had made his worldview clear. He fought to keep blacks out of his buildings, according to the U.S. government; called for the death penalty for the eventually exonerated Central Park Five; and railed against “lazy” black employees. “Black guys counting my money! I hate it,” Trump was once quoted as saying. “The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.” After his cabal of conspiracy theorists forced Barack Obama to present his birth certificate, Trump demanded the president’s college grades (offering $5 million in exchange for them), insisting that Obama was not intelligent enough to have gone to an Ivy League school, and that his acclaimed memoir, Dreams From My Father, had been ghostwritten by a white man, Bill Ayers.”
“It is often said that Trump has no real ideology, which is not true—his ideology is white supremacy, in all its truculent and sanctimonious power. Trump inaugurated his campaign by casting himself as the defender of white maidenhood against Mexican “rapists,” only to be later alleged by multiple accusers, and by his own proud words, to be a sexual violator himself. White supremacy has always had a perverse sexual tint. Trump’s rise was shepherded by Steve Bannon, a man who mocks his white male critics as “cucks.” The word, derived from cuckold, is specifically meant to debase by fear and fantasy—the target is so weak that he would submit to the humiliation of having his white wife lie with black men. That the slur cuck casts white men as victims aligns with the dicta of whiteness, which seek to alchemize one’s profligate sins into virtue. So it was with Virginia slaveholders claiming that Britain sought to make slaves of them. So it was with marauding Klansmen organized against alleged rapes and other outrages. So it was with a candidate who called for a foreign power to hack his opponent’s email and who now, as president, is claiming to be the victim of “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history.”
“In Trump, white supremacists see one of their own. Only grudgingly did Trump denounce the Ku Klux Klan and David Duke, one of its former grand wizards—and after the clashes between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, Duke in turn praised Trump’s contentious claim that “both sides” were responsible for the violence.”
“To Trump, whiteness is neither notional nor symbolic but is the very core of his power. In this, Trump is not singular. But whereas his forebears carried whiteness like an ancestral talisman, Trump cracked the glowing amulet open, releasing its eldritch energies. The repercussions are striking: Trump is the first president to have served in no public capacity before ascending to his perch. But more telling, Trump is also the first president to have publicly affirmed that his daughter is a “piece of ass.” The mind seizes trying to imagine a black man extolling the virtues of sexual assault on tape (“When you’re a star, they let you do it”), fending off multiple accusations of such assaults, immersed in multiple lawsuits for allegedly fraudulent business dealings, exhorting his followers to violence, and then strolling into the White House. But that is the point of white supremacy—to ensure that that which all others achieve with maximal effort, white people (particularly white men) achieve with minimal qualification. Barack Obama delivered to black people the hoary message that if they work twice as hard as white people, anything is possible. But Trump’s counter is persuasive: Work half as hard as black people, and even more is possible.”
“For Trump, it almost seems that the fact of Obama, the fact of a black president, insulted him personally. The insult intensified when Obama and Seth Meyers publicly humiliated him at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2011. But the bloody heirloom ensures the last laugh. Replacing Obama isn’t enough—Trump has made the negation of Obama’s legacy the foundation of his own. And this too is whiteness. “Race is an idea, not a fact,” the historian Nell Irvin Painter has written, and essential to the construct of a “white race” is the idea of not being a nigger. Before Barack Obama, niggers could be manufactured out of Sister Souljahs, Willie Hortons, and Dusky Sallys. But Donald Trump arrived in the wake of something more potent—an entire nigger presidency with nigger health care, nigger climate accords, and nigger justice reform, all of which could be targeted for destruction or redemption, thus reifying the idea of being white. Trump truly is something new—the first president whose entire political existence hinges on the fact of a black president. And so it will not suffice to say that Trump is a white man like all the others who rose to become president. He must be called by his rightful honorific—America’s first white president.
THE SCOPE OF TRUMP’S commitment to whiteness is matched only by the depth of popular disbelief in the power of whiteness. We are now being told that support for Trump’s “Muslim ban,” his scapegoating of immigrants, his defenses of police brutality are somehow the natural outgrowth of the cultural and economic gap between Lena Dunham’s America and Jeff Foxworthy’s. The collective verdict holds that the Democratic Party lost its way when it abandoned everyday economic issues like job creation for the softer fare of social justice. The indictment continues: To their neoliberal economics, Democrats and liberals have married a condescending elitist affect that sneers at blue-collar culture and mocks the white man as history’s greatest monster and prime-time television’s biggest doofus. In this rendition, Donald Trump is not the product of white supremacy so much as the product of a backlash against contempt for white working-class people.
“We so obviously despise them, we so obviously condescend to them,” the conservative social scientist Charles Murray, who co-wrote The Bell Curve, recently told The New Yorker, speaking of the white working class. “The only slur you can use at a dinner party and get away with is to call somebody a redneck—that won’t give you any problems in Manhattan.”