Friday Reads: Racism StillPosted: August 10, 2018
Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!
I have been fully overwhelmed and outraged by how the 2018 campaign season has devolved to overt, ugly, full frontal racism. No more subtle dog whistles and murmured references to culture these days; just naked, hateful racism on fully display. Can we stop talking about economic anxiety or white anxiety or fragility or some fancy schmanzy word that tries to cover the truth that our country has an issue with pervasive, systemic racism? It is time for the media and for all white Americans who see this for what it is to call it out for what it is.
It’s been one year since Charlottesville and four years since Ferguson. The Struggle continues.
Adam Sewer–writing for The Atlantic–believes that ‘The White Nationalists Are Winning.’
A year after white nationalists in Charlottesville chanted, “You will not replace us!” their message has been taken up and amplified by Fox News personalities. Tucker Carlson tells his audience that “Latin American countries are changing election outcomes here by forcing demographic change on this “country.” Laura Ingraham says that “the America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore” because of “massive demographic changes” as a result of “both illegal and sometimes legal immigration that progressives love.” They echo the white-nationalist claim that America is at risk because the nation is growing more diverse, an argument that treats the mere presence of nonwhite people, citizen or noncitizen, as an existential threat to the country. White nationalists like Cantwell are cheered to hear their beliefs championed on Fox. Cantwell wrote last year that Carlson “is basically telling white America to prepare for war as directly as he can get away with while remaining on Fox News.”
American history is replete with tragedies that are epic in scale, but few are comparable to what has happened to the party of Lincoln, who struck perhaps the most decisive victory against the principle that America is a white man’s country with the proposal and ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment. There is no reason that this new generation of immigrants cannot become loyal Republican voters, much as a previous generation of despised foreign newcomers did. The obstacle is the conservative movement’s growing embrace of a definition of American citizenship that is inherently racial. Where prior conservative champions like George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan might have seen a new generation of Republicans, today many conservatives see only an invasion.
While few sitting Republican legislators echo these sentiments publicly, Republican audiences are now being fed white-nationalist philosophy through mainstream conservative figures with national followings. Unless something changes, conservative constituencies will eventually begin to demand that their representatives adopt those views as well.
White nationalists win by activating white panic, by frightening a sufficient number of white people into believing that their safety and livelihoods can only be protected by defining American citizenship in racial terms, and by convincing them that American politics is a zero-sum game in which white people only win when people of color lose. While this dynamic has always been present in American politics, it has been decades since the White House has been occupied by a president who so visibly delights in exploiting it, aided by a right-wing media infrastructure that has come to see it as a ratings strategy. It is not just the white nationalists who win when racialized fears surrounding crime, immigration, and terrorism shape the political behavior of white voters. Donald Trump also wins. And both the Trump White House and the men who rallied in Charlottesville for the cause of white power know it.
It wasn’t so much a dog whistle as it was an airhorn. Or perhaps a primal scream. But whatever it was, Laura Ingraham’s forceful denunciation of “massive demographic changes” served as another raw example of a Fox News host echoing white nationalist language.
Perhaps it was a glimpse into President Donald Trump’s well of support, too.
The Fox News audience is almost 100% white, according to Nielsen. And on the channel’s highest-rated shows, the politics of white anxiety play out practically every day, as hosts and guests warn about the impacts of immigration and minimize or mock the perspectives of people of color. The talk show segments are clearly intended to appeal to people who perceive they are losing their grip on power.
In 2018, Tucker Carlson, at 8 p.m., and Ingraham, at 10 p.m., spend the most time on this subject. (The host in between, Sean Hannity, concentrates more on defending Trump.)
“The America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore,” Ingraham said Wednesday night. “Massive demographic changes have been foisted on the American people, and they are changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don’t like.”
Ingraham said “this is related to both illegal and legal immigration.”
The commentary was amplified on social media by the liberal, anti-Fox watchdog group Media Matters. Many people who viewed it on social media were shocked, as her rhetoric went beyond what other conservative commentators have said in the past.
Nearly 24 hours later, Ingraham’s name was still a top trending topic on Twitter. Media Matters made a video asserting that Ingraham’s “anti-immigrant rant” was “ripped from white supremacists.” Some Democratic lawmakers also spoke out. Senator Tammy Duckworth tweeted that the “racist” comments “shouldn’t have been aired by @FoxNews.”
Fox News declined to comment.
Of course they did. NFL Players resumed their #BlackLivesMatter protests and KKKremlin Caligula demanded they be suspended without pay on twitter. Of course he did.
Several NFL players knelt, raised fists or simply refused to take the field during the playing of the national anthem as a controversial protest against police brutality dragged into the 2018 preseason.
As The Associated Press reports, in Philadelphia, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, who suspended his protest last December, and cornerback De’Vante Bausby, raised their fists while defensive end Chris Long stood with his arm around Jenkins’ shoulder.
Defensive end Michael Bennett walked out of the tunnel during the anthem and walked toward the bench while it played.
Sports Illustrated reports that the Jaguars’ Jalen Ramsey, Telvin Smith, Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon did not join their teammates skipping the pregame performance of the anthem.
In Seattle, three Seahawks also declined to take the field.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins’ Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson knelt, while defensive end Robert Quinn raised his fist.
President Trump, who has been vocal in his opposition to using the anthem as a stage for protest, responded on Friday morning with a pair of tweets blasting Jenkins, Stills and others who didn’t stand at attention.
Donald Trump is a “racist” who has used the “N-word” repeatedly, Omarosa Manigault Newman, once the most prominent African American in the White House, claims in a searing memoir.
The future US president was caught on mic uttering the taboo racial slur “multiple times” during the making of his reality TV show The Apprentice and there is a tape to prove it, according to Manigault Newman, citing three unnamed sources.
Trump has been haunted from around the time of his election in 2016 by allegations that outtakes from the reality TV show exist in which he is heard saying the N-word and using other offensive language.
In her book, Unhinged, a copy of which was obtained by the Guardian ahead of its publication next week, the former Apprentice participantinsists that the reports are true, although she does not say she heard him use the word herself.
She also claims that she personally witnessed Trump use racial epithets about the White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s husband George Conway, who is half Filipino. “Would you look at this George Conway article?” she quotes the president as saying. “F**ing FLIP! Disloyal! Fucking Goo-goo.”
Both flip and goo-goo are terms of racial abuse for Filipinos.
Critics have previously questioned Manigault Newman’s credibility and are likely to accuse her of seeking revenge against the administration after her abrupt dismissal last December.
At the time, she writes, she felt a “growing realization that Donald Trump was indeed a racist, a bigot and a misogynist. My certainty about the N-word tape and his frequent uses of that word were the top of a high mountain of truly appalling things I’d experienced with him, during the last two years in particular.”
I believe these accounts even though the source is spurious.
Jonathan Capehart writes ‘Yes, Donald Trump, you are a ‘racist’’
Lemon interviewed Trump on May 1, 2011, and challenged Trump on his views on race and the promotion of the racist birther against then-President Barack Obama. The on-air conversation was fine. Lemon recalled after that interview, an irked Trump “vowed he’d never come back and do an interview with me because I was racist.”
When I read the item about all this in The Post’s Reliable Source on Thursday, I had a sense of deja vu. Trump announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015. The same day he said Mexico was sending “rapists” over the U.S. southern border. By July 6, I’d seen and heard enough and wrote a post decrying Trump’s retweet (and then deletion) of an offensive dig directed at former Florida governor Jeb Bush:
That he retweeted such an offensive comment speaks ill of his judgment. That he would get so personal with a rival speaks ill of his temperament. That he felt comfortable endorsing such a hateful remark speaks ill of the GOP, which has turned a blind eye to this low-boil hate for so long that it has lost all ability to squelch it.
Well, that didn’t go over well with the Queens-born builder. As was his wont, Trump had my piece printed out, then he scribbled out a quick missive atop it and had a PDF sent to me.
Jonathan – You are the racist, not I. Get rid of your “hate.” Best wishes …
Trump’s response was laughable then. Three years later — more than 18 months into his presidency — such a remark remains stunning. There have been so many instances of Trump’s racism that I don’t have time to look for them all. But his wretched response to the white-nationalist mayhem unleashed on Charlottesville a year ago this Sunday remains the most egregious.
This seems to be a pattern now. No, you’re the puppet! No, you’re the racist! I know you are but what am I? I have yet to figure out why I get called out for being racist against white people by standing up for the Black Lives Matter movement and supporting black women for office. Is that even a thing?
This CNN interview with Spike Lee over his new movie discusses how the Oval Office is giving racists “a bullhorn.”
Spike Lee believes that racists in America have been given the “green light” from the White House.
“Since [President Trump] has gotten into the White House it is not even a dog whistle, it’s a bullhorn,” Lee said. “We’ve seen a rise to the right. It’s not just America, it’s worldwide.”
The two-time Academy Award nominee spoke to CNN’s Anderson Cooper Thursday about his new film, “BlacKkKlansman,” which tells the true story of Ron Stallworth, the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs police force in the 1970s. It chronicles how Stallworth, played by John David Washington, manages to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan.
“BlacKkKlansman,” is set to release Friday, one day before the one-year anniversary of a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left counter-protester Heather Heyer dead.
Lee told Cooper that the release date for his latest film was intentional.
“The President of the United States had a chance to denounce hate,” the director said. “The whole world saw what happened and he didn’t do it.”
Lee is no stranger to films about race in America, gaining notary with films like “Do The Right Thing” and “4 Little Girls.”
Cooper went on to ask the director if he would sit down with President Trump to which Lee curtly answered “No.”
Lee added that he refuses to call Trump by his name, instead referring to him as “Agent Orange.”
Donald Trump loves “his” African-Americans.
As black conservatives their primary purpose is to serve as professional “best black friends” for white racists. This is very lucrative work. Being a black conservative is a right-wing American version of the soft bigotry of low expectations.
With Donald Trump they are very busy in their role as human deflector shields: Trump claims to be “the least racist person” but also believes that neo Nazis and white supremacists can be “very fine people,” puts nonwhite immigrants — including babies — in concentration camps, and with other Republicans is doing everything possible to take away voting and other civil rights from black and brown Americans. Quite logically, white supremacists such as Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke claim Donald Trump as a hero.
But woe be unto those black people who do not bow before Donald Trump in deference and obedience. For Trump, black people who are deemed to be “uppity” and “disrespectful” are “low I.Q.” “sons of bitches” who are traitors that should be exiled from America perhaps back to “shithole” countries in Africa. And Trump possesses special rage towards black women who dare to defy him such as Representative Maxine Waters and sports journalist Jemele Hill.
Racism and sexism are intoxicants for Donald Trump; he cannot resist them. For example, Michael Harriot, who is a contributing writer at The Root, recently conducted an analysis of Trump’s tweets which showed that 93.4 percent of his comments on Twitter about African-Americans are negative.
But let’s jump to the voice of Baldwin:
It is perfectly timed that last week was James Baldwin’s birthday and his words are so fitting for how they describe the insecurity, and yes jealousy, that afflicts Donald Trump and so many of his white racially resentful, if not outright, racist supporters.
In the “Fire Next Time”, Baldwin observed:
The white man’s unadmitted—and apparently, to him, unspeakable—private fears and longings are projected onto the Negro. The only way he can be released from the Negro’s tyrannical power over him is to consent, in effect, to become black himself, to become part of that suffering and dancing country that he now watches wistfully from the heights of his lonely power.
These fears and longings also drive Donald Trump’s deep insecurities and his fixation on Barack Obama, the latter being a man whose shadow of excellence and achievement Trump will never be able to escape or equal. This obsession is further revealed by Donald Trump’s behavior on Twitter, where he has made at least three times as many comments about Barack Obama than his own family.
I fret over all of this like I do many things these days and feel powerless to do much other than speak up and write and share on social media. I do know that none of this will be put right until our Congress gets more black voices. My Congressman is head of the black caucus. My Senators are a huge part of the problem. Just work wherever you are to get Congress right in 2018.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?