VIEWPOINTS: Sustaining Trump’s Racism

By Wornie Reed

The mainstream media sustains Donald Trump’s racism. Trump commits racism again, and some people are shocked that he would go this low, again. Unbelievably — except for him — the President tweeted that four female Congresswomen of color should go back to the countries they came from; countries he said were the “worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world.”

Never mind that three of the four were born in the United States. That has never mattered to American racists, as few African Americans of age have not been told to go back to Africa, even if they could trace their ancestry in the country over 200 years, sometimes many generations longer than the white offenders.

Such lies, of course, do not matter to our Commander-in-Chief because he built his campaign and his eventual election on the racist myth of the Birther Movement — that Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

Back to the media. How have they sustained the racism of Donald Trump?  First, they mostly refused to consider Donald Trump a white nationalist (i.e., white supremacist) until Trump said he was.

Next, they mostly refuse to admit and report that Trump’s campaign and his governing are racist. And even now, many refuse to call Trump’s actions racist.

White Nationalism. When Trump proclaimed he was a nationalist; he did so as if it should not have been necessary. He acted as if it was a given — and it was.

Nationalism means being loyal to a nation, a group of people who share a racial origin, language, customs, geography, history, and government. While nationalism can take many forms, in the United States, nationalism has often centered around the issue of race.

Nationalism or loyalty to nation inherently includes a racial component whereas patriotism or loyalty to country does not.

Racist Campaign. Trump ran a white nationalist campaign, skewering everybody who was not European. This approach created the core of his support. However, the primary narrative explaining Trump’s election, especially by the media, was that his voters were concerned about jobs they had lost or were afraid of losing. At the time many of us were arguing that Trump’s support was about white supremacy and that his supporters were less concerned about losing jobs than about their loosening grip on the perceived control of America. A report based on surveys conducted before and after the 2016 election supports our contention.

According to this study, it was not economic anxiety that elected Trump. Those who reported being in fair or poor financial shape were almost twice as likely to support Clinton, compared to those who were in better financial condition. It was cultural anxiety more so than economic anxiety that drove white, working-class voters to Trump. White voters who say they often feel like a stranger in their own country and who believe the United States needs protecting against foreign influence were 3.5 times more likely to favor Trump than those who did not share those concerns.

Racist Acts. The media goes into linguistic contortions to keep from calling Trump’s racist acts what they are. In one typical example, an ABC-TV anchor said, “Democrats are calling the [Trump’s recent] remarks racist.” In other words, the anchor man did not say it, Democrats said it. In appropriate journalism, the media calls racism what it is — racism.

Yes, journalists should be unbiased; however, they should also be truthful when referring to the issue at hand, Trump’s racism. Slowly, a few columnists and editorial pages are beginning to do just that. If the media noted Trump’s racist acts more readily, maybe he would commit them less often.

One hopes that the actions of Democrats in the House of Representatives will cause more members of the media and others to more readily call racism by its name. Over objections of Republicans, they passed a resolution that condemned Trump’s “racist” statements.

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