Trump Supporters Aren’t All Racists And The Sky Isn’t Blue
Admittedly, the headline above is an incendiary one. Absolutes on objective statements like this are usually foolish and often times incorrect. But we’re going to make an exception in this case to speak a much larger truth.
There is no denying that Donald Trump has ushered in an era of hate, bigotry and intolerance that has shocked even the most skeptical of Americans. While Black and brown America knew that more subtle, unspoken racism was alive and well in its cities, towns, schools and workplaces, its been the outward, loud and proud statements of white supremacy that have really shook us to our cores. The hate is quickly approaching a level that we thought would only live in the memories of our grandparents and great grandparents.
However, anyone who thought that the Donald Trump era would bring about anything other than divisiveness was a fool, as that man wore his racism, classism and sexism like a badge of honor. However, discussions about just how far Trump’s racism goes have already trodden ground. Donald Trump is a racist. That is an absolute. Donald Trump is a bigot. That goes without saying. Donald Trump is a misogynist. Yup, sounds about right. But the more intriguing discussion is whether or not the millions of misguided people who voted for him are, regardless of their ethnic background, racists as well.
By now we have all heard the song and dance about how many people voted for Donald Trump because they were hopeful a business man could turn the economy around and bring jobs back to rural and urban areas alike. And while I’m not disputing that desperation and, quite honestly, a dislike of Hillary Clinton, prompted a lot of people to make a really, really dumb decision on November 8, 2016, that still doesn’t absolve these people from having essentially aided and abetted a racist on his way to the White House. Trump made his feelings on Black and brown people well known as he stomped and yelled his way across the campaign trail. Even before he was the Republican nominee, Trump made his feelings toward non-white Americans clear as the loudest voice in the birther movement against Barack Obama. It was obvious where he stood when it came to people he couldn’t identify with and last year millions of people chose to ignore that fact.
That continues to be one of the most disheartening and disappointing aspects of where we are today. Though most people who voted for Donald Trump would fervently say that they aren’t racist and would be offended if someone ever accused them of being so, it really comes down to a more nuanced definition of racism. Sure these people might not harbor the same degree of intolerance as the white supremacists who terrorized Charlottesville, but they are the kind of people who can ignore the racist ramblings of a man clearly unfit to be President of the United States. They saw something and didn’t say anything because they thought it was in their best interest to be silent. Yes, when you enter that voting booth you are voting for your best interests. You are supporting the candidate that you truly believe will pave the way for a better life for your family and friends. But call us way too optimistic, we’d also like to believe that people feel a sense of country and national best interest when they cast their vote. We thought people wouldn’t honestly support a candidate if they thought he could be dangerous to millions of fellow Americans.
But clearly millions of people were willing to roll the dice, thinking that even as the ignorant comments flew that everything would come up roses for them. Who cared about how Trump denigrated the “inner cities,” he’d ultimately help to make everyone richer and happier. Who cared about his comments about Mexican immigrants, he’d build that wall and we wouldn’t have to hear about it again. Who cared about a few p-ssy grabber comments, it’s just boys being boys. The small satisfaction that many Black and brown Americans, women and other groups so thoroughly insulted by Donald Trump can take is that this administration hasn’t proved beneficial for anyone, with the exception of white supremacists and those looking to have their bigoted points of view sanctioned on a national stage.
I’m sure when millions of people elected Donald Trump to be the president who followed the country’s first African-American president the company they were really looking to keep were the likes of David Duke and Steve Bannon. Yeah right.
So that brings us back to the fundamental question: Are people who were able to look past Trump’s disparaging, insensitive and inappropriate remarks racists on the low? I won’t go so far as to say that these people are as deplorable as the men and women who stormed Charlottesville, but I don’t think it’s accurate to give them a free pass either. They were willing to sacrifice the safety and stability of millions of Black and brown people because they thought it would benefit them. Yes, Donald Trump has fanned the flames of divisiveness in this country, but he had plenty of help to do so. This might be a bit of a stretch, but this entire situation feels like the Kitty Genovese story when dozens of people stood by as a woman was brutally murdered because they thought someone else would intervene. For the people who voted for Donald Trump for the aforementioned economic reasons, I’m sure they thought someone else would intervene when it came to his crazy racist talk. Only, few people have. Trump has systematically surrounded himself with people who share his distorted view of the world, making it much more challenging to rein his hatred in. He wasn’t a man that was going to squander his opportunity to craft a new national order in his image and likeness and, sadly, millions of people gave him to means to do just that. You vote not only for the candidate, but his ideals as well — unfortunately many people seemed to have forgotten that and now here we all are.