What White Power Supporters Hear Trump SayingRoundup
tags: racism, political correctness, White Nationalism, dog whistles
ALEXANDER HINTON is a distinguished professor of anthropology at Rutgers University.
Donald Trump’s path to the U.S. presidency in 2016 was paved with warnings about political correctness. Trump railed against it in his campaigning, while also famously referring to Mexicans as “rapists” and calling for a Muslim ban.
Since then, it has become clear to increasing numbers of Americans that Trump’s attacks on political correctness are a form of racially coded messaging used to stoke the fires of the grievances and fear some White people feel. White power extremists have always heard these racist dog whistles loud and clear.
Now, in the lead-up to the 2020 election, Trump’s White power sympathies are becoming harder and harder for people in the U.S. to ignore. On August 28, in his speech at the Republican National Convention accepting his party’s nomination for the presidency, Trump condemned “cancel culture, speech codes, and crushing conformity.” A few days later, he ordered government offices to stop racial sensitivity training. A memo explaining the change called this kind of training “un-American propaganda.”
Then, in a September 6 tweet, Trump warned that the Department of Education would not continue funding public schools in California that use The New York Times Magazine’s “1619 Project,” which tells the story of the U.S. through the history of slavery and racial injustice, in their history curricula. Days later, it was revealed that Trump likens awareness of White privilege to drinking “the Kool-Aid,” a metaphor for cult-like obedience to dogma. On September 17, he announced the creation of the 1776 Commission, a committee to combat “decades of left-wing indoctrination” about race and oppression that has “defiled the American story.”
For decades, White power extremists have been complaining about the danger political correctness poses to “the White race.” To them, Trump’s remarks are a confirmation of an impending White genocide and race war.
At a time when the Department of Homeland Security has flagged White supremacists as the number one domestic terrorist threat, militias roam city streets, protests against police brutality abound, and the country appears headed toward a contested and perhaps even violent election, Trump’s frequent use of political correctness as a racist dog whistle is adding fuel to the flames.
This must be stopped.
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