Saturday, January 13, 2018

Good Morning, America: Yes, Trump's Racism Reflects America's. Did We Have to Remind the World?

No, we shouldn't be surprised that Donald Trump's "shithole countries" remark galvanizes his support among white nationalists that populate, especially, rural America. We should be disgusted and repulsed at the reminder of our racist past, present, and future.

Think, open mouth, disgust two thirds of the population. The other third? your base.

Full disclosure: I'm a racist. Why? Because I'm an American of nominal privilege. What's that privilege? I'm white in America. Like Lady Gaga says, I'm born this way. As a relatively enlightened (I hope) American, I work to catch myself and my racism in order to be a better person.

This is not a confession. I've recognized this about myself -- and, generally speaking, all white Americans -- for years. It comes with the territory. Also, I lived in the South and was married, for a time, to someone who hailed from Mobile, Alabama. It's not hard, then, for me to grasp the racist heritage of much of our country.

Okay. Awareness of self and country doesn't prepare your to get mugged by your president's behavior. Nor is it easy when you realize that Trump's shithole racism ignites fervor in the hearts of his white nationalist fans. It's disappointing, though, when the Washington Post says another "one true thing" we wished weren't true.
Trump’s slur Thursday against the “shithole countries” from which he would rather the United States take fewer immigrants sparked a louder-than-usual tempest Friday, but the storm took a very familiar shape.
Each side reacted more or less according to script: evermore frustrated expressions of outrage from those who believed that the president had confirmed his racism; and evermore fervent defenses from those who supported Trump in the first place because, as many of them have argued for two years, he says what many Americans think.
There it is. We're disgusted but not surprised. But this "Yes, this is America after all" moment isn't taking place in a vacuum: It's playing out on the world stage and undoing, if nothing else, the illusion that America is something other than a shithole of racism. And we certainly could have done without that. Too late.

Update. John Judis of TPM offers similar reflections.

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