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Is Donald Trump’s racism bewildering, upsetting, and alarming to you? Having trouble looking at him during television appearances? Do your ears burn from his cacophonous sound bytes?
If so, chances are good that you are not alone.
This brief “operator’s guide” highlights a few parallels between Trump, the 2016 United States presidential hopeful, and other outspoken racist figures of America’s past. Hopefully, this short and largely incomplete survey will elucidate some of the historical underpinnings of Trump’s current bigoted agenda.
Readers will note that, as with many race-related social ills today, Trump’s racist and xenophobic agenda clearly bears much in common with the all too often bigoted American past.
What follows is alarming, but perhaps no less so than the popularity of a social blight like Trump.
One: Trump harbors many racist sentiments similar to those of US senator, historian, and lawyer, Albert Jeremiah Beveridge (1862-1927).
Both men are known for their chauvinistic nationalism, and Trump’s xenophobia suggests that he in many ways agrees with Beveridge, who once asserted, “Were it not for such a force as [the English-speaking and Teutonic peoples] the world would relapse into barbarism and night.”
Only two months ago Trump stated, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best… They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems…”
Trump and Beveridge clearly espouse the same class of xenophobic fear-mongering.
Two: Trump’s racism is similar to that of author, clergyman, and social reformer, Josiah Strong (1847-1916).
Strong believed that the “Anglo-Saxon race” had reached its culmination in the United States, and that it would eventually succeed in bringing civilization and Christianity to the rest of the “uncivilized” world.
Speaking at the January 2015 Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, Trump complained about Muslims being allowed to “come into this country” while (he alleged) Christians could not.
In a similar vein, Strong once stated, “Notwithstanding the great perils which threaten it… I believe it is fully in the hands of the Christians of the United States… to hasten or retard the coming of Christ’s kingdom in the world…”
The intolerant notions set forth by Trump along the 2016 presidential campaign trail – including his Islamophobic tirades – certainly smacks of Strong’s much older, yet equally discriminatory, penchants.
Three: Trump would agree with the anti-immigrant urgency of Madison Grant (1865-1937), the two-time Ivy League graduate, hunter, lawyer, traveler and explorer who was known for his positions as trustee of the American Museum of Natural history, president of the New York Zoological Society, and vice president of the Immigration Restriction league.
Similar to the fears propagated by Trump today, Grant feared that America’s once dominant “racial stock” – which he argued was composed mainly of “white” peoples – would grow so adulterated from a flood of immigrants that it would cease even to be recognizable.
Trump has stated something similar time and time again. “Something has got to be coming down from the top,” he rails, especially because people “are flowing through [US-Mexican border] like water,” and at some point it will be “too late.”
Four: Trump would get on just fine with Lothrop Stoddard (1883-1950), a Harvard-educated lecturer and writer who fiercely believed that America was doomed unless it did something to curb the influx of a number of “undesirable immigrants” being permitted to enter America.
Given Trump’s rabid hatred of the US-Mexican borderland, its denizens and its immigrant populations, he might as well look to Stoddard for speech-writing inspiration. Indeed, Trump’s border security rants boom as if he were a 21st century version of Stoddard, who claimed,
“Only the barrier of the white man’s veto has prevented a perfect deluge of colored men into white lands, and even as it is the desperate seekers after fuller life have crept and crawled through every crevice in that barrier, until even these advance-guards to-day constitute serious local problems along the white world’s race-frontiers.”
Even if Trump does not carry these words tattooed on his heart, there is reason to fear that his supports do.
Five: Trump in many ways coincides with the social thought of V.S. McClatchy (1857-1938), once a part-owner of the Sacramento Bee, and they especially match on the so called “menacing elements of immigration” they perceive as a threat to America.
Whereas McClatchy accused the Japanese of non-assimilability, unusually large birth-rates, and great advantages in economic competition, Trump has levied likeminded xenophobic and racist accusations against people who pass through the Mexico-US border every day.
Six: Add your own racist bigot to the list. Let us uncover these racist parasites which have so much in common with Trump, and let us be done with him once and for all!