FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Is Trump a White Supremacist? Yes, But So is America

In recent days a foolish controversy has swirled regarding president Donald Trump. At issue is whether or not he can be labeled a white supremacist. There is no need for conjecture on this point. He most certainly is a white supremacist. But asking the question is utterly useless in a country whose very founding was a white supremacist project. Racist structures impact every facet of life in this country. Race determines where we go to school, live, work, or even if one is employed at all.

Recently released data showed that black Americans are the only group in the country whose median income has decreased since 2000. Asians, whites, and Latinos have all experienced some degree of income growth during this period. Income inequality is worse for black people now than it was in 1979 . Even black families who manage to scrape their way into middle class status are more likely to see their children slip back into poverty 

But anti-black racism is the sine qua non for all discriminatory practices. It is the most persistent and pernicious of all the biases extant in American life. Black people are at the bottom economically because we face more discrimination than anyone else. The never ending settler colonial project is dedicated to oppressing black people at every juncture of their lives.

It is true that racists no longer feel the need to hide their ideology. Not that they hid it very well before the Trump presidency. It is true that racists are now emboldened as individuals and that danger to black people cannot be minimized.

But what was life like for black people before inauguration day in January 2017? Before Trump became president we had the worst outcomes economically, the greatest risk of being incarcerated, or of being treated badly in a multitude of ways on a daily basis.

It is an error to be swept up in useless argument about whether the current president is a white supremacist without also discussing the racist underpinnings of American society. Trump made overt racism acceptable and that does change the precarious nature of black life in the country. But we always live on the edge, hoping to improve our lot as individuals without falling victim to the worst the system can mete out to us.

The self-proclaimed alt-right have upped the ante by triggering faux outrage. The outrage is phony because it never speaks to the ways in which racism makes life easier for white people every moment of their lives. Their most mundane activities are often tinged with race-based privilege.

Inherited wealth gets them money, property and educational opportunities for their children. White people get jobs because their friends and relatives get them in the door. Yet most of them would bristle if they were told that these actions are in fact racist. That is the danger in asking whether or not Trump or any other individual is a white supremacist. The system allows every white person to be a supremacist as they carry out their daily lives.

No one should be allowed to pat themselves on the back because they dislike Donald Trump, march around in a pink pussy hat or pull down a Confederate monument. He and his most racist supporters are the lowest hanging fruit. The banality of business-as-usual racism is rarely called into question. And that makes it every bit as dangerous as Trump’s presence in the White House or the love he gets from self-identified white supremacists.

We had a white supremacist nation even when the president was black. Barack Obama was indeed the more effective evil. He is now proving it by doing what former presidents always do. He is lining his pockets giving speeches to the banksters who stole what little wealth black people had managed to earn. But he had better manners than the erratic and, yes, bigoted Donald Trump and he went out of his way to make nice even as he worked to enhance the neo-liberal and imperialist projects.

Obama never prosecuted killer cops or thieving bank executives. He destroyed Libya, Africa’s most prosperous nation. But white racists still hated him and he benefited from their animus. They gave him the Teflon coating that Trump can only dream about.

Donald Trump has singlehandedly managed to both boost and minimize white supremacy. It is true that David Duke and his ilk are back in the news. But the most entrenched aspects of white supremacy are minimized in favor of shooting fish in the barrel of Klansmen and neo-Nazis.

Trump is the white supremacist leader of a white supremacist nation. Racism existed before he was elected. It will continue when he leaves office because millions of people profit from this system and see no reason for it to change.

More articles by:

Margaret Kimberley writes the Freedom Rider column for Black Agenda Report, where this essay originally appeared. 

Weekend Edition
February 22, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Timothy M. Gill
Why is the Venezuelan Government Rejecting U.S. Food Supplies?
John Pilger
The War on Venezuela is Built on Lies
Andrew Levine
Ilhan Omar Owes No Apologies, Apologies Are Owed Her
Jeffrey St. Clair
That Magic Feeling: the Strange Mystique of Bernie Sanders
David Rosen
Will Venezuela Crisis Split Democrats?
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump’s National Emergency Is The Exact Same As Barack Obama’s National Emergency
Paul Street
Buried Alive: The Story of Chicago Police State Racism
Rob Seimetz
Imagined Communities and Omitting Carbon Emissions: Shifting the Discussion On Climate Change
Ramzy Baroud
Russian Mediation: The Critical Messages of the Hamas-Fatah Talks in Moscow
Michael Welton
Dreaming Their Sweet Dreams: a Peace to End Peace
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming’s Monster Awakens
Peter Bolton
As the Coup Attempt in Venezuela Stumbles, It’s Time that Guaidó Recognize that Regime Change has Failed
Huma Yasin
Chris Christie Spins a Story, Once Again
Ron Jacobs
Twenty-First Century Indian Wars
Robert Fantina
The U.S. and Venezuela: a Long History of Hostility
Lance Olsen
Climate and Money: a Tale of Two Accounts
Louis Proyect
El Chapo and the Path Taken
Fred Gardner
“She’s Willie Brown’s Protogé!” The Rise of Kamala Harris
John W. Whitehead
Rule by Fiat: National Crises, Fake Emergencies and Other Dangerous Presidential Powers
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Biomass is Not “Green”: an Interview With Josh Schlossberg
John Feffer
Answering Attacks on the Green New Deal
W. T. Whitney
US Racism and Imperialism Fuel Turbulence in Haiti
Kim Ives
How Trump’s Attacks on Venezuela Sparked a Revolution in Haiti
Mike Ferner
What War Films Never Show You
Lawrence Wittner
Should the U.S. Government Abide by the International Law It Has Created and Claims to Uphold?
James Graham
A Slow Motion Striptease in France
Dave Lindorff
Could Sanders 2.0 Win It All, Getting the Democratic Nomination and Defeating Trump?
Jill Richardson
Take It From Me, Addiction Doesn’t Start at the Border
Yves Engler
Canada and the Venezuela Coup Attempt
Tracey L. Rogers
We Need a New Standard for When Politicians Should Step Down
Gary Leupp
The Sounds of Silence
Dan Bacher
Appeals Court Rejects Big Oil’s Lawsuit Against L.A. Youth Groups, City of Los Angeles
Robert Koehler
Are You White, Black or Human?
Ralph Nader
What are Torts? They’re Everywhere!
Cesar Chelala
The Blue Angel and JFK: One Night in Camelot
Sarah Schulz
Immigrants Aren’t the Emergency, Naked Capitalism Is
James Campbell
In the Arctic Refuge, a Life Force Hangs in the Balance
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Corregidor’s Iconography of Empire
Jonah Raskin
The Muckraking Novelist Dashiell Hammett: A Red Literary Harvest
Kim C. Domenico
Revolutionary Art and the Redemption of the Local
Paul Buhle
Life and Crime in Blue Collar Rhode Island
Eugene Schulman
J’Accuse!
Nicky Reid
Zionists are the Most Precious Snowflakes
Jim Goodman
The Green New Deal Outlines the Change Society Needs
Thomas Knapp
Judicial Secrecy: Where Justice Goes to Die
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail