It’s The Racism, Stupid

How did we just elect the most unqualified man to the presidency?

Donald Trump proved (again) this week that he is totally uninterested—or, worse, incapable of—representing all America. Unable to bear insult, Trump lashed out over the weekend at Georgia Congressman and Civil Rights hero John Lewis for his unwillingness to embrace Trump as the nation’s “legitimate” leader. It’s a position held by many, given what we now know about the election hacking, a fact anchored by growing questions about the Trump campaign’s possible collaboration with Moscow.

While Lewis is not alone in his assessment, he was the first to be signaled out for a Trump Twitter scold. In lashing out at Lewis, Trump exposed (again) his one-dimensional and racist view equating: African-American = “inner city” = “crime infested.”

As Cathleen Decker at the Los Angeles Times points out, Lewis’s district is (like the issue of racism itself) much more complicated than that and far, far from “falling apart,” as Trump suggested. Coca-Cola’s HQ is there, as is Delta’s, as is Atlanta’s airport. And if it matters, the average household income is $73,000, where residents perform better than average on unemployment and poverty indexes. Etc. Etc.

It’s telling that Trump’s effort to take down a Civil Rights leader days before the celebration of Martin Luther King was so over the line that many of his own party are failing to fall in line with him.

“It’s telling, I’m afraid, that Donald Trump treats Vladimir Putin with more respect than he does John Lewis,” tweeted Bill Kristol, the founder and editor-at-large of the Weekly Standard and a former aide to Republican Vice President Dan Quayle.

Yet, for all the obviousness of Trump’s many openly racist opinions and policy proposals, the rise of white nationalism with his campaign in the carefully branded “alt-right,” the media has been turning itself inside out to explain its failure to predict Clinton’s fall by teasing out an economic justification for the decision of the majority of all categories of white Americans to join Team Trump.

Issac Bailey (@ijbailey) at Neiman Reports asserts in his recent essay,
Al Sharpton, Donald Trump, and the Black and White Truth,” there is a big, bad problem with that analysis.

It’s worth reading beginning to end. But here’s an excerpt:

… The media are desperate to deny what’s been staring them in the face for a long time and instead keep pushing the narrative that it was about struggling white people fed up with their station in life and feeling left behind. Scratch the surface, and the superficiality of that argument reveals itself. There is not a single economic indicator being used by those arguing the “economic angst” narrative that more profoundly affects white Americans than people of color. Let’s not forget that white people remain more secure physically, educationally, economically, emotionally, and health-wise than black and brown Americans. They still have the best schools, whether public or private, still are more likely to receive callbacks when they submit a resume or try to locate a place to stay through Airbnb, still less likely to find themselves, or their children, in prison or poverty or shot by a cop, still control most levers of power in Washington, D.C., most state capitals and corporate and media boardrooms.

The media narrative that has unfortunately taken hold is one that paints a white America that had no choice but to ignore Trump’s bigotry and mistreatment of women because it was understandably frightened by its changing lot in life. But white America had a choice as much as black voters had a choice in 2004 when Sharpton came calling, even as white Americans continue having roughly 13 times the wealth of black and brown Americans.

White America—nearly 60 percent of white voters—put a man in the White House who scapegoated black and brown Americans every step of the way. They could have made a different choice but decided not to. We should not look away from that ugly reality. …

The media treated the racial ugliness it began encountering in the online comments sections and in emails and through Twitter and Facebook messages as just a racist fringe that should be ignored. The media refused to take what that meant seriously—that even non-racist people, even good people, under the right circumstances can be pulled into the orbit of a man selling open bigotry for a set of complicated reasons even the best social scientists have a hard time explaining. …

-30-

Read full article at NR.

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