Truthdig! - August 20, 2019

... Who is the white-nationalist president trying to kid? His politics and presidency have consistently been monuments to white racial identity, animated by a promise to white voters that black and brown people will be put “back in their place(s).”

A fierce “us and them” politics of unashamed whiteness, replete with the embrace of policies that discriminate against people of color, has been the primary glue holding together the Trump coalition from day one. The accurate translation of Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again” is not so much “Make America White Again” as “Make Whites Supreme Again.”

Trump is just the tip and leading beneficiary of the big white iceberg of Amerikaner racism- denial. Ask a typical white Trump supporter if they or their clearly racist president is in any way racist and you will hear passionate denials on both counts combined with outrage that anyone would think to pose the questions in the first place.

This is the racism disavowal that matters most. Without it, the transparently racist Trump could never have ascended to the White House and have a real shot at a second term.

Whence this mass white disowning of white racism? Part of it has to do with self-image. Beyond white-supremacist circles, few white Americans want to think of themselves or their loved ones, friend, and neighbors as racists in a mass culture in which racism has been given a bad name since at least the middle 1960s.

A second factor is about self-interest. Many if not most of Trump’s very disproportionately white backers know they risk alienating current and potential employers, customers, investors, listeners, viewers, voters and/or subscribers by openly embracing racist sentiments.

A third part of the equation is that many Republicans and Trumpers think they and their president are not saying or writing/tweeting/Facebooking racist things unless their statements include explicit and overt references to race and racial identity. However, much contemporary racism is cloaked in nominally race-neutral language, using technically non-racial phrases like “states’ rights,” “local control,” “law and order,” “personal responsibility,” “inner city,” “urban crime,” “welfare dependents,” “charge on taxpayers,” “super-predators,” “felons,” “illegal immigrants,” “undocumented people” and the like to confer deeply racialized meanings. ...
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