Saturday, September 9, 2017

Weekend Reads: Ta-Nehisi Coates explains why Trump is our first white president


THIS SUMMER the character of the Trump administration has removed any doubt about its intentions. The motivations behind its actions are examined by Ta-Nehisi Coates in his must-read article for The Atlantic entitled, "Donald Trump Is the First White President."

While TV pundits dance around the issue, from the perspective of AAPI and other people of color in this country, it has never become more clear that the driving force behind the Trump's obsession with President Barack Obama's birth certificate, the sloppy Muslim ban, the revocation of DACA, the Justice Department's new look affirmative action, the proposal to cut immigration in half, his half-hearted condemnation of Nazi's, the KKK and white supremacists after Charleston and the Damn Wall on our southern border - all of it - comes down to race.

With efforts to take down Obamacare and decisions to cancel DACA, it’s no secret that 45 is trying to take down anything productive from the Obama administration. But no one has considered how whiteness and the dismantling of every policy decision by the nation's first black president plays into this.
In a compelling piece for The Atlantic, journalist and cultural critic Ta-Nehisi Coates illustrated precisely how (and why) Donald Trump is creating his legacy by negating everything that Obama stood for.
“For Trump, it almost seems that the fact of Obama, the fact of a black president, insulted him personally,” he writes. “Replacing Obama is not enough—Trump has made the negation of Obama’s legacy the foundation of his own. And this too is whiteness.”

Coates continues:

It is often said that Trump has no real ideology, which is not true—his ideology is white supremacy, in all its truculent and sanctimonious power. Trump inaugurated his campaign by casting himself as the defender of white maidenhood against Mexican “rapists,” only to be later alleged by multiple accusers, and by his own proud words, to be a sexual violator himself. White supremacy has always had a perverse sexual tint. Trump’s rise was shepherded by Steve Bannon, a man who mocks his white male critics as “cucks.” The word, derived from cuckold, is specifically meant to debase by fear and fantasy—the target is so weak that he would submit to the humiliation of having his white wife lie with black men. That the slur cuck casts white men as victims aligns with the dicta of whiteness, which seek to alchemize one’s profligate sins into virtue. So it was with Virginia slaveholders claiming that Britain sought to make slaves of them. So it was with marauding Klansmen organized against alleged rapes and other outrages. So it was with a candidate who called for a foreign power to hack his opponent’s email and who now, as president, is claiming to be the victim of “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history.”

In Trump, white supremacists see one of their own.
Certainly, not all of Trump's supporters are white supremacists, but it's a safe bet you can say, all white supremacists are Trump supporters.

We can pull-quote the entire article, really, but it's easier to read the whole thing with all the rhythms and flow by checking out the article in The Atlantic here.
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