After exhausting all possible defenses of Donald Trump, a neighbor finally disclosed his real reason for supporting the Republican presidential candidate. In a barely audible whisper, he grumbled something about the white race being “pushed around.”
No, I did not order him out of our home. In fact, we invited him and his grandmother, who lives with him, for dinner the next night.
The way I see it, this is no time to get on my high horse. It is time to counter emotional misconceptions with calm persuasion. Indignation and condemnation would only add fuel to the fire.
There is real white resentment out there. And refusing to acknowledge it won’t make it go away.
Some white Americans feel that minorities get all the breaks – civil service jobs, Affirmative Action, and so on. And they see minorities bypassing immigration red tape to flood the job market – at their expense. They feel unfairly treated.
How do we respond to these folks?
Do we cite slavery? They might reply that their ancestors never owned slaves. Most of today’s Americans could point out that their families came here long after slavery was abolished.
Do you cite the palpably biased criminal justice system? They personally don’t have much to do with that. The cops generally leave them alone and they generally don’t go looking for trouble.
High minority unemployment? Inferior schooling? Lingering prejudice throughout American society?
They are not emotionally programmed to appreciate those things. They are receptive to the racist diatribes that contaminate the Internet and talk radio. It’s a deliberate campaign, and it has been raging for a generation or longer.
The loss of mostly white blue-collar jobs to foreign low-wage workers has created an economic climate of apprehension and distrust, while a rapacious elite has made the situation even more flammable by funneling the country’s wealth into their own pockets.
The election of America’s first black President created a backlash among America’s racists, and now Trump has come along to give racism a veneer of legitimacy.
This is a dangerous situation. White voters are still a big majority in America’s electorate.
We can only pray that a significant number of white voters are not infected by the racist virus that seems to be afflicting my neighbor.