Today, I’ve decided to do something that has been a long time coming, but also something I promised I wouldn’t do: address one of these “be nice to Trump voters” articles. But after reading Nicholas Kristof’s latest piece for The New York Times which is literally titled, “Be Nice To Trump Voters,” I simply couldn’t hold my thoughts back any longer.
Point by point, I think it’s time to address some of the virulent BS emitting from White liberals regarding Trump voters and how they should be treated.
“When I write about people struggling with addictions or homelessness, liberals exude sympathy while conservatives respond with snarling hostility to losers who make ‘bad choices,'” Kristof writes.
“When I write about voters who supported President Trump, it’s the reverse: Now it’s liberals who respond with venom, hoping that Trump voters suffer for their bad choice.”
This is a truly hellacious fallacy bridged upon the idea that those in marginalized communities see hate, bigotry and xenophobia as a “bad choice” as opposed to the driving force behind their collective dehumanization.
“Maybe we all need a little more empathy?” he suggest.
Maybe, save those words for those seeking to embarrass and constrict the marginalized.
“The torrent of venom was, to me, as misplaced as the support for Trump from struggling Oklahomans,” Kristof continues. “I’m afraid that Trump’s craziness is proving infectious, making Democrats crazy with rage that actually impedes a progressive agenda.”
It is cowardly to conflate the rage that stems from witnessing inequality with the rage that drives actual inequality. That rage for inequality may have been ignited in many ways by Trump, but it is not the product of Trump. It is the rage that allowed Black bodies to suffer as chattel under the whip, and then under the noose throughout Reconstruction. It’s the rage that propelled Jim Crow. It’s the rage that beat gay men to death and allowed a nation to stand by and watch their community be ravaged by AIDS without lifting a finger to help. That rage is familiar to many of the people who find it disgusting.
“One problem with the Democratic anger is that it stereotypes a vast and contradictory group of 63 million people,” Kristof asserts. “Sure, there were racists and misogynists in their ranks, but that doesn’t mean that every Trump voter was a White supremacist.”
But it does mean that every Trump voter was, at the very least, OK with his racism and sexism. White historical revisionism may aim to frame his support as merely the result of economic angst, but the fact that his moments of extreme prejudice actually helped him rise in the polls is not a coincidence.
“While it wasn’t apparent from reading the column, one of the Trump voters I quoted was Black, and another was Latino. Of course, millions of Trump voters were members of minorities or had previously voted for Barack Obama.”
Please leave the “I voted for President Barack Obama so I can’t be racist” non-sequitur for the Armitage’s. Being Black or Latino does not preclude one from acting in the interests of White supremacy.
“To win over Trump voters isn’t normalizing extremism, but a strategy to combat it,” he continues.
One of the most pernicious lies resulting from this election is the idea that Trump’s victory signaled a massive sweep in the nation’s political ideology. Trump lost the popular vote by 3 million votes, a margin never seen before in American history. And his delegate victory was predicated on winning three key battleground states by a total of around 80,000 votes in the same states where minority voter suppression was in the hundreds of thousands (like Milwaukee). The idea that liberals must crawl to Trump supporters, hat in hand and beg for voting alliances is false.
“I asked the people I interviewed in Oklahoma why they were sticking with Trump. There are many reasons working-class conservatives vote against their economic interests — abortion and gun issues count heavily for some — but another is the mockery of Democrats who deride them as ignorant bumpkins. The vilification of these voters is a gift to Trump.”
At some point, we have to grapple with the reality that the working class is multi-racial and only the White working class was “conned” by Trump en masse. White people aren’t the only ones experiencing economic angst in blue-collar towns and cities, so how did non-White “ignorant bumpkins” not get fooled by the racist capitalist living in the gold tower?
“But I grew up in Trump country, in rural Oregon, and many of my childhood friends supported Trump. They’re not the hateful caricatures that some liberals expect, any more than New York liberals are the effete paper cutouts that my old friends assume.”
Racism is only predicated on hateful caricatures to White liberals who don’t understand the pernicious nature of their own internalized prejudice. Non-White Americans know very well that White supremacy is carried out everyday by “good, hard working” people and it makes it no less dangerous.
The main problem with this article is the same one that thrives within liberal White men’s myopic ideology of their own party. They see their party solely as a reflection of themselves.
Many straight, White, economically secure men view liberalism through the lens of “high ground politics” participated in by those intellectually curious enough to explore causes of equality. And while they proudly view their party as a bastion of multiculturalism (never to be centered, but existing enough around the fringes to make themselves feel proud to not be Republicans), they are rampantly incurious about the socioeconomic drivers behind the Democrat’s multicultural coalition.
In America, many Black folks, Latinx folks and other marginalized groups who vote Democrat have been placed in the unfortunate position to have to vote against their incursion, as opposed to voting for their will. We know who our enemy is; we’ve always known. And until you see us and see our fight, you will continue to propagate bulls**t, nonsensical tropes like being “nice” is the key to ending White supremacy.
Sorry Nicholas, but there ain’t enough cans of Pepsi in this nation to achieve that type of change.
Lincoln Anthony Blades blogs daily on his site, ThisIsYourConscious.com. He’s author of the book, “You’re Not A Victim, You’re A Volunteer.” He can be reached on Twitter @lincolnablades and on Facebook at Lincoln Anthony Blades.
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