Monday, August 29, 2016

Donald Trump and Race: More Thoughts

As many prediced, the election of Barack Obama brought racial tensions in this society to the forefront well before he announced new iniitaitves or created new policies. Unfortunately, the very fact of his election as our first Black President. offended and frightened many people. Donald Trump, very early in President Obama's first term, shrewdly capitalized on that discontent by associating himself with people who challenged the validity of President Obama's citizenship. Most journalists from all side of the political spectrum thought he jhad permanently destroyed his political career by doing that and his poor showing in 2012 Primaries seemed to conform that assessment. But Mr Trump, whatever else you might say about him, has an astute understanding of the racial fears ot the nation's shrinking white majority He used that extreme position to establish his bona fide with whites fearful of racial change, building on it in the 2012 campaign with remarks about Mexican and Muslim immigration.
I really wish he hadn't done that. Here is why. There are people voting for Donald Trump for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with race,, ranging from the hope of bringing industrial jobs back to the US to keeping Hillary Clinton out of the White House. But because Mr Trump LAUNCHED his drive to the Presidency by playing on racial fears, most Americans of Color see him as a hard core racist who aims to do harm to them and their children.
And that spills over into their personal lives. Inevitably, it colors how they view neighbors, co-workers, even family members ( remember many extended families are now multi-racial) who plan to vote for Mr Trump. It adds an element of tension and insecurity to those relationships.
The Trump campaign has become a Rorsarch Test for the country's racial tensions and racial fears.
It is really difficult, and really sad to see how much mistrust and anger it is bringing to the surface.