Is Donald Trump an Enabler of Racism? The Paranoid Ramblings of an Kumbaya Inductee

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Is Donald Trump an Enabler of Racism? The Paranoid Ramblings of an Kumbaya Inductee

Evan O'Suilleabhain, Writer

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The short answer to the question of whether or not our president is racist is: maybe, maybe not. Of course, it’s impossible to know the mind and heart of a person with certainty. What is certain is that Donald Trump’s rhetoric has been co-opted by people with racist beliefs, and, whether intentional or not, has given those people legitimacy.*

Let’s take things back to the early days of his campaign to the now infamous slogan, “Make America Great Again.” This is a pretty ingenious catchphrase, because it can be interpreted as an innocent promise to improve the state of things in the country, things that worsened during the Obama administration. However, it could also appeal to the racist sentiment that America has become worse as it has become more multicultural and diverse. For the prejudiced faction of Trump’s following, to “make America great again” is to make America a white homeland again. Whether or not this was the intended meaning, it’s a plausible interpretation, and it’s only been reinforced by policies such as building a wall and banning certain Muslims from entering the country. If this seems a bit far-fetched, David Duke, former KKK grand wizard and outspoken racist, remarked, “That’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back.” Trump never explicitly said that, but this shows how easily his campaign slogan can be construed as a promise to return America to their supposed rightful owners, white people.

Duke’s statements were made during the August 2017 alt-right rally in Charlottesville, a rally that alt-right organized, and attended in large numbers. This was a rally during which a member of the alt-right rammed his car into a group of counter-protesters and killed a woman. And yet Trump refused to condemn the obviously guilty party, attempting to shift responsibility by saying there was “blame on both sides.” This caution is strange because Donald Trump is not afraid to verbally attack people e.g. Rosie O’Donnell, Alec Baldwin, Joe Biden, etc. For some reason, neo-nazis have escaped his critical eye. Why doesn’t he subject them to the same treatment? Because they’re his supporters.

Let’s talk about everyone’s favorite St. Mark’s alumnus, Richard Spencer. Spencer is associated with the Alt-right and has been identified as a white supremacist. After Trump’s 2016 election win, Spencer got a crowd on their feet by jubilantly crying, “Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!” Notice how Spencer aligns his victory, the victory of the white race, with Trump’s victory. Trump has become a figurehead for white nationalism, someone that racists can rally behind and look up to as a leader that will fulfill their wishes to take America back. It’s impossible to say whether Trump himself is racist, but it can be seen that racist groups such as the alt-right and KKK see his victor as enabling their views.

*I’d like to make it clear that I do not believe all of Trump’s supporters are racist. I know many of them and they are all great people.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the school or The Informer Staff

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