Archive for September 11th, 2017

Understanding Mongo: His Ideology Is White Supremacy

His political career began in advocacy of birtherism, that modern recasting of the old American precept that black people are not fit to be citizens of the country they built. But long before birtherism, Trump had made his worldview clear. He fought to keep blacks out of his buildings, according to the U.S. government; called for the death penalty for the eventually exonerated Central Park Five; and railed against “lazy” black employees. “Black guys counting my money! I hate it,” Trump was once quoted as saying. “The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.” After his cabal of conspiracy theorists forced Barack Obama to present his birth certificate, Trump demanded the president’s college grades (offering $5 million in exchange for them), AIE76dpinsisting that Obama was not intelligent enough to have gone to an Ivy League school, and that his acclaimed memoir, Dreams From My Father, had been ghostwritten by a white man, Bill Ayers.

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. Only grudgingly did Trump denounce the Ku Klux Klan and David Duke, one of its former grand wizards—and after the clashes between white supremacists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, Duke in turn praised Trump’s contentious claim that “both sides” were responsible for the violence.

To Trump, whiteness is neither notional nor symbolic but is the very core of his power. In this, Trump is not singular. But whereas his forebears carried whiteness like an ancestral talisman, Trump cracked the glowing amulet open, releasing its eldritch energies. The repercussions are striking: Trump is the first president to have served in no public capacity before ascending to his perch. But more telling, Trump is also the first president to have publicly affirmed that his daughterIvanka is a “piece of ass.” The mind seizes trying to imagine a black man extolling the virtues of sexual assault on tape (“When you’re a star, they let you do it”), fending off multiple accusations of such assaults, immersed in multiple lawsuits for allegedly fraudulent business dealings, exhorting his followers to violence, and then strolling into the White House. But that is the point of white supremacy—to ensure that that which all others achieve with maximal effort, white people (particularly white men) achieve with minimal qualification. Barack Obama delivered to black people the hoary message that if they work twice as hard as white people, anything is possible. But Trump’s counter is persuasive: Work half as hard as black people, and even more is possible.

For Trump, it almost seems that the fact of Obama, the fact of a black president, insulted him personally. The insult intensified when Obama and Seth Meyers publicly humiliated him at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2011. But the bloody heirloom ensures the last laugh. Replacing Obama is not enough—Trump has made the negation of Obama’s legacy the foundation of his own. And this too is whiteness. “Race is an idea, not a fact,” the historian Nell Irvin Painter has written, and essential to the construct of a “white race” is the idea of not being a nigger. Before Barack Obama, niggers could be manufactured out of Sister Souljahs, Willie Hortons, and Dusky Sallys. But Donald Trump arrived in the wake of something more potent—an entire nigger presidency with nigger health care, nigger climate accords, and nigger justice reform, all of which could be targeted for destruction or redemption, thus reifying the idea of being white. Trump truly is something new—the first president whose entire political existence hinges on the fact of a black president. And so it will not suffice to say that Trump is a white man like all the others who rose to become president. He must be called by his rightful honorific—America’s first white president.

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Understanding Mongo: To The Racists He Is Overlord

As Michelle Obama said: “Being president doesn’t change who you are. No, it reveals who you are.” That is what is happening with Donald Trump.

He has in the course of his life been on all sides of many issues, although he was always a liar, bully, misogynist, opportunist and economic isolationist. But his racial hostility and white supremacy seem to have blossomed with his entry into politics and his Russia-aided election. After spending a life catering to the appetites of the greedy and gauche, he realized that there was an exponentially larger market of white nationalists and neo-Nazis. To the aspirational he could be landlord, but to the racists he could be overlord.

Trump’s outrageous decision this week to end DACA, the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which allowed many mongo-birdflipperyoung people brought to this country as children to stay and work here, is just the latest expression of Trump’s growing intolerance and his growing adoption and internalizing of white nationalist ideology.

Not only did Trump wimp out and send the anti-immigration zealot Jeff Sessions out to make the announcement, he also made the sadistic and emotionally manipulative act of professing his “love” for the Dreamers last week, while moving to bring them pain this week.

This didn’t need to be done. This was done out of spite and hostility. This was done to prove a point and consolidate support.

Donald Trump continues to say in every way possible that power and privilege in America is primarily the provenance of people who are white, male, Christian and straight, and that all others should be targeted for denial, oppression or removal.

Trump’s base may be relatively small, but he keeps reinforcing its power and reminding us of the magnitude of that power, because the spirit of the base commands the presidency.

We are witnessing the boot come swiftly down on the necks of women and minorities. We are seeing a program of minority removal — from the free population, from the work force, from the dole (as they see it), from the country itself. We are seeing an uplifting of whiteness to the detriment of non-whiteness. We are seeing the end of unity and the rise of factions and fascism.

In Trump’s America, white racism is ascendant; it is reclaiming a space many had hoped was shrinking. That is a plain and obvious truth. Efforts to describe it in other terms are an exercise in rhetorical contortionism.

Sometimes you simply have to call a thing a thing, and the thing here is that Trump’s inner racist is being revealed, and America’s not-so-silent racists are rising in applause.

Charles Blow

Understanding Mongo: What Would A Racist Do?

It’s not really hard to tell what President Trump will do on any issue. Just ask: What would a white racist do? If you can answer that question, you have a good idea which way Trump will go.

His record on the campaign trail and in office shows a clear pattern. He said Mexican immigrants are “bringing crime. They’re rapists.” He called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” He said the Indiana-born judge presiding over a lawsuit against Trump pu65qUniversity was unfair because “he’s a Mexican.”

He accused China and South Korea of stealing our jobs. His budget included cuts in funding for prevention of HIV and AIDS abroad. He wants to reduce legal immigration by half. He pardoned former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was found guilty of illegal racial profiling.

More recently, Trump exhibited a strong reluctance to disown the white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville, Va. After finally coming forth with a condemnation of neo-Nazis and their ilk, he backtracked, blaming “both sides” for the violence.

There is a single unmistakable thread running through this entire fabric: race. The people he attacks or shortchanges are almost always nonwhite. And the pattern is too consistent to be accidental. What has Trump done, after all, that a white racist would not have done?

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