Archive for November 21st, 2017

Mongo Gets His Sheet On, Chapter 58,299,237

While LaVar Ball was building his family brand by selling the fantasy of the incredible Ball boys, Donald Trump was implementing a core part of his strategy as president: wherever possible be seen in the position of putting black people in their place, especially in a way that stokes the culture wars. The idea is for Trump to act outraged by something a black person has done, have it be signal-boosted by Fox News and the far-right media, and then Trump can use his bully pulpit to put them in line, thus making him both the victim and the one to clean it up—quickly! Bonus points if putting ’em in line leads to liberals getting upset but the ultimate goal is to be seen standing up to a black person or group of black people on behalf of aggrieved white people. If he’s seen as the protector of white people, he’s winning—as Trump’s then-chief strategist, Steve Bannon, revealed in an August interview with The American Prospect: “The Democrats, the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em. I want them to talk about racism every day.”

See, Trump’s base wants to “Make America Great Again”—a return to prominence for good old-fashioned whiteness, which they saw as in decline until Trump. They want white victories in a world where they’ve been forced to suffer through Affirmative Action and a black president and black people agitating for justice right before their precious football games. When Trump is seen as standing up to unruly blacks, he’s giving them those cultural victories they crave.

It’s absolutely Trump’s job to advocate for American citizens abroad—that’s not going above and beyond. But then he pulled out his phone and made it all about himself, demanding the boys thank him for getting them out, that they kiss his ring. It was so classless, so patronizing, so belittling, and so much about him. And it was so insulting. There he was once again talking down to black citizens, outraged at their behavior, and vowing to put them in their place. He tried this with Obama, the Central Park 5, the cast of Hamilton, Colin Kaepernick and the NFL kneelers, Jemele Hill, and so on and so forth. Black people are the neck that Trump stands on to seem taller to white people. 

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