White America Is Not Going To Save American Democracy - Let's Stop Pretending Otherwise
We live in a country where many in white America can't even bring themselves to say the words 'white supremacy.' If they do, they're almost certainly on the Left (right-wingers don't admit white supremacy exists). This is only slightly better because even on the Left, there's an agenda to whitewash and play down the role white supremacy plays in many aspects of American life. We live in a deeply racist society and some would rather lecture the victims of racism about how they should be civil in the face of state-sanctioned human rights abuses and constitutional violations rather than challenging that racism and calling it out.
I've always considered this a form of protectionism. Not because I think all white Americans support racism, I don't believe that. However, I do believe there's an ethnic incentive to dismiss racial caste and dismiss the open attempts to cement the political influence of the white majority even if that means severely weakening American democracy.
You have to be honest about this. Even if it hurts you to do so. It's really not even that hard of an argument to make. This is what America has always done, it's history is littered with white supremacist policy agendas meant to do nothing more than suppress the power of non-Whites.
Part of being an intellectual means speaking uncomfortable truths. Progressive intellectuals have a duty to say what others won't say and to change their views based on what certain data points tell them.
In a recent article in The Washington Post titled 'I No Longer Have Hope in White America,' editor and writer Karen Attiah shed light on how Martin Luther King's frustrations with white moderates that he elaborated on in his 'Letter from a Birmingham Jail' still resonates 55 years later. Not much has changed and we find that many so-called Progressives interact with the black community very similarly to how white moderates of the 1960's interacted with Civil Rights leaders. People want to place their comfort over the fight for justice and find ways to give people the benefit of the doubt over and over again.
Some people might wonder why I call out the Left so much. That's because I believe the Left can do better, unlike the Right which revels in propaganda and psychological warfare. Unlike the Right, I believe people on the Left want to do good and want a better society. I just can't stay silent when I see these glaring blind spots on issues of race and gender. It's probably why white Leftists are the first ones to complain about identity politics.
Then I believe there are economic differences as well. I think white Leftists who are working-class and/or poor are more open to progressive racial justice. From my vantage point, I find that well-to-do white Leftists are quicker to make excuses and apologize for certain things and when they do offer solutions, it's the least radical solution they can think of.
White America is not going to save American democracy. Not only are they not going to save it, many are actively working against it with their support of Trump. This is reflected in polling data. A recent Reuters/Ipsos mega poll showed that the Democratic Party has lost 9% support among millennials down from 55% two years ago to 46% now. While support for Republicans is still very low at 27% when you look at the racial breakdown that's where another story is told.
The poll shows that of the 8% of white millennials that have left the Democratic Party over the last two years, 6% have joined the Republican Party! In fact, the Republican and Democratic Parties both have the same percentage of white millennial support (39% each). This shows that Trumpism is much more popular among white millennials than people may have previously thought and it also creates a major problem for America.
Now I don't want to overstate this because the overall polling numbers show that when you include all types of millennials (Black, Asian, Hispanic, etc) there is still a major 19% gap between Democratic and Republican support. Yet, the fact that we see this decline in support happening mostly because white millennials are buying into Trumpism after we see the racism, the sexism, the open corruption, the ignorance, and everything else - it causes you to realize that the saving of American democracy isn't going to come from this group.
The data gets worse when you factor in gender. White male millennials now support Republicans 11% more than they support Democrats. This is a total flip from the 12% advantage Democrats had over Republicans with white male millennials two years ago in 2016.
Democrats are losing support for a variety of reasons, but the cratering of support among white millennials, especially white male millennials isn't just about policy. Unless you're going to suggest that for whatever reason non-White Democrats support bad policies more than white Democrats do. That's not backed by anything and would be more of an opinion. What we do know is that the culture wars are in full effect and that there's an all-out assault on communities of color that many white Americans are comfortable with. We know that white extremists like Steve Bannon are given massive platforms and millions of dollars in free airtime. We know that there are millions being pumped into far-right platforms like Breitbart and voices on Youtube that get hundreds of thousands of clicks. If you think white millennials aren't listening to these people and believing alt-right talking points then I have a bridge to sell you.
Only White People Think There's a Debate Over Hate Crime Legislation
In Progressive circles, sometimes I hear about this "debate" over whether or not hate crime legislation should be supported. First of all, whenever I hear this mentioned on platforms like The Young Turks, it's always on an all-white panel. So keep that in mind. Maybe this is a discussion happening among white Progressives, I don't know any black Progressives or Leftists saying we shouldn't support hate crime laws.
This is what I mean when I say American democracy isn't going to be saved by white America and that many in white America can't even say white supremacy. Why am I not surprised that a group of people who aren't disproportionate victims of hate crimes are open to their gutting?
That comment made by Cenk Uygur on TYT was made in the context of police using the claim of hate crime to punish a black man who called cops "Gestapo" and other names when they were arresting him. It was this whole "see, we told you hate crime laws were a slippery slope." As if we don't live in a world where law enforcement can make just about any claim against you regardless of how flimsy the accusation.
What Cenk failed to mention is the fact that numerous studies have shown that hate crimes against people of color have exploded since Trump's election in 2016. This gets zero coverage in the corporate media because they protect white fragility and it gets ignored on white-owned new media platforms like The Young Turks because it doesn't fit into narratives that they like to push. You can't say there's a "discussion" about support for hate crime laws when hate crimes against U.S. Muslims rose 15% last year.
Hate crimes on college campuses also rose by 25% in 2016, another study that was grossly under-reported showed. So while the alt-right and white progressives were b*tching about "social justice warriors" and making fake claims about free speech obstructions, actual hate crimes in those same spaces were skyrocketing!! It's funny how the free speech absolutists haven't mentioned that. It's almost as if those "SJW's" were actually making legitimate claims against white supremacists on campuses who were literally threatening them.
It's not just an explosion in hate crimes, but the rise in hate groups too. Trumpism has brought about a rise in hate groups that are not afraid of engaging in domestic terrorism to achieve their very real political goals. I don't believe that the connections a lot of these mass shooters have to far-right ideologies is some isolated circumstance. I think it's part of a dangerous trend that's developed in America revolving around right-wing domestic terrorism.
Herein lies the reason why I'm bringing this up. A big reason why this is important is that there is a disturbing lack of context among leftist intellectuals about what's actually going on here. If even in the age of Trump people think it's a good idea to have a discussion about the value of hate crime legislation, then we have a problem.
The same can be said about people who think identity politics is the root of our problems insomuch that it's coming from the Left. The real problem with identity politics is the violent and genocidal white nationalist flavor that is authoritarian and perverts our system of governance. Problems also arise when identity politics are used to get votes, when politicians have no intention of following through. They're simply playing the electorate when they do that.
I don't agree with identity politics being used in that way, but I also understand the value in the identities of disadvantaged groups who may need them. Just like how I understand value of hate crime legislation in a country that carries the history of hate crime terrorism.
While I think the predominantly white American Right is the biggest threat to American democracy, which is the source of the concept of this article. We need to challenge even those on our side of the political spectrum as well.
A day after posting this article, I came across yet another poll that confirms what I wrote. I see these types of polls pretty consistently, I just don't write entire articles about every poll I see that backs up what I already know.
As you can see, 52% of white Americans don't agree that Trump is racist. This is a new poll from July 3, 2018, not July 3, 2017, or July 3rd, 2016...2018.
I repeat, the majority of white Americans have blinders on about the biggest source of human rights abuses coming from this administration and that is Trump's racist views and the white supremacists he enables in his administration like Stephen Miller. White supremacy is the greatest threat to American democracy right now, and even well into 2018, a majority of the majority can't see that.
This is why white America is not going to save American democracy.
In my opinion, these are your black conservatives (who probably aren't members of the GOP proper) with perhaps a faction of conservative black Democrats. I'd wager these black people are probably Generation X'ers (born between 1965 and 1979) and older Millennials over the age of 35. I only say that because we know the younger generations are more liberal and I see this 19% as being black people who didn't grow up during the Jim Crow era. Which is why I didn't say Baby Boomers because they grew up around racists and know them when they see them and are old enough to not care about what white people think about them.
I notice a lot of the black racism denialists I see today where born post-Civil Rights in a society that lied to them about being "post-racial." But a lot of blacks have clung to this fantasy despite the reality in front of them.