Friday, June 2, 2017

In the News: Myth That Incidents of Hate-Tinged Violence Have Diminished Following Spike After Trump's Election

D. Watkins on the continued spiking of incidents of hate-oriented violence in the U.S. after Trump's election, from which he keeps us distracted with his never-ending kaleidoscope of tweets: 

"Racism is over!" 
"Racism doesn’t really exist anymore, and I know this because we elected a black president!" 
"Trump is just having fun at these rallies; it's not that serious." 
These are comments that people have said directly to me, that I've heard on television and have read on social media. Within the last few months our country has suffered from a series of blows directly connected to racist people’s efforts to promote white supremacy. On March 20, James Harris Jackson, a white man, confessed to killing Timothy Caughman before saying, "I've hated black men since I was a kid. I've had these feelings since I was a young person. I hate black men," and then shared his plan to murder black men. 
On May 13, white nationalist Richard Spencer led an unsuccessful torch-bearing rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, protesting the sale of a Confederate monument. On May 20, Sean Christopher Urbanski, a white man, was arrested for the murder of U.S. Army lieutenant and recent college graduate Richard Collins III, who was black. Urbanski has been charged with first- and second-degree murder and also may be charged with a hate crime. 
On May 26, Jeremy Joseph Christian boarded a train in Portland, Oregon, and according to police records, started harassing two young African-American women, one wearing a hijab, yelling, "Pay taxes! Get the f**k out!" and "Go home. We need Americans here!" Christian was confronted by three brave passengers — Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, Ricky John Best and Micah Fletcher — who tried diffuse the situation. Video from the incident showed Christian stabbing them. Namkai-Meche and Best died from their wounds, and Fletcher was hospitalized. 
After being taken into police custody, Christian sat in the back of the police car and proudly said, "I stabbed the two motherf**kers in the neck and I'm happy now." 

It's a myth that things have calmed down since the days following Trump's inauguration, when hate crimes spiked around the country. The news is so crammed with stories about the myriad issues within the administration—its possibly treasonous ties to Russia, its unconstitutional profiteering, its general kleptocratic practices— that they drown out nearly everything else. But the racism Trump exploited and exacerbated hasn't gone away. Far from it. 
The dizzying pace of the Trump scandal cycle means less coverage, but with a president whose silence speaks volumes, his followers receive the message loud and clear. Andrew Anglin, a white supremacist who supported Trump for president (they all did, actually) once wrote that Trump had given the "full-wink-wink-wink to his most aggressive supporters." Those angry Trump supporters are not shutting up or backing down, and this president is certainly not pretending he’s asked them to. They are still making violent threats and carrying them out.

If you voted for Donald Trump, if you keep voting Republican despite the crushing weight of evidence that the Republican part has become a vehicle for white nationalism and racism, you are implicated — in racism. You are implicated despite your claims that you cast your vote for Donald Trump for "pro-life" reasons and because the gnostic faux news sites you follow had convinced you that Hillary Clinton is evil and because you're Catholic, for God's sake, and Catholics by definition cannot be racists.

If you voted for Donald Trump, you mortgaged the future of your children and their children to filthy racist ideology that will tear apart the world in which your children and their children have to live — because you refused to combat that ideology, and, in fact, colluded with it. Because you have persistently refused to hear the testimony of those living on the margins of American society as you pretend that your white social groups are the world and you represent the norm by which everyone else is to be judged . . . .

No comments: