Hello America, your President is racist.
We could try to sugarcoat that statement behind less direct language, but the time were we appease racists and those who sympathize with them is long past. When it comes to racism we have blatant overt racism and much more covert and subtle racism, our President is really good at the first.
Donald Trump announced his campaign on June 16, 2015 and called Mexicans criminals and rapists during the very same speech.
Since then his racism hasn’t slowed down one bit. Most recently we’ve seen attacks on TPS (Temporary Protected Status) and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients. These attempts to remove protections from marginalized communities are racist. Period. With Trump calling the countries of TPS recipients “shitholes” and stating that we should instead bring immigrants from countries like Norway it’s hard to imagine any possible way that the President could be more overt with his racism.
Attempts to somehow defend his statements are thinly veiled behind appeals to rule of law and insidiously toxic nativism; at the end of the day both serve as clear examples of what most racism looks like today. The ever so subtle, “I’m not racist but…” making itself visibly present in the thoughts and deeds of our institutions. Many of us have become accustomed to hearing subtle racism like this from middle class suburban soccer moms and dudebros who are a little too eager to play devil’s advocate, but when this comes from institutions of power and decision makers the negative effects of that mentality are greatly exacerbated.
The attacks on TPS and DACA beneficiaries illustrate this point quite clearly. Spurned on by xenophobia and hatred, we see people fabricate reasons to declare people as lesser and undesirable. Trump’s statements about Haitians having aids and Nigerians never returning to their huts have real implications on the lives of people. His words and actions will impact families, parents and children. It is wrong to accept this behavior. It is wrong to be complacent in the face of injustice and it is wrong to ignore it.
Trump is racist, but he is not the only one who is racist. Those who assist and help him are also racist. Those who voted for him and elected representatives who are in favor of his policy are also racist. Yes, that also includes your Aunt Deborah.
There are very few years in which a statement like, “racism is wrong” would face tremendous pushback, but congratulations America this is one of those years. The endless appeasement to those who have exercised racism has brought us to a place were we forget every single historical lesson about racism. There is no period of time in which people who have called out racism and oppression were well liked. Indeed, the disdain and scorn of those who combated them has always been well documented. What we need now are advocates who are willing to do something real: to fight against injustice and not clutch their pearls when oppressed people ask to be treated as human beings.
If you refuse to acknowledge racism, if you spend time looking for ways to “compromise” when it comes to human beings, you’re only in the way and you are not an ally.