Views on Race, Immigration and Cultural Diversity Are Quite Fluid, Even Among ‘Liberals’

How could so many Obama supporters turn around and vote for Trump? Racial thinking is not static. You can’t separate the world into racists and non-racists, “once a racist, always a racist” and “never a racist.”

CNN points to a 2012 Harvard study of new Latino immigrants in liberal Boston and commuters opinions of them. Initially, as long as immigrants were quiet and didn’t travel in large numbers, the commuters expressed neutral feelings. But when the immigrants traveled in large numbers, spoke loudly in a language other than English, the commuters felt threatened or made more negative comments about them to researchers.

As America moves toward a minority-majority country, don’t be surprised to see more white people feeling and expressing a sense of racial threat.

Racism, Racial Obsession, What’s the Difference?

On Facebook, a friend frequently posts provocative political statements seeking discussion. Over two weeks, he posted seven things related to race so I called him “racially obsessed.” He denied it vehemently. He expressed outrage and demanded that I document it. Then he charged that I was racially obsessed. So I went back over his page from the past two weeks and tabulated the following.

How would you react to a friend who posted the following over 15 days?

I count seven posts about race on your Facebook page in 15 days. Seems pretty race-obsessed to me.

Jan. 1: You equate the entire Muslim religion of more than a billion people with the KKK, a racist organisation.

Dec. 31: You state that President Obama “has declared war on God” and you urge your readers to debate whether or not he is a Muslim. This isn’t just a difference of opinion with a president. It’s a form of “othering” that no white president has ever faced.

Dec. 30: You reduce the problems of crime and violence in Chicago and other cities to “society labelling its protectors racists,” as if African American communities never have any legitimate grievances with police.

Dec. 27: You highlight criticism of retiring columnist Thomas Sowell that he’s “an Uncle Tom,” as if there can be no other legitimate reason to disagree with him.

Dec. 23: You distort that Michelle Obama said she was hopeless and that black democrats are obsessed with a victim mentality. She did not and they do not. She simply validated that a lot of people are feeling hopeless right now but that it’s important to find hope because one can’t live without hope, and she offered hopeful words which you ignored.

Dec. 21: You post 2017 New Year’s resolution for White Guys (humor).

Dec. 17-18 You project that Michelle Obama is angry, ungrateful, “wallowing in bitterness” and “never much cared for this country,” posting a clip of her from 9 years ago as if she hasn’t grown or changed or you haven’t listened to anything she has said in the WH. You reduce her to a stereotype or cardboard caricature and seem to have no curiosity about seeing the real person. I have never seen such a vicious attack on a First Lady, that they don’t even care about the country. Unprecedented “othering.”

(Then he refused to watch this short video clip of Michelle Obama’s farewell speech, which completely contradicts his characterization of her.)
He insisted his posts “have nothing to do with race” and expresses outrage at me for suggesting he’s a racist in any way, shape or form.
What do you think?
Update: On Jan. 21, he asked his FB friends: “Could somebody PLEASE tell me anything that Donald Trump has ever said or done that is racist against blacks? Anything?” A thorough discussion ensued, with links to many articles.
 While I can’t say for sure that Trump is a racist, I wrote that clearly “he saw the political benefit of courting white supremacists and portraying blacks as ‘the other’ since he started doing so with the bogus Obama birth certificate controversy…Racist is hard to define, as is liberal and conservative. Which makes rants against any of them pretty meaningless…
Sometimes Trump “seems quite tone deaf, or deliberately offensive and hostile, apparently to garner favor with the alt-right…,” I wrote, referring to “the blacks,” as he has repeatedly called “them.” “I have great relationships with the blacks,” he says. “The other day he presumed that downtown Atlanta was crime-ridden, drug-ridden and seemed unaware that the area he was referring to is one of the wealthiest in Georgia, a sign that he over-generalizes and stereotypes based on race. Discrimination lawsuits against his company go back to the 1970s. He has retweeted stuff from white supremacist websites and grossly exaggerated black on white crime. Personally, who can say how he acts with individuals? Maybe he has learned and grown, I dunno. I read that he bragged of dating black women. Views on race can be fluid. One can always hope.”
But repeatedly saying “the blacks,” as in “I have great relationships with ‘the blacks,’ ” as if they are all the same is what makes him suspect.”
After two days of discussions, John concludes: “Race hustling libtards: Advice: Get lives.”
He goes on, a few days later, to declare that “the left is in favor of any kind of sexual deviancy,” saying “they don’t seem to mind multiple Catholic priests practicing it (pedophilia), and liberal Vermont judges letting them off with a wrist slap.” He
essentially equates LGBT rights with pedophilia, and accuses liberals of hypocrisy for not defending Milo Yiannopoulos, the incendiary writer who resigned from Breitbart News.
He posts a highly distorted piece from The Daily Caller with the headline, “Only Whites Can Be Racist, University Insists.”
John is a troll.

White Flight Helped Make Modern Conservatism

In cities like Atlanta, fear of school integration and white children becoming a minority in majority African American schools led many whites to flee the city for all-white suburbs. Most had voted Democrat, but they switched to the Republican Party because the Democratic Party, allied with African Americans, proposed busing for racial balance. Kevin Kruse probes this phenomenon in “White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism.”

White Working Class Experience Economic Resentment, Which Fuels Racial Anxiety

“Economic resentment has fueled racial anxiety that, in some Trump supporters (and Trump himself), bleeds into open racism. But to write off white working class anger as nothing more than racism is intellectual comfort food, and it is dangerous.

“National debates about policing are fueling class tensions today in precisely the same way they did in the 1970s, when college kids derided policemen as “pigs.” This is a recipe for class conflict. Being in the police is one of the few good jobs open to Americans without a college education. Police get solid wages, great benefits, and a respected place in their communities. For elites to write them off as racists is a telling example of how, although race- and sex-based insults are no longer acceptable in polite society, class-based insults still are.”

— Joan Williams, “What So Many People Don’t Get About the White Working Class,” in Harvard Business Review.

White Backlash, ‘White Lash’ Or New Version of Racial Amnesia?

An historical pattern has followed America’s progress on race. Dramatic racial progress in America is inevitably followed by a white backlash, or ‘whitelash,’ ” writes John Blake of CNN. “Reconstruction in the 19th century was followed by a century of Jim Crow. The civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s was followed by President Ronald Reagan and the rise of the religious right.” In 2012, he described the white insurrection that destroyed Reconstruction and instituted Jim Crow, and said it could happen again. An  Associated Press online poll concluded that racial prejudice in America increased during Obama’s tenure. A majority of Americans, 51%, expressed explicit racial prejudice toward blacks in 2012, compared to 48% in 2008.

“Trump’s victory may mark… the return of ‘racial amnesia’…That’s what some historians are saying as they watch a familiar storyline emerge. Trump’s triumph is now being roundly described as a revolt by white working-class voters; racism, sexism and religious bigotry had little, if anything, to do with it.”

Blake and Tawanda Scott Sambou explore race, religion and politics in America in the aftermath of the 2016 election. Click.

Historians compare reinterpretations of the 2016 election to the aftermath of the civil war, when Southerners repackaged their fight to maintain slavery and white supremacy as the glorious “lost cause” that wasn’t really a defense of slavery but a noble struggle for state’s rights against an intrusive federal government. Groups targeted by Trump are being told to “get over it” and rally around the president.

The Lost Cause campaign offers the definitive example of racial self-deception. Before there was fake news, the Lost Cause propagandists were creating fake history…

You don’t have to pick on the South, though, to spot racial amnesia. Racism is embedded in the daily lives of ordinary Americans in ways that many forget.
Where Americans live, worship, send their children to school — much of it is driven by race, says David Billings, a pastor who came of age as a white Southerner during the 1960s.

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Joseph Ellis, author of The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789,” says race was the defining issue of the 2016 campaign: “Anybody who says that the recent election is not, at least in part, a racial event is functioning as an apologist, whether they know it or not, for white prejudice,” he wrote in a column for CNN.

Related:

“All the Latino, African-American and Asian-American voters that white America so fears saw what white America just did. They are here, and they are growing. They will live through four years of uncertainty and increased intolerance, and in 2020—backed by an ever-expanding band of predominantly liberal younger voters—they will return with a vengeance. The stats show that Trump’s America does not represent a vision of things to come. This is a sad, scary time, but we are not seeing the future of the USA here—we’re witnessing its past thrashing in the death throes.”