seanw on kweeper Tue, 06 Aug 2019 11:06:04 +0100 Kweeper A Racist in the White House On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama beat John McCain by nine and a half million votes and became the country’s first African-American President. In 2016, Donald Trump, an unapologetic racist, lost the popular ballot by three million votes but, thanks to the antediluvian rules that still govern our voting system, succeeded Obama in the Oval Office. Understanding the role of racism and its persistence in this dismal pivot will be as central to our understanding of our times as it was to our understanding of Reconstruction. What’s curious is just how many people have resisted seeing squarely Trump’s racism, his shrewd exploitation of animosity, hatred, and division for political advantage. Trump is hardly a man of subtle concealment. W. E. B. Du Bois wrote that Andrew Johnson’s unwillingness to enact policies to give freedmen land, a decent education, or voting rights resided, first and foremost, in “his inability to picture Negroes as men.” Trump’s hostility toward minorities and his capacity to signal that hostility to others has never been a secret. This quality is central to his politics and his appeal. The biography is plain. As real-estate developers in the nineteen-seventies, Trump and his father did what they could to keep people of color out of their buildings in Brooklyn and Queens. These slimy stratagems attracted the attention of the Department of Justice. As a tabloid bigmouth eager to enhance his peculiar brand of outrageous celebrity, Trump paid for ad space in the New York papers to call for the execution of the so-called Central Park Five. Long after they were vindicated and given a collective award of forty-one million dollars, Trump refused to apologize or reconsider. Trump always made a point of forming “friendships” with Don King, Mike Tyson, and a few other black celebrities, but the fraud was obvious. As Kip Brown, a driver who worked at one of Trump’s casinos in Atlantic City, told Nick Paumgarten in The New Yorker, “When Donald and Ivana came to the casino, the bosses would order all the black people off the floor. . . . I was a teen-ager, but I remember it: they put us all in the back.” The foundational cause of Trump’s fledgling political career was not tax policy or the nuclear deal with Iran; it was the promotion of “birtherism,” the conspiracy theory that Obama was lying about his citizenship and place of origin. After the election, a ban on Muslim immigration was among Trump’s top priorities. His ongoing cruelties directed at men, women, and children at the southern border is a naked attempt to strike fear into would-be migrants throughout Mexico and Central America and to arouse the approval of white voters. The President’s views are clear: black athletes who dare to protest police violence are “sons of bitches”; African countries are “shitholes”; and there are some “fine people” among the bigoted thugs who carried tiki torches and chanted “Blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us” in Charlottesville. Just last week, the President invited to the White House leading members of the far-right social-media crowd, including one “Carpe Donktum,” who recently made a nasty altered video of Joe Biden; Bill Mitchell, who ladles out the latest QAnon conspiracy theories; the oppo-research operative James O’Keefe III; and Ali Alexander, who, like the President’s own son, recently shared a tweet that called into question Kamala Harris’s racial background. A sterling bunch. At the meeting, Trump expressed the full knowledge that cyber-fuelled hatred and racism had helped him win the election. He honored the group with a White House invitation in the hopes that it will be there for him again in 2020. “The crap you think of is unbelievable!” he told them in bemused admiration. These were his people. And, like a self-infatuated child, Trump said of his own tweets, “I used to watch it like a rocket ship when I put out a beauty.” Over the weekend, Trump put out a beauty, telling his sixty million Twitter followers that four members of Congress—Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib—four Democrats on the left, four women of color, should “go back” to the countries “from which they came” if they were going to keep on criticizing him. This was a threat of the ugliest variety, and one with a malodorous history. And a President of the United States was making it. At a press conference Monday, Ocasio-Cortez said that when she visited Washington, D.C., as a girl, her father showed her the Capitol, the reflecting pool, the Lincoln Memorial, and other sites of American democracy and told her, “This belongs to all of us.” “This weekend that very notion was challenged,” Ocasio-Cortez said. This was precisely the point: Trump was saying that these four women of color did not belong. He would never have said something similarly threatening to a white critic. In his conception of American-ness, white people belong; the rest are contingent. Tue, 06 Aug 2019 11:06:04 +0100 seanw Arnold Schwarzenegger gets attacked in South Africa Sun, 19 May 2019 12:23:23 +0100 seanw Pochettino in tears! Incredible scenes as Spurs reach Champions League final! 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