When I was a kid in grade school, I was taught that things like racist bullying just didn’t happen anymore. I was taught that whenever this did happen, it was always an isolated incident committed by crazies. The rest of society clearly understood that racism was a thing of the past – or so I thought. To my horror, I realized as I grew up that this simply isn’t true. Things like this still happen all the time, all over the place. We have not progressed as far as we’d like to think since the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For Duat’s sake, we even elected a black man as President (twice), and many white people in this country continue to hate people of color, commit hate crimes, and/or deny that racism is even a major issue. As a black neighbor of mine once put it, “If finally having a black person for President couldn’t put a stop to this, nothing will.”
Those who turn a blind eye to these things are privileged; they don’t experience or observe the problem directly, so they don’t have to think about it. They can afford to sweep it under the rug and pretend that it doesn’t exist, or that it just isn’t as important as “defending America’s freedom from globalism.” But here’s the thing: now that Donald Trump has been elected as our next President, reports of racist crime are rising all over the country:
Racist Outbursts in U.S. in Wake of Trump’s Election (U.S. News & World Report)
I know a lot of people out there are completely mystified as to why the rest of us are so upset about Trump’s victory. If it seems silly or unbelievable to you that anyone would want to protest him in the streets, this is a big part of why they are doing so. We have been told in no uncertain terms that most people in this country either actively identify with Trump’s racism, or were perfectly willing to overlook it just so the Republican Party could win. And as a result of Trump’s victory, racists across the country have now been galvanized and are increasing their attacks on people of color all over the goddamn place. This frightens many people, and rightfully so.
During the past few days, I’ve heard many Republicans say that they “aren’t racists”; they just think that “defending our country from globalism” is more important than ridding our own society of systemic bigotry. I already have a problem with them right there, and maybe I’ll address that some other time; but I would think that if they really “aren’t racists,” they would at least speak out against these racist crimes consistently. Most of them don’t. None of the conservative blogs and websites I’m seeing are even acknowledging that this is a problem. Whenever someone brings up the issue, they are just laughed at, jeered at, and called a “crybaby.” Of course, I don’t usually expect to hear anything different from most of the conservatives I know; but my point here is that the message liberals get from this is “WHITE POWER!”, and you can’t really blame us for that. After all, that is precisely what many of these people are saying to us…
Granted, a lot of what’s happening with these racist outbursts is happening between children. But what does that tell us about the state of our country? Why are so many kids doing this all of a sudden? A huge part of it is directly related to the person we’ve elected as President. He made blatantly racist comments on camera; kids saw it on TV; some of them thought it was “funny”; and those kids think it’s OK for them to say and do similarly terrible things. After all, “The President does it.” But another part of the problem is the fact that this stuff has already been happening for quite some time; this is an escalation, not the start of some previously unobserved phenomenon. We all have a responsibility to do something about this, regardless of our social, political, or religious affiliations; but it would be nice to see Republicans make a much more solid effort to can this bullshit before it gets even more out of hand than it already has.
I know for a fact that there are conservatives out there who aren’t racists, who did not have racist motives when they voted for Trump this week, and who are just as horrified as I am that racist outbursts are breaking out all over the country like this. If you are one of the people I’ve just described, you are in a unique position to do something about it. You could try to organize a “Republicans Against Racism” demonstration in your local area. You could openly deplore the racist outbursts on your social media. I don’t have a whole lot of other examples I can suggest here, because I’m busy trying to think of things I can do to help from my own side of the American political divide. But I’m sure that you and your fellow conservatives can come up with some great ideas; you just need to address them with each other more consistently. Doing this would be extremely helpful in healing the heart of this country.
Kade Ferris: An Appeal to Anti-Racist Republicans