09:56, August 15 139 0

2017-08-15 09:56:05

 

Trump’s latest response to Charlottesville was as racist & coded as ever

A liberal friend of mine posted on Facebook that she was relieved to see Donald Trump finally condemn “the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups” in his remarks given Monday in response to deadly violence that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend.

It only took him three attempts.

Just to recap: Trump’s first effort at addressing the emergency came in a series of tweets fired off Saturday afternoon from his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey:

He followed that with a press conference held at the resort later in the day, during which he condemned the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides” after touting his so-called economic achievements as president.

Then on Monday, he was back in Washington, where he held yet another press conference, that started with:

Racism is evil, and those that cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

OK, aside from the hypocrisy of a guy like Donald J. Trump making a statement like this, which one could unpack for days, let’s talk about his declaration that “racism is evil.”

He’s at least right about that. Racism is, most definitely, evil. Any school child will agree. But he’s wrong to think his message will resonate with any of the men or women who participated in last weekend’s “Unite the Right” rally.

It won’t.

Why? Because the majority them don’t consider themselves racist. They consider themselves nationalists, a.k.a. patriots, a.k.a. good, God-fearing, proud Americans merely sticking up for the white race. In their warped imaginations, those two things are different.

Take, for example, Peter Cvjetanovic.

After being identified by the Twitter account @yesyoureracist, the 20-year-old University of Nevada, Reno student told media: “I will defend tooth and nail my views as a white nationalist. I love my culture and will fight for it, but never in a violent way.”

He continued, “I want everyone to have their culture, and I want to have mine. … I was there legally and committed no acts of violence.”

Then there’s Washington State University student James Allsup, also outed by @yesyoureracist, who said he disagreed with the violence that broke out.

“I think it’s terrible that anyone had to lose their life,” he said. “I think that’s awful.”

Allsup added: “They have no proof that I’m a racist. They are slandering me and that I’m racist without evidence because I talk about history and I talk about American politics.”

Since neither of these men consider themselves racist, the rest of Trump’s statement doesn’t apply to them either. Sure, the rally may have turned violent, but since it wasn’t done “in the name” of racism, but rather in the name of white nationalism, they’re neither “criminals” nor “thugs.”

Not that they ever could have been either of those things to begin with.

Trump made it clear in his campaign kickoff speech back in June 2015 just who he believes the real “criminals” are. (In case you forgot, he thinks they all descend from Mexico.) And the word “thug” is widely considered to be a racist code word born during the Reagan era—the Black male equivalent to a “welfare queen.”

Speaking to Newsweek in April 2015, author Michael Jeffries explained, “It’s not a coincidence that the rise of this word [thug] in the public sphere coincided with the uptick in the punishment and hyper-incarceration of black and brown people living in late 20th century urban America.”

So before we go applauding the Donald Trump for delivering a somewhat professional-sounding, five-and-a-half prepared statement without losing focus and going off on a tangent, let’s not forget, it took him three tries before getting it right.

And even then, he still didn’t get it right. Not really.


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