Overt racists are easy to spot. America’s insidious racism is a greater challenge

Natalie Y Moore writes: White supremacy is more than overt displays of racial hatred as seen in the last few days. It is a system in which white people dominate others and dominate society. They are the default setting, if you like. They hold the power, even if unwillingly. Institutional racism means that even if a white individual does not embrace a white supremacist view, it’s very likely that person benefits from the rigged system.

A swift social media response to the images out of Charlottesville was #thisisnotus. Oh yes it is. America’s original sin is racism. For black people need look no further than slavery, to Jim Crow laws, to segregation, to today’s not-so-invisible hands guiding housing and education policy, the wage gap, health disparities, how banks give loans. One could also add police brutality, food insecurity and disinvestment in black and brown communities.

White supremacy makes up the very fabric of the United States. Racial terror and violence are a central part of our story. An interesting exercise is to compare footage of last weekend’s racial attacks and that of the 1960s. At first glance, the only real difference is that the latter was filmed in black and white.

Beyond our wider, deeper, societal issues, what has been particularly odd is how surprised many have been in the past week by Trump’s response and his implicit nod to white supremacist groups. The idea that he was a blustery political neophyte, rough around the edges, who would clean up his racial language once in the White House has never made any sense. Up until Friday, ultra-rightwing media executive white nationalist Steve Bannon served as White House chief strategist.

But I’ll tell you who’s not surprised by Trump’s actions – black people, especially black women: 94% of black women voted for Hillary Clinton, the highest figure among any demographic.

Maya Angelou, the African American poet, memoirist and civil rights activist, once said: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Trump hardly hid what kind of president he would be on racial matters – he publicly revealed to the nation his leanings for decades. Indeed, he jumped into the political fray via “birtherism”, the absurd conspiracy theory that questioned President Barack Obama’s citizenship. Trump swung from one media outlet to another declaring Obama’s birth certificate was fake, therefore disqualifying him for president. He gained traction, by disparaging the country’s first black president with a fanciful and noxious allegation. [Continue reading…]

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