Robert P. Jones writes: On the surface, the answer to why the campaign rallies of Donald Trump have been frequently marked by vitriolic and racist outbursts, harsh rhetoric and even violence is simple: the candidate has encouraged it. But the raw materials Trump has at his disposal have been mined and refined for nearly half a century. Trump is not the source but an igniting spark.
The apocalyptic rhetoric that regularly escapes the bounds of civil discourse at Trump events is fueled by the particular energies that are unleashed when a long-dominant group senses the looming end of its era. Certainly, the boarded up shop fronts of small towns that testify to the disappearance of reliable working class jobs are a critical part of this sense of loss and distress. But the watershed moment that many analysts have missed, and that Trump’s most ardent supporters feel in their bones, is this: During Barack Obama’s tenure as president, the United States has crossed the threshold from being a majority white Christian country (54 percent in 2008) to a minority white Christian country (45 percent in 2015). The passing of a coherent cultural world — where working class jobs made ends meet and white conservative Christian values held sway — has produced this powerful politics of white Christian resentment. [Continue reading…]
Buzzfeed reports: The chairman of the American Nazi Party, Rocky Suhayda, declared on his radio program last month that a Donald Trump victory would present a great opportunity for white nationalists to build pro-white coalitions.
“I’m gonna project, that I believe that Trump is going to win the election this November, for various reasons which I don’t want to go into again,” Suhayda said on his radio program’s July broadcast. “I think it’s gonna surprise the enemy, because, I think that they feel that the white working class, especially the male portion of the working class, and with him his female counterparts have basically thrown in the towel. Given up hope of any politician again standing up for their interests.”
“Now, if Trump does win, okay, it’s going to be a real opportunity for people like white nationalists, acting intelligently to build upon that, and to go and start – you know how you have the black political caucus and what not in Congress, and, everything, to start building on something like that, okay,” continued the American Nazi. “It doesn’t have to be anti, like the movement’s been for decades, so much as it has to be pro-white. It’s kinda hard to go and call us bigots, if we don’t go around and act like a bigot. That’s what the movement should contemplate. Alright.” [Continue reading…]
The Associated Press reports: Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke announced Friday on his website that he plans to run for U.S. Senate in Louisiana.
“I’m proud to announce my candidacy for the United States Senate,” Duke said in a video. “I believe in equal rights for all and respect for all Americans. However, what makes me different is I also demand respect for the rights and heritage of European Americans.”
Duke’s announcement came as the state is grappling with deep racial tensions after the shooting death of a black man by white police officers and the killing of three law enforcement officers by a black man. It also came one day after Donald Trump accepted the GOP nomination for president.
Duke said in the video, “I’m overjoyed to see Donald Trump and most Americans embrace most of the issues that I’ve championed for years. My slogan remains America first.” [Continue reading…]
The Guardian reports: Politicians have allowed xenophobia, Islamophobia and antisemitism to enter the mainstream as a result of their toxic and divisive campaigning, according to Lady Warsi.
The Conservative peer and former party co-chair told the Guardian she was deeply worried about the current political climate, claiming a surge in “respectable racism” was feeding the far right.
“I was still disgusted but more comfortable with the racism of the 70s and 80s that was overt and thuggish, than this new form of respectable xenophobia where it is done in political circles, journalism and academia,” she said.
Warsi argued that the EU referendum and London mayoralty campaigns had helped create a climate in which people feel it is acceptable to tell long-established British communities “it’s time for you to leave”. [Continue reading…]
Kenan Malik writes: Debates about immigration are… rarely about numbers as such. They are much more about who the migrants are, and about underlying anxieties of nation, community, identity and values. ‘We should not forget’, claimed Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán, as Hungary put up new border fences, and introduced draconian new anti-immigration laws, ‘that the people who are coming here grew up in a different religion and represent a completely different culture. Most are not Christian, but Muslim.’ ‘Is it not worrying’, he asked, ‘that Europe’s Christian culture is already barely able to maintain its own set of Christian values?’
Many thinkers, Christian and non-Christian, religious and non-religious, echo this fear of Muslim immigration undermining the cultural and moral foundation of Western civilization. The late Oriana Fallaci, the Italian writer who perhaps more than most promoted the notion of Eurabia – the belief that Europe is being Islamicised – described herself as a ‘Christian atheist’, insisting that only Christianity provided Europe with a cultural and intellectual bulwark against Islam. The British historian Niall Ferguson calls himself ‘an incurable atheist’ and yet is alarmed by the decline of Christianity which undermines ‘any religious resistance’ to radical Islam. Melanie Phillips, a non-believing Jew, argues in her book The World Turned Upside Down that ‘Christianity is under direct and unremitting cultural assault from those who want to destroy the bedrock values of Western civilization.’
To look upon migration in this fashion is, I want to suggest, a misunderstanding of both Europe’s past and Europe’s present. To understand why, I want first to explore two fundamental questions, the answers to which must frame any discussion on inclusion and morality. What we mean by a diverse society? And why should we value it, or indeed, fear it?
When we think about diversity today in Europe, the picture we see is that of societies that in the past were homogenous, but have now become plural because of immigration. But in what way were European societies homogenous in the past? And in what ways are they diverse today?
Certainly, if you had asked a Frenchman or an Englishman or a Spaniard in the nineteenth or the fifteenth or the twelfth centuries, they would certainly not have described their societies as homogenous. And were they to be transported to contemporary Europe, it is likely that they would see it as far less diverse than we do.
Our view of the Europe of the past is distorted by historical amnesia; and our view of the Europe of the present is distorted by a highly restricted notion of diversity. When we talk of European societies as historically homogenous, what we mean is that they used to be ethnically, or perhaps culturally, homogenous. But the world is diverse in many ways. Societies are cut through by differences, not only of ethnicity, but also of class, gender, faith, politics, and much else. [Continue reading…]
David Wearing writes: “I’m not a racist, but…..”; “I haven’t got a racist bone in my body”; “it’s not racist to have concerns about immigration”. We’re all familiar with Britain’s broad repertoire of phrases for denying or downplaying prejudice. But with a fivefold increase in reported hate crimes since the Brexit vote, it is no longer tenable to sweep this issue under the carpet. We have to be honest. This country has a problem.
It is frequently said that, because a majority voted for Brexit, racism and xenophobia cannot be a significant part of the picture. This is consistent with the popular misconception that these forms of prejudice are restricted to the margins: a few far-right boot-boys, 1950s throwbacks and a handful of the socially maladjusted. It is a profoundly naïve assumption.
The proportion of people admitting racist views to pollsters is 29%, and given the social taboo around racism, the true number is likely to be higher (recall, for example, the UKIP councillor who said she had a problem with “negroes” because there was “something about their faces”, while simultaneously insisting that she was “not a racist”). A quarter of Britons say immigrants, including any British-born children, should be “encouraged” to leave the country – echoing the standard ‘send them back’ demand of the far right. A further 30% of those polled could not say that they definitely disagreed with that position. These figures are dismaying, but will only shock those who have never experienced racism, and the widespread complacency about it, for themselves. [Continue reading…]
Miriti Murungi writes: In the aftermath of the [Philando] Castile incident, and many others fitting the same utterly demoralizing profile, cell phones have been regularly trotted out as the hero. That’s because, without the footage, the country would probably have never seen police officers treating black bodies with the care of disposable video game villains.
Footage of police interactions with America’s black population has undeniably been the catalyst for a new era of public discussion about policing and race relations. And we’ve learned a lot about America from these videos. We’ve learned that police body cameras may be part of the solution to protecting black lives from senseless brutality at the hands of law enforcement. We’ve learned that video might be the most powerful weapon black people have against a system that stops and imprisons us at a maddening rate.
But none of that addresses what is arguably the more important issue: why black people need to furnish video evidence for America to listen to what they have been screaming from rooftops for generations. The answer is a truth that often gets lost in discussions praising technology: cell video is necessary for the protection of the black body in America because America doesn’t trust black people. [Continue reading…]
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) July 11, 2016
Jonathan Jones and Nell Frizzell write: A great photograph is a moment liberated from time. If we could see what happened before and after this beautiful stillness and hear the cacophony of yells and arguments that must have filled reality’s soundtrack at a protest in Baton Rouge against the taking of black lives, the heroic stand of Iesha L Evans would just be a fragile glimpse of passing courage. It might even be entirely lost in the rush of images and noise. Instead, Reuters photographer Jonathan Bachman was able to preserve a simple human act of quiet bravery and give it an almost religious power.
It is not just that time has frozen but that, in stopping its stream, the camera has revealed a near-supernatural radiance protecting Evans, as if her goodness were a force field. The heavily armoured police officers inevitably look slightly inhuman. They may have good reason to wear such all-covering protective suits and helmets, so soon after a sniper killed five officers who were policing a protest in Dallas but, in their hi-tech riot gear, they unfortunately resemble futuristic insectoid robots, at once prosthetically dehumanised and squatly, massively, menacingly masculine.
Evans, by contrast, shows her calm, composed face and bold, straight body, protected by nothing more than a dress fluttering in the summer breeze. She is a Botticelli nymph attacked by Star Wars baddies. And yet they seem to stop, to yield, held back by something that radiates from her inner composure, her possession of the truth. In the instant that Bachman has caught for ever, the two officers appear confused, paralysed, even defeated by her decorous protest. Their bodies arch backwards, away from her, recoiling in recognition of her power. The officer nearest to the camera looks truly nonplussed, out of his depth, his meaty white hands flailing. [Continue reading…]
Julian E Zelizer writes: “All of us, as Americans, should be troubled by these shootings, because these are not isolated incidents,” said President Barack Obama following the horrific shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. “They’re symptomatic of a broader set of racial disparities that exist in our criminal-justice system.” In an American tragedy of the nation’s own making, Obama will end his historic presidency with racial turmoil rocking the nation. The person whose election brought so much hope about the trajectory of race relations in the United States, a country that has perpetually suffered from the original sin of slavery, is spending these days desperately trying to calm the anger over police killings of African Americans and the protests and violence that have ensued.
Today, America has a president who understands the urgent need to address the problems of institutional racism that have been broadcast to the entire world through smartphones and exposés of a racialized criminal-justice system. But this conflict is taking shape right in the middle of a heated election season—one that includes a candidate who has made draconian proposals for national security and who appeals to the “Silent Majority.” Following the events in Dallas, Donald Trump released a statement that read: “We must restore law and order. We must restore the confidence of our people to be safe and secure in their homes and on the street.”
This is not the first time this has happened. When questions over race and policing were front and center in a national debate in 1968, the federal government failed to take the steps necessary to make any changes. The government understood how institutional racism was playing out in the cities and how they exploded into violence, but the electorate instead was seduced by Richard Nixon’s calls for law and order, as well as an urban crackdown, leaving the problems of institutional racism untouched. Rather than deal with the way that racism was inscribed into American institutions, including the criminal-justice system, the government focused on building a massive carceral state, militarizing police forces, criminalizing small offenses, and living through repeated moments of racial conflict exploding into violence. [Continue reading…]
Natalie Y Moore writes: After the shooting of Philando Castile in Minnesota last Wednesday, the state’s appalled governor, Mark Dayton, said police wouldn’t have killed Castile if he had been white. Here’s a white politician recognising racism and not swatting it away like a pesky mosquito. But we need to recognise that a rigged, racist system of police brutality is indicative of deep-seated institutionalised racism.
Many of our cities are defined by entrenched residential segregation that created black ghettos and continues to perpetuate inequity. This was not by accident. In the 20th century, the government created housing policies that discriminated against black people and favoured white people in terms of wealth building. Despite the idea of “separate but equal” being struck down by our courts, the ideology still lingers in housing and public education. This isn’t about hokey ideas of harmony, of black and white people smiling and getting along just for the sake of getting along. Instead, if we start to address segregationist policies, we may have some hope of creating fairness.
After racial uprisings in US cities in the 1960s, the Kerner Commission released a report, which asserted that our country was moving towards two societies: one black, one white, separate and unequal. The report said: “Segregation and poverty have created in the racial ghetto a destructive environment totally unknown to white Americans. What white Americans have never fully understood – but the Negro can never forget – is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it and white society condones it.”
These words still ring true today.
Police brutality isn’t isolated from other forms of racism. Segregation is about division, disinvestment and uneven resources based on race. In policing, we often see white officers who grew up in homogenous white places placed in black urban settings. These officers enter without understanding racial and cultural differences. It’s a set-up for failure.
Segregation isn’t about choosing to live among like-minded or racially similar people. American segregation is historic and intentional and must be a part of any conversation on race as the root of many of our problems. [Continue reading…]