White America Must Be Resisted by White People

2 out of 3 white Americans voted for Trump, including women, including college and non-college. That means if you’re white, most people in your family voted for Trump. Have a good Thanksgiving.

The United States has always been a colonial state where one ethnic group rules over others. But the Obama elections signaled a possible shift to a true multicultural coalition that could rule from the cities and establish a generally egalitarian state.

This election reverses that. We are apparently still a nation divided by ethnicity, even more than by wealth, religion, politics or geography. It’s not just that American whites are racist, it’s that there are so many of them, and now they will feel free to govern from that position. They have a democratic mandate to reinforce America as a white nation for another century.

I am very lucky that the changes about to come will not materially affect me or my family personally. I have a good job, I’m white, straight, I live in a liberal state, I will be fine. But that is what is so dangerous about this day. It’s easy to be ‘woke’ when the president is black, the media is liberal, and everything is going your way. Resistance to this new order will be much harder than going with the flow in an ever more progressive world. I fear that many would-be white allies will take a backseat until things get easier.

Why not? It won’t affect them much. They’ll insist ‘I didn’t vote for him!’ While their brother insults a Muslim. But the tinge of guilt they might feel at first will be drowned out by the comfort of the status quo, and acceptance by the larger society and power structures, which once again reaffirm their explicit supremacy. They’ll want to know all the facts before making a judgment about a hate crime. They’ll do the ‘responsible thing’ when Trump wants to open a new front in the Forever War to respond to the latest terrorist attack. They’ll laugh at the Daily Show and mock Trump’s ridiculous demeanor but they’ll wait to make a change until change is back in vogue, when it won’t mean sacrifice. Many will come out of the next ten years with a new appreciation for ‘fiscal conservatism’ or ‘common sense.’ Eventually, they’ll dust off their own red hats and wonder if he was right all along.

Economics was a key part of Trump’s appeal, despite the fact that he offered no real solution for the white working poor. He offered a scapegoat. And in the absence of a coherent argument from the left for interethnic solidarity against the ownership class, he thrived. The toxic mixture of economic hardship and racial animus is as old as history itself. To say we didn’t see it coming is to admit we’ve been asleep this whole time. But the economy will go up and down, and to attack the base of capitalism is a project that cannot be tackled without white voters. And white voters cannot be helpful to the cause as long as they assign the blame for their hardships on the Other. That impulse must be cleansed or tempered before real progress can take root.

I challenge white Americans to be the foot soldiers in the resistance to Trumpisme. We cannot sit back and let people of color and religious minorities take the bullets and then claim outrage. We need to put our own blood and treasure on the line – by protesting, volunteering, giving, sacrificing, and putting endless pressure on our own kin to forswear this ugly streak of racist nativism and come back to the light.

Categories: white people

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