. . World News – AU – Trump lost. But racism is likely to win again.

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When the major media finally called the presidential election for Joe Biden, large numbers of people across the country took to the streets to celebrate. But as they popped champagne, danced next to their neighbors and cried tears of joy, the threatening question arose as to what would come next. The election may have been a referendum on Trump’s second term, but with more than 70 million votes in his favor, it was clearly not a referendum on Trumpism or the profound injustices that fueled his rise to power and captivated large sections of Americans.

Now that he has been defeated, let’s take one last look (promise!) at Trump’s history of racism. In the 1970s, the Justice Department sued him for refusing to rent to black people. After a white woman was raped in New York’s Central Park in 1989, he called for the execution of the five wrongly accused black and brown teenagers – and continued to rail against them even after DNA evidence proved her innocence. And then came his obsession with Barack Obama’s birth certificate. Trump’s presidential election began with describing Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals, a premonition of a presidency in which anyone perceived as different or disagreed with him would face at best ridiculed tweets and, at worst, cruel politics. Trump and his sycophants banned Muslims from entering the country, separated children from their parents at the border, and prevented refugees from settling here. But we know all of this.

The danger of treating Trump like some sort of aberration, like a stranger in the night who caught democracy off guard, is that we mistakenly believe that just a simple act such as choosing his opponent will restore decency can become a nation. However, last summer’s race calculation, when millions of people finally began to understand what blacks have always known, proved that even well-intentioned liberals had no idea how serious the problem of ingrained white supremacy is. Trump would not have been so successful in his campaign against racism and hatred if this country hadn’t had many opportunities to take advantage of those feelings.

Think about how Trump and his makers reacted to his defeat. Instead of acknowledging the loss and embarking on a peaceful transition, they filed frivolous lawsuits claiming that votes in Philadelphia, Detroit and Atlanta were « illegal ». « (His loyal lawyer and advisor Rudolph Giuliani tweeted, » The only thing that would have surprised me would be if Philly hadn’t cheated on a massive scale in the 2020 elections. It would have been the first time in 60 years that they’d missed such an opportunity. It is not by chance that these epicentres of black voters helped secure Biden’s election. The message was clear: black people who voted for Biden are out of wedlock. These outlandish claims failed to reverse the election results, but they normalized another authoritarian maneuver and provided Republicans with a game book for future races. This tactic was no coincidence: For decades, the GOP has told stories of electoral fraud and tried to disenfranchise black and brown communities with voter ID requirements and other laws. Trump’s cries for manipulated voices and his demand for pointless recounts were a last resort with worrying consequences for marginalized people. They were also a fitting end to his chaotic and racist presidency.

In judging how a demagogue comes to power, the turning points in history are edifying. The Declaration of Emancipation, the Civil Rights Act and the election of the first black president were each confronted with backlash – or whitelash. Jim Crow laws, lynchings, and the strategy of the south led to the modern GOP and of course Trump. An American autocrat would always come to power through racism. According to political scientists Nicholas Davis and Steven Miller, “The only common thread in American democracy is that white Americans have a poor track record of racial and democratic equality issues. « Democracy is undermined when intolerant whites realize that it is a system that seeks to extend basic rights to all.

Supporters trying to get Trump posters distributed at the Trump rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, 2020.

If we are to prevent the rise of an even smarter authoritarian leader, we have to somehow fix the weaknesses and immorality in our system that Trump has expertly manipulated. Because although Trump’s worst attacks were directed against marginalized groups, the politics that emerge from racism do not spare whites. Look at the coronavirus. People – disproportionately colored people – who had no choice but to go to the frontlines became cannon fodder for the virus. And when COVID first exploded in cities populated by blacks and browns, the whites who opposed science in favor of « freedom » convinced themselves that wearing masks was part of a conspiracy, or at least not their responsibility. The virus then inevitably stormed through white communities – not to mention the White House.

There are indications that a Biden presidency could mark the beginning of racial reconciliation. His government will set up a task force to investigate the racial differences between COVID-19. This realization that people of the same color get sick is not a deviation, but a characteristic of our unequal society. But first there has to be a consensus on what racial reconciliation means. Even well-meaning people have found it difficult to accept that there is a disease that goes much deeper than Trump.

It will be good to have a president who does not defend armed whites who kill protesters and who does not see the presidency as a means of enriching himself and family members. But at least for this black woman, after 400 years of white supremacist ideology devaluing our lives, that’s not enough. Biden must commit to incorporating racist impact into all of its policies. While the GOP has offered nothing but complaints policy and has managed to convince its base to endure misery as long as people of skin color are miserable, Biden’s presidency can prove what is good for blacks – health care, housing, ending the pandemic, fighting against climate change – is good for us all.

However, this will only happen if white Americans (or enough of them) also commit to this process of self-examination. No sooner had election results appeared than the commentary began, lamenting the notion that various groups of blacks and browns in the polls did not appear in the projected numbers. It is time for white Americans to turn their election criticism inward. Trump became president because a majority of whites voted for him in 2016. Biden didn’t win on a landslide for the same reason. Instead of shallow tales of how the brown and black voters didn’t do what was expected of them, the test needs to be reversed: How many people in your community voted for him?

An honest assessment of who we actually are as a country can only be made if the white vote and white in the broader sense are examined. Almost half of all voters still voted for Trump. Tens of millions took stock of the catastrophic treatment of the coronavirus pandemic, the widespread economic suffering that Trump and Republicans have barely undone, and the terrible increase in violence by white supremacists, and decided: This is the America we want. And that’s a problem that will persist long after Trump’s death.

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Racism, anti-racism, whites, Joe Biden

World News – AU – Trump lost. But racism is likely to win again.
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