It’s taken me some time to process your rise. On one hand I’m not surprised at the support your platform has received. On the other, though, I thought that the 21st Century required a bit more sophistication than your rhetoric, especially after 8 years of the first Black president.
It’s hard for me to really know where to begin when thinking about how we came to this place. There is the very real, but often scapegoated, working class white rage that surely played a part in your return to power. But that is too easy and simplistic an explanation. You see despite what Steve Bannon, your official White House mouthpiece, would like us to believe you are not about “economic nationalism.” You don’t give a shit about those working class white folks. The average income of Trump supporters is 72K, much more than I make despite my liberal education and cushy teaching job. Trump is a billionaire landlord, not somebody likely to endure themselves to the working poor. If this were simply about economics Bernie Sanders would be our president. Nope, this is about skin. More specifically, this is about white skin.
You already knew this. While Sanders refused to divest from his because well… he ran as a Democrat and that’s what Democrats do, you found a candidate that would totally embrace his. You packaged all your fragility, defensiveness and pure cowardice in a gilded Trump sign and sold it to folks. But not all of us. In fact the majority of the folks that participated in the theatre of electoral politics saw through your charade. Yet somehow you won. Let you tell it, you won because that is what white people do, win. Let you tell it, you won because, as Richard Spencer the head of the National Policy Institute, said: “To be white is to be a creator, an explorer, a conqueror.” The reality, and irony, of your movement can also be found in Spencer’s speech. You won because: “America was, until this last generation, a white country designed for ourselves and our prosperity.” See you won because it was designed for you to win. You are soft. You are fragile. You are a child living a coddled existence, a toddler throwing a tantrum. This is why you can resort to the illogical and ahistorical worldview you do, you don’t need to level up. You make claims a simple Google search proves false and believe your own nonsense. For example, you routinely espouse the exceptionality of Europeans, even to the point of claiming slavery as a brilliant business model, while ignoring that Algebra comes from the Arab world and that our very numbering system was developed in India. While you claim to be white is to be a conqueror you ignore that gunpowder, the tool that made the conquering possible, comes from China. You somehow believe Egyptians aren’t African. You forget Jesus was a brown man. You skip over Timbuktu and Mansa Musa. In your white cowardice you erase the real struggles and bravery of the very same working class you claim to speak to.
And this is the true tragedy of your position. Rather than embrace the beauty of humanity and the genius innate in creation you choose division. You choose disconnection from humanity, and that is the real price of whiteness. Instead of compassion you choose anger. Instead of cooperation you choose exploitation. Instead of sustainability and community you choose consumption and individualism. The resulting disconnect and isolation has made you a bully. And like any bully you must be challenged.
I feel bad for you. I truly do. I want you to be part of community. I want you to join with humanity and be part of the solution rather than the problem. I want to call you in. But you are showing your ass and it’s not ok. There is too much information out there. Too many folks of color have been breaking this shit down for you (us) for too long for you to be this belligerent. Shit, I’ve wrote plenty about the lie of whiteness, but you ain’t trying to hear none of that. You will say you are not racist because you don’t hate people of color. You might even bring up your friend who isn’t white (or that you are “mixed” like my cousin did) to excuse your allegiance to systems which, as you said, were “designed for [whites] and our prosperity.” Who loses in systems designed for others to succeed? Do they not matter? How do you turn your back on those people and not lose part of your soul?
You don’t want to face that truth, but until you do there is no hope for you. That hurts to write. I’m not giving up on you, if Glenn Beck can come around than so can you. But until then you are the opps and should be treated as such. You see whether you are as explicit and intentional as Trump, Spencer, Bannon or Duke makes no difference, your impact is the same. You supported the game plan, signed on for the same goals, you are on the same team. It will be a cold day in hell before I ever let you, or anybody that agrees with you, violate the humanity of people I love. And I’m not alone in this. People perceived as white all around the country are realizing they are active participants in this racial landscape. They agree with you, identity politics is essential, they just don’t buy into your identity. You are right there is an awakening, but it is in the tradition of John Brown and Myles Horton. We are unlearning the ways whiteness has disconnected us from our brothers and sisters around the world and embrace loving accountability as we learn how to reconnect. We are committed to justice. More importantly we stand opposed to you. You will not speak for us. Every time you attempt to we will be there to challenge and push back. We recognize the false choice you offer. You erase the multiracial rebellions that caused whiteness to develop in the first place. You ignore Bobby Sands and the Irish freedom fighters standing tall against English aggression and colonization whose struggle is bound in my DNA. You want me to choose you over the Ecuadorian and Mexicans scrapping to survive on Central Ave. You want me to choose you over the Somali refugees in Riverside. You want me to choose you over the Black family that saw their house foreclosed on just like the white families on the block I grew up on. You are counting on those systems set up for your prosperity to blind us to reality, we know you ain’t about us. We choose unity. You have a fight on your hands. We ain’t going.