Trump Voters (Unwittingly?) Mainstreaming Racism

Photo shared on Facebook that questions who’s more wrong: racists who want to kill and who have killed? Or people against racism.

I never thought any friends of mine would defend Nazis.

Now, by “friends” I’m talking about Facebook friends who I haven’t actually met in person.

I “met” these folks when they responded to posts I made during the 2016 Presidential race. They were Trump supporters and I engaged because I was trying to figure out why they liked him.

The one thing we did agree on is that our government serves the interests of the elite over ordinary citizens.

But after last weekend’s clash between racists and anti-racists in Charlottesville, Virginia my Facebook feed contained posts that said, basically:

The media’s ignoring violence done by the left.

Making racism safe again?

I can’t help but wonder if someone on the alt-right is encouraging this line of thought in order to make racism seem both acceptable and widespread.

After all Steve Bannon is obsessed with “The Fourth Turning” (1997) by two amateur historians who claim the world faces a major crises every 80 years… and who predict a racist future:

If you belong to a racial or ethnic minority, brace for a nativist backlash from an assertive (and possibly authoritarian) majority.

FoxNews: Neo-Nazi praise for Trump.

At least some of these folks don’t seem to see themselves as racist. As one told me:

I completely and unequivocally oppose all racist thoughts, speech, images, videos, film or any other media or spoken word, but will defend everyones First Amendment rights, even if it is to be ignorant.

I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. But I responded:

I suspect you see yourself as defending Trump and not as promoting racism, but defending the KKK and Neo-Nazis does, in fact, support racists.

I worry that it works to harbor domestic terrorism and to mainstream racism.

These folks are defending Nazis/KKK by equating them to anti-racists — or worse, saying they aren’t even as bad as anti-racists:

“Oh, Nazi’s/KKK are just the same as the anti-racists.” Even though Nazi’s/KKK promote killing (Jews, blacks, non-protestants…) and have killed — running a car into a crowd of anti-racists.

Yes, that is defending racism.

So sad that some folks are mainstreaming racism, whether they realize it or not.


Neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer praises Trump’s comments on #Charlottesville 

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on August 17, 2017, in race/ethnicity and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.

  1. Trump has essentially created a perfect outlet for racism to proliferate. As President it is undeniable that he had a lot of attention directed at him, and he certainly generated plenty of media attention around his racist comments. This only allowed supporters to become more vocal, and believe that they had a certain sense of security and whatever they said was in the right. He practically gave implicit permission to display acts of racism. A friend pointed out that this was especially made worse by his presence on social media, which easily amplified his racist rhetoric. Not only that, but really never really denounced acts of racism and at times offered thinly veiled support for it.

  2. I think that Trump has motivated many ignorant people to be racist to minorities since he ran for president. His racist and ignorant remarks in the public eye and the fact that he doesn’t receive any kind of punishment for them encourages his followers to do the same exact thing, to be their true racist selves in public life, as well as in their private life. It has become more and more common in households because of Trump’s presidential term. His influence caused the riot at the US Capitol recently as his power still remains after the election. He strongly believes in overturning the results so his followers will too.

    • Trump certainly encourages his followers to be “out” with their racism/sexism… and to act on it. When Obama was president many people thought that racial prejudice was gone. But continuing racism was clearly revealed under Trump.

  3. My concern in this does not from the violence and chaos inflicted by bigoted whites. Nazis, the KKK, this is all to be expected. My concern lies in the pathway lit and guided by black people living in a sick illusion, that made way for neo-nazi and fascist groups in America in 2020. My question is, why are people of color lacking empathy toward their own races? Why are black people in a delusion that D. T**** is not racist? Moreover, colorism is real: why aren’t people talking about it? Forget white people, why are black people in on this scheme? They turn a blind eye to the hatred, the slurs, the disregard and total lack of empathy toward their own race, on the part of this administration. Not condemning white supremacist is being actively racist, and this is (but not for much longer) a president. For a president to support groups like the KKK and the “proud” boys, and for black people to not see it for what it is, is baffling and scary. So if you are supporting a man like this, then you are just as racist, no excuses. Even if you are black, you can be racist, and you most likely are if you see nothing wrong with T**** and his mockery of your people. And in terms of delusion, what about women? The things that have actually come out of T****’s mouth is unfathomably sexist and demeaning toward all women, yet there are some that love him. They ignore his slanderous antics and give way for more, if not encourage more. What is heartbreaking is the people that take part in this hatred against their own kind. Black people that hate other black people because they are dark skinned. Mexicans that look down on black people, dismissing the fact that they are minorities too. Even light skinned Asians and darker Asians (in both the East and Middle East). Or African Americans not considering Afro-Latinx people “black”, even though they’re from the Caribbean or Haiti, or the DR. This has been going on for centuries and it doesn’t make sense that it hasn’t yet stopped. Division has been undoubtedly ever-present in these last four years, but never would I have thought it would present itself so strongly, so publicly (and without shame) amongst people of the same class, race, gender, socio-economic status, religion, etc., and simply be accepted as partisan politics. The hatred for dark skinned black people, by light skinned blacks, has manifested itself through the fascination and glorification of light skinned black women by black men. Disappointing is an understatement. And as a person of color, a once divorced (once single) mother of two, a biracial, bisexual daughter of an immigrant mother and a black man in a America, I worry for myself, as I fit every category worthy of condemnation by the supporters of the new era of bigotry we have found ourselves in. And this condemnation may very well come from my own brothers and sisters.

  4. Hello from the future! Biden has won the 2020 Election! Although I do think that it is a problem that 47% of people voted for Trump. Trump called the Covid-19 pandemic “chinese death disease” and won’t condemn white supremacy. This was obviously a huge problem. Under trump’s presidency I feel as though all he’s done is divide the country even more. Calling Covid-19 the “Chinese death virus” instigated asian racism, which honestly has been too normalized. Trump also even calls BLM a symbol of hate. BLM is a movement where we’re fighting for equality because black americans have always been oppressed and Trump takes it as a joke. Trump wants to “Make America Great Again” when it was never even that great! During an interview with Jordan Klepper, he asks Trump supporters, “when do you think America was great?” A majority of the supporters replied with when the nation was founded or right after the end of world war 2. When our nation was first founded, slavery was still a problem and after world war 2 was segregation. What Trump and his supporters mean by “Make America Great Again” is that they want to bring back racism.

  5. I think it is so interesting at this point in time how many people support Trump. I want to start off by saying I am not fully educated in politics and am open to learning a lot more. But the first thing I would like to mention is how I feel as if I am not even safe to state my own opinions about politics because people get so heated and angry if you don’t have the same beliefs as them. As being a minority who has grown up in an entire white, christian, conservative family, it is really hard for me to identify my place in politics. I think Trump has created such hatred for minorities and there’s this new unexplainable tension that I believe has been brought up since he became president. In the past four years, I was called the entire N word three times by students at a very popular Catholic High school. I think the way Trump is speaking out about immigration and the status of minorities is what is making people who are secretly racist feel as if they have a right to now speak out about it publicly. People aren’t as afraid to be racist, or say derogatory comments towards people because of the example that is set upon them by the President of the United States. I just personally think Trump should have discussed these extremely sensitive topics in a different manner that didn’t cause a major divide in the entire country of whose opinion is the right one.

  6. Kimberly Welch

    I think it’s incredibly sad, that just after two years this post was written, our country is divided more than ever and we’ve become immune to some of the deplorable and disgusting rhetoric spewed from the White House. A question that I would like to ask all citizens who voted for Trump or are planning to vote for him again for re-election, would be are you satisfied in how the country is still being run? Are you satisfied, that there are still thousands of children locked up in detention camps and many of which are separated from their families? Are you satisfied with the demonizing and hateful comments made by the president towards minorities: (African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Jews, and Muslims) and placing their livelihoods’ in jeopardy? Are you satisfied, with the number of mass shootings our country is continuing to face? Many innocent people/ victims are losing their lives through these senseless acts of violence, which are derived from the incredibly racist, misogynistic, and hateful rhetoric provided by the man in office. Are you satisfied, that many of our “allies” we’ve established globally are in the process of diminishing the U.S. as a whole, and exiting out of NATO? Are you satisfied that the man in office praises dictators, and places other interests ahead of the American people?

    I believe that in this very moment, we are in a state of a national emergency. Three mass shooting have occurred back to back, and both political parties are completely torn and divided on important issues, that could make or break the country. It’s crazy how news outlets such as FOX or OAN make comparisons of violence constructed from both the “right” and “left”, which is furthest from the truth. The “right” continues to stay complicit on the problematic issues brought forth by the president. During times like these, it’s tremendously hard to stay quiet and it’s terrifying to know what to expect next, since our place of “comfort” so to speak is no longer safe.

  7. I realize this post is from about a year ago, but I found it interesting how relevant it still is today. Every time I turn on the news, it seems that yet another white person has called the cops on an innocent African American doing no harm. These videos have gone viral and the world has watched everyone from Barbecue Becky call the cops on an African American family having a picnic at the park to Permit Patty phoning the police because an 8 year old African American girl was selling water bottles to save up money to go to Disneyland. These are just two examples of the many recent situations in which overt racism has been seen by the world through videos. I do not believe that it’s over in any way, nor is this a new wave of racism that has hit our country. Racism is in the roots of this country; the very foundation of how the settlers took over this land was built on the belief that they were better than the indigenous people’s whose home they stole. There has never been a time that racism did not exist. Whether it may seem that people have changed their ways, this administration’s election into office is clear proof that it’s not the case. Furthermore, the tolerance of Trump’s Islamophobia, white supremacy, and xenophobia can be seen in the countless decisions he’s made including banning transpeople from the military, the travel ban, calling other countries “shitholes,” and locking children in cages. The fact that he is still in office proves that a large population of American citizens condone this behavior. Ever since his election, hate crimes have skyrocketed. I remember reading about an Indian man who was shot in a bar after being told to go back to his country, being mistaken for a Muslim person. The tragedy of Charlottesville still gives me goosebumps that such a thing could occur in this supposedly new age. Of course, all of these racist folks existed before, but now they are seeing our president give them approval to act on it. If any silver lining in such a situation, it would be that at least now, all those people who claimed racism was dead during the Obama administration now have no argument left. We are finally forced to confront the ugliness of our country.

  8. An interesting quote from former white nationalist, R. Derek Black (whose last name is ironic):

    “The most effective tactics for white nationalists are to associate American history with themselves and to suggest that the collective efforts to turn away from our white supremacist past are the same as abandoning American culture.”

  9. I learned something new unless it’s false, you probably know better or can clarify if it’s true or not or fear mongering from Fox news. But I found the violence from the nationalists and nazis and that group repulsive. And the murder horrible that happened where 2 cops and a girl died from being driven through. So I definitely do think the actions and what such people represent is worse and the confederate flag represents racism. I learned though that this was not simply taking down confederate flags, but liberals apparently wanting and going through to take down historical statues all across the southern states or US? If that’s the case as far as the statues, that’s not right. They are still part of history whether people like it or not. George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, should we take statues down of them anywhere in the US too?

    • Yes, it’s statues. Here’s my thoughts:

      1) These statues weren’t put in place right after the Civil War, they were put in place after blacks got more rights. Maybe after the 1964 Civil Rights Act. And they were put there to remind blacks every time they walked passed them that the South had fought to keep them in slavery. So the reason for putting them up is different from the reason we installed the Washington Monument or the Jefferson Memorial

      2) Washington and Jefferson have their faults but they were the founders of this country. Robert E Lee and Jefferson Davis we’re fighting to destroy the country. They were traitors.

      Given that if they want to keep the statues I don’t have a problem with putting them in a museum as a mark of our history but they shouldn’t be in public places reminding everyone of how hard the South fought to keep blacks enslaved.

      Also interesting that it was the KKK and neo-Nazis who are fighting so hard to keep the statues. That tells you something right there.

      • George Washington was a traitor too. Can we not acknowledge a certain nobility in someone defending their homeland, just because history went the other way?

        George Washington: traitor to his country, owned slaves.
        Robert E Lee: traitor to his country, owned slaves, HOWEVER did speak out against slavery.

        Why is General Lee not given the pass that George Washington was?

      • George Washington was a traitor to England, not to America.

        He did hold slaves and that is an unfortunate but it is not why we celebrate him. We celebrate him for founding our country.

        Members of the confederacy were both traitors and celebrated for trying to sustain slavery.

  10. Punch a white nationalist is ok right? Because some guy 70 years ago did bad stuff.

    So it’s ok to punch a Muslim right? Same twisted leftist logic.

    • It’s not okay to punch anyone.

      But defending racists, who promote the lynching of blacks and putting Jews in ovens; and equating anti-racists and white supremacists is an attempt to mainstream racism. And that is wrong.

  11. How many times can the Left call Trump voters racist or deplorable. It didn’t work in the election and it doesn’t work now, if you note the various election results since the Presidential election.

    It seems the Left thinks people who voted for Trump like him. Could it be that they were really voting against failed Leftist policies.

    The Left, the media and most of the Republican party are the establishment. Again, you don’t need a weather man to tell you which way the wind is blowing, Bernie or Trump; both are anti-establishment, except Bernie gave up the battle sort of went with Hillary.

    And some of you will simply dismiss me as a typical Trump supporter, who voted twice for President Obama. Hey, you might be right (smile).

    • If it walks like a duck…

      It’s not all Trump voters (I know people who voted for Trump who aren’t racist), but everyone who has been defending the neo-Nazis and who has tried to equate racists and non-racists do you happen to be Trump voters.

      Equating racists and non-racists, and defending KKK and neo-Nazis, is deplorable.

      I’m not sure what you mean by “it won’t work.” It won’t work to do what? It won’t work to help Trump supporters to see how some of them are helping to mainstream racism? You may be right. But one can try.

      Did you see this quote from the post “The one thing we (me and Trump supporters) did agree on is that our government serves the interests of the elite over ordinary citizens.”

      But that isn’t caused by left-leaning policies it is caused by right-leaning policies.

      America experienced a great expansion of the middle-class when we were the most left-leaning: FDR through Eisenhower through Nixon and through Carter.

      Details here:

      Mostly due to Republican politics we have seen a massive redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the top. (due to things like legal bribery, union busting, not raising the minimum wage, lower tax cuts for the wealthy and tax shelters…)

      But Republicans are good at blaming women and people of color for the problems blue-collar men face. I’ve written more on that in posts I’ll link to below.

      But because a lot of people don’t understand the real cause of their problems they were hoping that Trump would be the Messiah they were looking for. He can be good at saying what he thinks people want to hear. But he has no idea how to govern in the political world. Or to even be politic.

      Many people were desperate enough to vote for him at the last minute hoping he would be what he said. I think they’re learning that he is not — like I said, he only has about 34% approval in this country.

      Vote to Help the Rich, Hurt Yourself
      Why Fight Against Your Interests?
      Vote to Lower Your Wages
      No Longer Blinded by the Right

      Big Money Drowns Out Citizen Speech

  12. Trump’s council of top corporate leaders disbanded after he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them.

  13. When any oppressed group, POC or women, start to gain power there is a backlash. This is no different.

    • That’s true. There seems to be two steps forward and one step back. President Obama was two steps forward and this reaction is one step back.

      Seems like this is hurting the Republican brand. Trumps favorable’s were down to 34% over the weekend (Fri-Sun) and many of the people who were polled on that hadn’t heard about his reaction supporting neo-Nazis and the KKK. And some people will probably be for him despite that because of other things like the hope for tax cuts — which doesn’t make Republicans look too good. We’ll see what happens.

      • “Seems like this is hurting the Republican brand.”

        Laughable…How many elections have the Dems won since Nov 8th? Zippy.

        How many state legislatures do Republicans have? How many Governorships? Shall I continue?

        The heartland of America clearly see Democrats for who they are: they despise ordinary Americans.

        As for the two steps forward under Obama..what a joke.

      • You should read Dark Money. Unless you are actually aligned with them and already know this and it works in your interest.

        Most Americans are not that interested in politics and they are too busy just trying to survive to pay attention to the ins and outs. As a result money in politics is hugely persuasive. Wealthy interests that only care about money for themselves have put a tremendous amount of money into Think tanks and political campaigning — it’s a good return on investment.

        These moneyed interests are really good at manipulating people into voting against their interests and in the interest of the wealthy. See the links I sent you in another comment for more info.

        That’s why Republicans win so much. Most people don’t pay attention except for the advertising. And these guys are really good at advertising, And lying if it will get you to vote for them.

        Once they got power –just in time for the 2010 census — they then gerrymandered to create safe seats.

        Et voila! The Republicans have overtaken most of our elected offices. Even as they –as Trump said correctly — only advance the interests of the elite.

    • Where ANY group of people feel they are being marginalized or ridiculed and blamed, it is only human for that group or individual to fight back.

      The hypocrisy of liberals and the left is they always tout themselves as being morally superior. It is BIG lie of course.

      If you are a white male and you pay the majority of income taxes, you subsidize lazy people, bankroll the welfare state, then see how you are mocked in TV ads, blamed for the ills of society, how would you feel?

      Look at Kathy Griffin. She does something stupid, then says white men are the blame. But, I am willing to bet you a white man signs her checks.

      Our goal must be a unity of ideas. Identity politics has become a scourge and stain to America’s progress. Why? It causes division. But, you have one party that cannot win anything unless it plays to special groups, like women and feminist, Black, Hispanics, gays…..”protected classes.” How about having a message for ALL Americans?

      • For a black man you are oddly attuned to the white male over others, including over black men.

        The core problem: Mostly due to Republican politics we have seen a massive redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the top. (due to things like legal bribery (huge campaign contributions) which leads to policy like this: union busting, outsourcing, off-shoring, automation, not raising the minimum wage, pulling back the Earning Income Tax Credit, lower taxes for the wealthy and tax shelters for them too. (Some of that is political and some not — like the automation and globalization — but the gov could do more to relieve the stress of the transition — but hands-off Republicans don’t want that!)

        Trump trumpeted this fact: the Republican elite only help the elite!

        Against this, Republicans are good at blaming women and people of color for the problems working men face. I’ve written more on that in posts I link to below.

        Vote to Help the Rich, Hurt Yourself
        Why Fight Against Your Interests?
        Vote to Lower Your Wages
        No Longer Blinded by the Right

        Big Money Drowns Out Citizen Speech

      • “For a black man you are oddly attuned to the white male over others, including over black men.”

        I want a better America. Remember that America where people are judged based on the content of their character and not the color of their skin? Maybe you have forgotten. I care about ALL Americans. ALL.

        Today we have a country divided because of multiculturalism advanced by a party that cannot win elections without pitting races and sexes against one another.

      • All of the people on the left I know want what is good for people of every gender and color. It is the right that works to divide and conquer the working class (So that working-class whites will vote for tax cuts for billionaires and fight against affordable care for the middle class) by creating and appealing to racism and sexism. Remember the Southern Strategy? And what happened in Charlottesville reflects the same thing. Plus Trump’s reaction to it.

  14. I am not an American, but the press does not seem to have anything good to say about your president. I don’t think your president has a mandate to do anything worthwhile during his tenure. He seems reactionary and acts like a lost puppy. No offence… Obama was so much more eloquent, perhaps one of the best presidents America had

  15. It also seems important to point out that a large proportion of those in “Unite the Right” who turned up to Charlottesville were NOT racists. Don’t believe me? Watch this video:

    They came to support the constitution and free speech.

    • I’ll post this because you and the video are an example of what I was talking about. Except that the Facebook friends I’m talking about here actually condemn racism/white supremacy, but you and the guys in this video don’t.

      These guys, and you, suggest that normal, decent people are willing to protest alongside Nazis and KKK. That’s an attempt to mainstream racism, and telling a lie.

      No one is contending the First Amendment. But the other side (the left) has a right to protest Nazi/KKK hateful speech, too.

      This video does not establish what you say it does. And I noticed that the guy center stage has a big skull on his shirt — ‘nuf said.

      • Were not communists also protesting along side Martin Luther King in the 60s?

      • There is no comparison to communists, who say “from each according to their ability to each according to their need” (a system that doesn’t work so well in the real world) and KKK/Nazis who say that white males are superior to everyone else and for whom killing has been a key part of their agenda: lynching and genocide.

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