Monday, December 19, 2016

What Donald Trump Doesn’t Know About Black People - Note for a discussion, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United."

Michael Eric Dyson, New York Times

image (not from article) from
If there is a dirty secret in American life, it is this: The real unifying force [JB emphasis] in our national cultural and political life, beyond skirmishes over ideology, is white identity masked as universal, neutral and, therefore, quintessentially American. The greatest purveyors of identity politics today, and for the bulk of our country’s history, have been white citizens. ...
Mr. Trump’s vast ignorance of black life leads him to exaggerate the perils  confronting black Americans in all the wrong ways. He overlooks the nation’s vicious history of racism to proclaim that this is the worst racial epoch ever. It is a convenient ruse to make the period under President Obama a foil to his heroic rescue of black people through his magical political powers. ...
Attention to diversity and identity does not undercut our nation’s embrace of
democratic ideals; it strengthens them.
The black struggle for freedom has ensured
that other groups could follow along in the wake of our demand for equality. When
the 1964 civil rights bill was in doubt in Congress, white opponents of the bill
thought they could sink it by attaching the issue of gender, hoping to appeal to the
sexism of those who might otherwise be cajoled to offer their support. Instead, the
bill passed, and paved the way for both black rights and those of women. What’s
good for black people is good for the nation. ...
Now we hear again the cry that the neglected white working class is the future of
American progressive politics. The tragedy is that much of the professed concern
about the white working class is a cover for the interests of white elites who evoke
working-­class solidarity to combat racial, sexual and gender progress.
Identity has always been at the heart of American culture. We must confront a
truth that we have assiduously avoided: The most protected, cherished and nurtured
identity of all has been white identity. After all, the needs of the black and brown
working classes, which are not exclusively urban, are, again, even in progressive
quarters, all but forgotten.
Mr. Trump, and to a degree, the liberals and progressives who advocate a vision
of America that spurns identity politics, make one thing clear: The real unifying
in American political life is whiteness, no matter its party, gender, region or, at
times, even its class.

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