Monday, February 29, 2016

Donald Trump and White Supremacists

I'm sure this isn't exactly "news" to anyone reading this post–I mean, hello, "[Mexicans are] rapists?' Or how about the claim that there were Muslims in New Jersey cheering on 9/11? Regardless of if you think these comments were for publicity and are thus harmless or if you think they're deeply, troublingly, problematic no matter their reason, there's no denying that these comments will attract the support of...certain groups. 

Racist groups. White supremacists. The KKK. (In fact, he's been endorsed by a KKK biggie, Mr. David Duke, and another biggie white supremacist, Jared Taylor, who, up to this point, has never supported a presidential candidate.)

Of course, you can't help who you attract...right? But consider this–after David Duke endorsed him, Trump refused to condemn the KKK or David Duke, responding to an interviewer's inquiry of his reaction with a couple of beats around the bush. And, as John Oliver put it, at some point, there's no difference between pretending to be a racist, such as for publicity reasons, and being a racist.

So, assuming that Trump is not as offensive as this author thinks he is, and this whole thing is a publicity stunt...what would the consequences be of him becoming president? How could he change the political landscape–could he cause a realignment, a split of the Republican party? And what does his popularity indicate about Americans and their awareness of or sensitivity to race-related issues?

(Sorry that you have to see this guy's name on a headline for the gajillionth time.)



Tara Young said...

I think that Trump made a huge mistake by not denouncing the support of the white supremacists. He will and probably is facing consequences now that will significantly impact his success in his presidential campaign, possibly stopping him from becoming president. He may have even alienated supporters, even if they are white, and alienated himself from the majority of the Republican party. I believe the best course of action would have been for Trump to have immediately rejected the support of the white supremacists because otherwise, he is and would have been negatively impacted in respect to supporters based on association. It is more important how the public perceives presidential candidates no matter what is the truth sometimes. I think Trump possibly made a enormous political career changing mistake by not rejecting the white supremacists.

Crystal Lee said...

While I would love to agree with you (really, please, Trump please stop HAVING a political career), the timing of your comment is interesting because it coincides with Super Tuesday. According to Google's primary tracker (Sourced from AP), Trump has won a majority of all available delegates by a HUGE margin, with Ted Cruz coming in second place, 125 delegates behind. So why do you think the KKK endorsement and Trump's reaction didn't seem to significantly impact the election? I mean, good grief, the man won Massachusetts.

Caroline Mameesh said...

This is just scary. Being half Egyptian, I do my best to keep up with Muslim-American news, and there actually have been quite a few attacks on Muslims in the United States courtesy of the anti-Muslim garbage Trump is spewing out. I have just done a brief google search to get further evidence for the heartbreak I have seen among the Muslim-American community, and I learned that, since the Paris attacks, there have been two dozen reported attacks on Muslims. These range from verbal assaults to violent beatings, one woman defending herself by saying "free speech is no longer free speech." (Government class has taught us all otherwise, thankfully.)

Additionally, I learned that the KKK is recruiting volunteers in Alabama to "fight the spread of Islam in our country," just to further support what Crystal says about David Duke's endorsement.

The words Trump is saying are having real effects on real people in America, whether or not he realizes (or cares). If he becomes president, I fear that attacks such as those that we have been seeing will continue to skyrocket, against Muslims and who knows what other groups. Those who produce the attacks will continue to be "inspired" by Trumps' words.

How did he get so popular anyway? How did he beat Cruz? Because, while what he says may be wrong, there are a lot of people who just do not see it as such. Why is there so much anti-Muslim bigotry? Because people still house it in their hearts, even 15 years after 9/11. Trump is just giving them an excuse to voice how they feel. He's tapping into fears and hates that have previously existed, so why wouldn't these people jump on the opportunity to elect someone who they can use as a scapegoat to voice their malicious opinions?

Louis Villa said...

I think that if Trump became president, it would reflected the American public very badly to the rest of the world. But I dont think there would be any dramatic changes in how minorities are treated by the government. I think it would be nearly impossible for Trump to pass any racist legislation through congress, and even if he was able to, the bureaucracy would probably try its best to any of it from going into action.

Crystal Lee said...

Louis, so you don't think that it's inevitable that the GOP will get behind Trump if he really is their only choice? It's times like these when you start to question the balance between party loyalty and your own personal morals (although, of course, there are other motivations for rejecting Trump). I do agree that it would probably reflect pretty badly on the American public, but how much practical impact would that have in international relations? Also, if Trump can appoint the heads of agencies, will his appointees get through? And if they do, couldn't their agencies simply implement the policies he wants–like to "build a wall and make Mexico pay for it"?

Caroline--same. To address one of the questions in your final paragraph (I know it was rhetorical): I think there's still so much Islamophobia because not only is it still very fresh in our minds (a majority of Americans today probably were alive during the attacks and probably watched them on television, and a lot of Americans lost loved ones), but also because terrorism is still a very real and active threat today, and terrorist groups wreak havoc and pain and misery where they have influence. Also, I think there definitely is a narrative that terrorist groups somehow embrace Islam (and are the preachers of Islam to Muslims everywhere? Doesn't make sense for very good reasons), and therefore all practitioners are the same, which ignores facts like most of the people ISIS kills are Muslims ( So while I, personally, hate Islamophobia and wish it would stop, I'm not surprised it's still around.

Danny Halawi said...

As a practicing Muslim in the United States, I personally wouldn't feel comfortable with someone like Trump becoming our president. To me, it's not that I look down on him for being a racist, but rather that I condemn him for being public with his views. Many people in the United States are inherently racist, it's an unfortunate fact. However, it becomes a problem when we take negative, physical action toward a certain group for coming from a certain place. Yes, radical Muslims were involved in the attack on 9/11. Yes, illegal immigrants from Mexico have committed crimes in the United States. But rather than painting us all with the same brush, I hope that Mr. Trump would be a bit more mature and try to end the racism rather than promote its rampant cause.

Rachael Howard said...

I think the fact that Trump is even allowed run as a candidate is a disgrace to this country. Like yeah I get it freedom to do whatever yada yada yada but no candidate should be allowed to get ahead by insulting social groups. I mean the things he says are horrific for instance "if she wasn't my daughter I would probably be dating her". I mean based off of some things he has said, I do think it is more for publicity than his actual beliefs (or at least I hope) but the problem is that people are agreeing with what he is saying.
However, there has to be a bright side to all of this right?
I hope that all of the crazy things Trump says actually brings to light some of the problems he is highlighting in his insensitive remarks. For instance, we wouldn't be talking about this if Trump hadn't made those insensitive comments or at least we wouldn't be talking about it as much.