BY LYDIA HOWELL
Donald Trump’s racism can’t be sincerely debated now. His press conference speechwriter-created “denouncement” of racism is meaningless—which Tweets and his next rally ranting will contradict.
Racists, neo-Nazi and white supremacist militia groups claim Trump as their own.
Trump is directly quoted by the mass murderers who massacred Muslims in Christchurch; killed praying Jews in the Pittsburgh synagogue; and targeted Latinos in El Paso. Trump’s defense of Charlottesville “fine people” white supremacists was a warning—excused by many.
For years, Trump was the biggest megaphone of the “birther” conspiracy theory against President Obama—a Big Lie worthy of Nazi propagandist Josef Goebbels. He kicked off his presidential campaign defaming Mexicans as criminals, recently adding “disease-ridden” as he relentlessly scapegoats Latinos—continued at his Cincinnati rally, two days before El Paso.
African Americans, since slavery’s end, and every non-British immigrant group arriving here, have been told, “Go back to your country!” Trump basked in his “Send them back!” Tweet against congresswomen of color—being chanted by his supporters.
Trump demonizes Black-majority cities, code for African Americans; calls for violence by police and border patrol or crowd members. Reported hate crimes have escalated since Trump’s election. Cell phone videos document reinstating 21st-century Jim Crow segregation: White people call police on Black people daring to be in public places: family BBQ at a park, sitting in Starbucks, on college campuses, children with a sidewalk lemonade stand.
Mosques are burned down. White men assault Muslim women, tearing their headscarves off. “Lone wolf” stalkers prowl racist websites, arm themselves with arsenals and murder Muslims.
Threatening assault or calling ICE, whites terrorize Latino people—citizen or not—for speaking Spanish. Trump cages immigrant children, mothers and men in filthy conditions, embodying the idea that “dirty,” “diseased” immigrants deserve deportation.
Today, Trump encourages border patrol violence and police brutality, drops DOJ civil rights investigations and passes his Muslim Ban.
Dehumanizing treatment is always deployed against scapegoated groups from Indigenous people rounded up for removal to Black people under slavery. Nazi Germany’s anti-Jewish laws were imitated by our legal segregation “Black Codes”; concentration camps were modeled on the near-genocide of American Indians—in Adolph Hitler’s own words.
Compare 1930s newsreels of Nuremberg rallies to MAGA events. “Make America Great Again” boiled down to its essence early on. “Remember in the old days when that guy [Black protester] would be taken out on a stretcher?”
At Trump’s May 8th Florida rally, Trump said immigrant “invasion” over and over, asking, “How do we stop this invasion?” A crowd member shouts, “Shoot them!”
This president who rarely smiles and doesn’t laugh, responded with smirks, chuckles and making a joke: “That’s only in the Panhandle you can get away with this stuff. Only in the Panhandle,” to his grinning supporters—who cheered wildly.
I dare my fellow white people to google “American lynching postcards”: Often smiling mobs gathered around hanging or burned corpses of Black men, women and children—sometimes entire families with picnic baskets reveling in white supremacist violence—a hateful ideology Trump rouses in his crowds.
The El Paso shooter’s manifesto used Trump’s racist rhetoric: “I must defend my country against invasion.”
Historical ignorance erases Latino people living for centuries in Texas and the Southwest—one-third of Mexico before U.S. annexation. The world’s oldest ongoing terrorist group is the KKK—metastasized into multiple neo-Nazi militia and white supremacist groups nationally.
White backlash surged after electing our first African-American president. The internet spreads hate like wildfire and easy-access weapons of war with unlimited bullets embolden alienated white men.
Trump’s racist bullying from the presidential bully pulpit is rocket fuel, directly responsible for hate crimes and massacres, aided and abetted by power-mad Republicans and too many dithering Democrats.
Mass-murderers killed more people in 13 hours in El Paso and Dayton than U.S. soldiers died overseas in the last two years—while Trump kept golfing at his New Jersey resort.
With white supremacy the biggest domestic terrorism threat, there’s no neutrality for white people. Basic humanity and our democracy declare that decent white people must resist. We must drown out Donald Trump and his white supremacist supporters with our louder, loving voices—voices and votes.
LYDIA HOWELL is a Minneapolis journalist and host of “Catalyst” kfai.org.