Friday, July 7, 2017

The Racist Defense Against Racism

The bloc that tipped the scales for Trump--supposedly economically disaffected, working-class white people--turns out not to have been voting the angst of downwardly mobile wage-earners but to have been voting racial animus, ethnic stereotyping and fear. It's not a surprise, judging from Donald Trump's tirades. Trump turned on the hate. He played groups of people off against one another and encouraged racial resentment.

Now, the racists and their baiters, when challenged, defend themselves existentially instead of defending their actions, claiming rightness as a group attribute and revealing a fundamentally racist mindset. For racists everything is existential and determined by group identification and not by individual behavior. For example, criticism will be understood to be about their value as people and other (to their minds) immutable traits.

It is not assumed that people have innate value and inalienable rights and so on. Barack Obama was an innately "wrong" president, unrelating to behavior. George Bush was existentially "right" even though he destroyed everything he touched. In a racist context behavior doesn't matter, only group identity. Criticism is not about something circumstantial, incidental and correctible but an assault on their being and existence.

And so, racists instinctively react to questions about their misbehavior like cornered animals, going postal at any provocation because, for them, their existence is always the issue. Similarly, they attack their adversaries and detractors not as frail actors of common standing and humanity. The attacks are attempts at annihilation, intended to render their perceived enemies powerless and incapacitated if not actually dead.

All of their thoughts are centered on identity. Loyalty, unwavering adherence to an ideology, and fixed opinions are expected and demanded. These racists are making the case against them by the nature of their defense. They are probably unaware of their own motivations--but, there I go again, making a non-racist argument when they should be judged by their own standards since they have voluntarily abdicated their decency.

They have abdicated their humanity in the attempt to deny ours, by depriving us of the rights guaranteed to us by the laws and traditions of our society, something they are increasingly challenging the existence of at all.

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