White folks, both Liberal and Conservative, are proving their insensitivities towards communities of color
Much has been discussed regarding who voted for whom in this past election. Talking heads at big media were intently focused on the Black vote or the Latino vote. If it wasn’t about the bump in Black support for Trump, it was about Cubans and Venezuelans in Miami or Puerto Ricans in Central Florida or the largely Mexican population in one county along the Texas/Mexico border.
What they always fail to discuss is how White voters still control our elections. White voters assert their dominance in America’s population in every single election. Communities of color are largely Liberal along with a good portion of White America. But if White people don’t address the insurgence among them, America will never see any change. I’m not saying conservatism is insurgent but it has largely drifted farther to the right embracing new levels of bigotry.
When people jump the gun and blame Trump for this neo-extremism it shows the lack of thought put behind the claim. While Trump embraced the mainstream hate in America, and yes, exacerbated it, it was here long before he was. What was once considered fringe (it never really was) has become in your face mainstream hate. But America has faced this level of hate before.
We are all aware of the history of hate in America. Some of us understand it better than others because we’ve studied it. It’s no surprise that the very same states that were once a part of the confederacy still vote for politicians who support the oppressive systems that were installed after slavery. Most Americans believe hate in America was once disguised by white hoods and street gangs that operated in the shadows. But the truth is, the people behind the policies that still oppress Black and Indigenous communities were put in place by White men who operated in the open. They didn’t hide who they were or what they stood for and it was accepted.
White people proved to us, once again, that those same systems of oppression and the people that put them in place are still tolerated in American society. In most White circles they’re not just accepted but supported and promoted. There is an alarming and baseless trend in White America that has White people thinking we (people of color) are out to get them. That their extinction is imminent — as if they’re endangered in any way. They’ve even self-diagnosed the notion as White Extinction Anxiety. Once again, blaming communities of color for their pain.
This concept, again, is not new. David Duke was a big promoter of White extinction in the 1960s and yet here we are. Addressing the new face of hate. The well dressed, well-spoken, and out in the open bigots of modern America. For White people to be surprised by the hate we see in modern-day America means they’ve been living in a bubble until recent years.
Even now, they largely still are.
There’s a narrative floating around that says Trump saw about a 3% loss in support among White men. But he also saw a roughly 3% gain among White Women. In other words, no matter how the media tries to play it, the problem with the acceptance of bigotry and hate in America exists because of White people. Despite what we refer to as progress, we have not advanced at all on this front in 500 years. White rage still runs full-throttle and it simply broadens its targets.
Another narrative we hear is that Trump saw small gains with Black and Latino voters, but that largely depends on who’s polls your reading. These supposed gains are something that will be analyzed and talked about for years to come despite neither group being a monolith and sharing many divergent views among them. What won’t be discussed is the White vote and how White America accepts and shelters the hate that drives politics and society in the U.S.
White America never looks in the mirror to address the inherent white supremacist nature of the social construct of whiteness. While White Liberals are typically more open to learning about their ancestry and heritage, White conservatives have largely shed the cultural heritage in favor of the construct of whiteness. Conservatives will argue that it’s something to be celebrated despite whiteness not being an actual thing. There is no white culture without white heritage.
And white heritage doesn’t exist.
Evangelicals portray their celebration of whiteness through their version of Jesus. We all know Jesus wasn’t White or American, but try telling that to Evangelical conservatives. As soon as you do you’ll get pushback in one way or another. Again, not to say all conservatives are like this but we can’t deny that the vast majority of them don’t think bigotry is a problem. The fact is, they are willing to accept hate in order to achieve permanent conservative rule.
A permanent conservative ruling party means that hate towards Black communities and other communities of color will continue. That bigotry towards the LGBTQ community will persist. That xenophobia towards migrants of color will be maintained. That attacks on women, particularly Black women, will also continue unabated. Modern-day conservatism openly embraced bigotry and hate in the 1960s in response to the passage of the Civil Rights Act. It still does.
What voters tell us when voting for this form of politics is that they are either blatant bigots or are indifferent to the animus perpetuated by the conservative platform. Regardless of the demographics, conservatives harbor some form of hate towards one or more marginalized groups in America. Whether they believe gay marriage is a sin or women shouldn’t have an abortion, or underserved communities are undeserving of assistance, it’s all based on some form of intolerance or another. It’s about White male dominance over everything in society.
Socio-political attacks on marginalized communities are nothing more than a guise for bigotry despite hiding behind religion, manipulated economics, racial purity, or superiority complexes.
White Liberals are a bit different. They can be just as bigoted and unaware of it or they could simply believe that everyone deserves equal rights as long as they remain on top. In other words, Liberals don’t necessarily believe that the United States should pay for its past sins and give oppressed groups validation. Many will argue that Black people don’t deserve reparations for slavery and for the continued oppression that has kept the Black community behind them.
Now that Joe Biden has been elected, most Liberals will think their job is done while failing to address the white supremacy they inherited. They think it’s all so normal and if underserved communities just tried working harder things will be ok. But many Democratic policies have been and still are detrimental to Black communities and other communities of color.
White supremacy is no little thing. It’s pervasive and many elected Democrats know this. The problem is when Democrats are in power White Liberals become complacent. Then, when a Republican government inevitably comes to power, we’re all left standing there telling White people, “we’ve been trying to tell y’all!” It’s a cycle America just can’t break without White people addressing the inherent problems with whiteness in America.
Because White Liberals are largely naive.
White Liberals were some of the most vocal people regarding how Black and Latinos voted while never addressing the problem of White people embracing hate in bigotry in the 21st Century. Here we are, more than 500 years later, and hate is as pervasive as ever. Cultural genocide still exists in many different forms, yet White people fail to address the problem.
Liberal white supremacy came out in full force when White people launched attacks on Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Venezuelans, and even Black people. Their arguments were immediately invalidated by the language that was used. Their positions were, “how dare you?” as if those that didn’t act accordingly broke the rules set by so-called white allies.
Regardless of how any Latino group voted, the idea that they are some sort of monolith and fall in line with Liberals “just because” is white supremacy. The way some Liberals acted is precisely why some Latinos, and Black people, are fearful of Democratic policies. Showing aggression towards already marginalized communities will not win them over. Particularly when no effort is made to try and understand why some people vote the way they do. Frankly, it’s a bit asinine.
No, White Liberals don’t get a pass just for being Liberal. When a redneck tells us to speak English in public it’s because we’re not conforming to a standard he believes we should be meeting. When a Liberal lashes out at communities of color it’s no different. The logic behind that type of reaction is based on the idea that we haven’t meant some standard set for us by White people. Does it sound familiar? Of course, it does. Because it’s white supremacy.
America is trying to become the first truly diverse Democracy on Earth. Half of the country is fighting it and the other half can’t help but trip over themselves along the way. Until White America makes an effort to truly understand the systems of oppression put in place by both sides of the aisle, and until White people start looking in the mirror and addressing the hate and bigotry among them, America will never progress. What we have witnessed prior to, during, and after the election is precisely why the United States can never be truly united.
White folks have a lot of work to do. Black folks, people of color, marginalized and underserved communities can’t be the only ones doing the work. They have to get dirty too and start taking some risks. Otherwise, nothing will ever change. White folks are the biggest roadblock we face in achieving social and racial equality and justice. There is no easy way to say it.
It’s time for White folks to start having some uncomfortable conversations within their own families and their own communities. Until then, nothing changes.
The Antagonist Magazine is a project made up of journalists, activists, and writers focused on amplifying the stories of marginalized communities. The goal is to educate the public by sharing narratives focused on independent voices. Born of an online community in 2019, our platform operates independently; free of corporate influence. Please consider supporting the work of dozens of writers from various communities.