On White Nationalism

Just weeks into the four-year presidency, Trump’s actions have already been met with a great deal of backlash. Whether approving the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, calling for the construction of the Mexican-American border wall, or his controversial executive order blocking travelers from seven, Muslim-majority countries, the administration’s actions have been deemed problematic by the general public insofar as the channel of a common theme: white nationalism.  This can be seen in the casual manifest destiny of despoiling native lands for profit, the deliberate exaggeration of the maliciousness of illegal immigrants in this country, and the apocalyptic need to keep them out via ‘the wall’.  Each prioritizes a white American identity over that of America’s multiculturalist, multiracial democracy.

Over the course of American history, racist ideology has shape shifted. Under slavery in the American South, it was presented as the belief in black inferiority and the rationalization of slavery. Later on, under the guise of “separate but equal,” the country saw white supremacy presented through judiciary mandated segregation and the legislative justification of lynchings. Nowadays, explicit racism is disguised under the veil of “nationalism,” particularly white nationalism. Under the newfound degree in which America has become a multiculturalist country, white nationalism harkens back to a custom not of pluralism, but one of exclusion. Veiled as an innate love of country, it characterizes itself on the principles of politics, religion, and society that this country was founded on: one in which white, Christian Americans were the affluent members of society.

The Trump administration’s rhetoric is soaked with the ideology of white nationalism, through its racist stereotypes of Mexican immigrants, its derisive belief of the lives of inner city black Americans, and its openly hostile opinion of Muslims, whether they are citizens or immigrants. Jeff Sessions, the confirmed US Attorney General, and Steve Bannon, Trump’s Assistant and Chief Strategist, have both been criticized for their past animosity towards immigrants, non-white citizens, and non-Christian populace. Both Sessions and Bannon have opposed the assimilation of immigrants migrating to America, have called for minority voter suppression, and have spoken wishfully of the once standard of living of native-born Americans. Their ideologies exhibit racist tendencies, whether expressed by Coretta Scott King’s 1968 statement about Sessions, Sessions praise for the 1924 immigration law, the Johnson-Reed Act, or through the the anti- “globalist,” anti-semitic publications of Breitbart news.

These first few weeks should come as no surprise, as they are fulfilling the promises in which he campaigned on: a suppression on immigration, the wall, and a Muslim ban. Furthermore, they are consistent with his campaign slogan and the opinions of his foremost cabinet members: making America “great again” by strengthening the basic notions of white America.

After an embittered election cycle, we must come to the realization that this is not a partisan issue, Republican versus Democrat, but an issue in which we fight to protect our multicultural, multiracial country, not just the sole interests of a White, Christian class.

Photo: Andrew Angerer|Getty

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