Donald Trump’s working class white supporters are always described as “angry.” They are certainly angry about economic decline, but there is more to it than that. They are also angry about racial self-abasement. The Obama administration has repeatedly humiliated whites for being white and ensured that there can be no defense against degradation. This humiliation far exceeds the garden-variety racial humiliation of having to deal with incompetent affirmative-action co-workers or conversation-killing PC speech codes.
Donald Trump is like the post-Civil War Southern political leaders who sought to restore the honor of whites after bayonet-backed Radical Republican carpetbaggers imposed rule by former slaves. The defenders of white honor were called “Redeemers” and, in a sense, Mr. Trump is a modern day Redeemer, even if he has not explicitly embraced this role.
Conquerors can treat the vanquished in many different ways: exterminate everyone, keep the women and kill the men and children, impose heavy tax burdens, or simply humiliate them. When Europeans ruled China in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, humiliation took many forms. In Shanghai, Chinese were banned from public parks unless accompanied by a Westerner–who could even be an infant. Such petty degradations–and they occurred daily–stung deeply, and were seldom forgotten when the tables were turned.
A public humiliation is like the authorities proclaiming that 2+2=5, and punishing anyone who denies this “truth.” The final blow is to force the humiliated openly to affirm that 2+2=5. This resembles the Soviet show trials of the 1930s: innocent Old Bolsheviks publicly degrading themselves by confessing to bogus crimes, and signing confessions to save their families.
President Obama has imposed race-related humiliation in several forms. The most obvious might be called government-mandated guilt reversal: A criminal black is now defined as the “good guy” while the white cop becomes the “bad guy.” Evidence is irrelevant; virtue or evil is dictated exclusively by skin color. Recall Groucho Marx’s quip: “Who are you going to believe? Me (i.e., President Obama or Eric Holder) or your lying eyes?” By official decree, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Freddy Gray–all certified criminals–were deemed victims worthy of public sympathy while whites doing their duty, even risking their lives, were the evil-doers.
And just to rub it in, the riots generated by this good/evil reversal where treated by the mass media as “understandable,” because American race relations still have a long way to go, and government must “invest” yet more billions in futile programs to cure the scars of inequality, discrimination, racism, and all the other flaws of white society. The prudent measures the police took in the face of turmoil were often criticized as excessively militarized, while young blacks looted and burned without any moral condemnation. Sacking the CVS drug store in Baltimore was just “sending a message.” Only the bravest whites dared call the Black Lives Matters/“Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” marchers rabble-rousing liars.
Humiliation escalated into collective guilt when Eric Holder’s Justice Department sent investigators to Ferguson to determine why a white police officer would shoot a black teenager who had robbed a convenience store and then tried to kill the officer with his own gun. There was never a chance the DOJ would investigate witness perjury or look into who instigated or even helped finance the riots. Eric Holder had decreed that white officials were responsible for black misbehavior. The solution was to recruit more black police officers, ease up on law enforcement, and silence any officer who defended himself.
There was more humiliation after Dylan Roof killed nine black church goers in Charleston, South Carolina. The culprit quickly became all whites and their racist culture, not a single deranged individual. In effect, the official narrative was that Southern whites are driven to violent hatred by the evil spirits still lurking in flags, statues, and the names on public building and parks. These spirits had to be exorcised, since the mere sight of a stars-and-bars decal on a pickup truck might excite whites to mass murder.
Condemning whites without a trial, let alone evidence, has been a general policy under the Obama administration. It is assumed that whites are bigoted and blacks are innocent, so any harm suffered by blacks can be due only to white malfeasance. This belief is enshrined in the doctrine of disparate impact. Thus, if schools punish black students at a higher rate than whites or Asians, discipline rates must be equalized via a consent decree. Similarly, since there can be no racial differences in creditworthiness, any lending discrepancies can be due only to racism and must be “healed” by paying compensation to blacks, even if no case of actual discrimination can be documented.
In these cases the verdict is a foregone conclusion and no defense is permitted. The DOJ consent decree is the equivalent of the Soviet-style show trial and signed confession. Anyone who shows that blacks kill far more whites than vice versa or that blacks default on loans more often than whites only risks being called part of the problem. Nor does it do much good to defend the behavior of white policemen by noting that the incident was thoroughly investigated and no grounds were found for indictment. Any refusal to prosecute is just one more example of white privilege.
There are endless media accounts of black youngsters up to no good, all of whom were praised by mothers and friends as “nice kids,” all of whom were reportedly minding their own business, all of whom were about to turn their troubled lives around when they were attacked by racist police officers. Washington’s response to such incidents is another cliché: revamp “flawed” police practices, hire more minorities, etc., without any evidence that these measures will either cure whites of “racism” or reduce black crime. The cumulative psychological impact of this ongoing morality play is enormous.
Would a Trump administration end these race-based humiliations? Most likely, though Mr. Trump would never publicly announce this policy reversal. It is now an officially sanctioned “truth” that whites are responsible for the misbehavior of blacks; this “truth” will not vanish even if the Donald appoints Chris Christie or someone like him as Attorney General. But at least under President Trump, Americans need not worry that common criminals will be celebrated thanks to their skin color while white police officers are demonized for doing their jobs. I believe that this unstated promise helps drives the passion for Donald Trump. He is a modern day Redeemer.