Trump’s Presidency is a Master Class in White Power and Privilege
Patriotic education is Trump’s version of racial sensitivity.
On a campaign stop in Bemidji, Minnesota, Donald Trump made the following statement:
“We will stop the radical indoctrination of our students, and restore patriotic education to our schools. We will teach our children to love our country.”
This was in addition to his channeling of Nazi Germany rhetoric when he subtly delivered this:
“You have good genes, you know that right? A lot of it is about the genes, isn’t it? Don’t you believe? the racehorse theory. You think we’re so different? You have good genes in Minnesota.”
Eugenics. Racehorse theory. Patriotic education. Another forced SCOTUS nomination forthcoming. This is weeks after the Trump administration began dismantling federally funded and delivered racial-sensitivity training for employees.
Two days ago, he extended the ban to include all federal contractors. In his usual fashion, via Twitter, he announced the following:
A few weeks ago, I BANNED efforts to indoctrinate government employees with divisive and harmful sex and race-based ideologies. Today, I’ve expanded that ban to people and companies that do business……with our Country, the United States Military, Government Contractors, and Grantees. Americans should be taught to take PRIDE in our Great Country, and if you don’t, there’s nothing in it for you!
This is America. Don’t catch you slippin’ now.
The white house brain trust ordered federal agencies to end racial sensitivity training that included topics like Critical Race Theory and White Privilege. Topics such as these had been deemed “divisive, anti-American propaganda.”
Donald Trump is once again feeling slighted as he has spent the last 4 years delivering the Master Class on White Privilege. And now he’s pursuing his PhD in White Power. I am Joyce Carol Oates’s raging intellect. The simple act of ending these types of training is the definition of white privilege, and dare I say, white fragility, and while we’re at it, it’s plain and simple systemic racism.
It is another measure indicative of the denial of the government’s involvement in historically racist policies and agendas. In denying the continuation of this training, maybe, like coronavirus, wildfires, and Joe Biden, systemic racism will just disappear. Or we can plunge ourselves headlong, facefirst into not only another economic but moral and racial depression.
Trump pulled his favorite power out of his invisible knapsack; omission. There is a part me that wondered if he was aware of this privilege, or as the definition states, the world for him has always been white. But, now, as he campaigns and openly trots out his theories to his homogenized base, we see this as a part of the plan all along.
White privilege is the societal privilege that benefits white people over non-white people in some societies, particularly if they are otherwise under the same social, political, or economic circumstances. — wikipedia
If the white house has consistently demonstrated one thing, it’s that we are not to be held to the same social, political, or economic standards. Those details are best left to the imaginations and fumbling white hands grasping for an America that was once great, tightening the noose on a nation that is gasping for air.
This move, however, is exemplary of the theory being denied and denigrated. Critical race theory exists because actions such as these are taken and have been taken since Africans were installed on this continent. To delete these trainings is the penultimate example of the privilege Trump has so vehemently denied, which by definition, is white privilege.
CRT recognizes that racism is engrained in the fabric and system of the American society. The individual racist need not exist to note that institutional racism is pervasive in the dominant culture. This is the analytical lens that CRT uses in examining existing power structures. CRT identifies that these power structures are based on white privilege and white supremacy, which perpetuates the marginalization of people of color. -UCLA School of Public Affairs
Critical Race Theory is not new. It was not born out of the divisiveness of the last four years. Although, now all the more prescient. It was a critical lens born out of the totality of American history, a history whose narrative has been systemically controlled at every level by white people. A lens born out of Harvard Law School, the struggles of its students of color, and their relentless pursuit of truth and justice within the very legal system they were seeking to secure a place.
A lens adopted by more than twenty law schools across the United States to look at our laws, legal system, and public policies with a more critical eye. When one engages with this exposed and inconvenient history, one is able to accept the privilege one is or is not born into. If we really want to roll out a patriotic education I suggest starting with a fundamental understanding of the racist ideas that have defined America. Class, please pull out Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi, from your backpacks. We have a responsibility to know our history. The actual history. And take responsibility.
We should be deeply disturbed, sickened, and angry we were taught the edited version of history. Our formative education was white-washed from the start as African-Americans were Stamped From The Beginning. And with this move, the Trump administration, using the sleight of hand of The Office of Management and Budget, has again sought to vanquish admission that racism is prevalent, if not the most prevalent issue facing our citizens today. Racism is being deemed the ubiquitous and omnipresent currency of this administration’s America.
Training our government agencies to believe this “divisive, anti-American propaganda” will not be permissible under this administration is coded language. Read, anti-American to be anti-white. Patriotic education is to be read as patriotic indoctrination. This indoctrination will include the whitest, America loving at the expense of all others education possible.
It would only make sense to have programs such as these for a government that is still learning how to operate “for the people, by the people” and actually acknowledge that all of the people are 5/5ths of a person.
CRT focuses on the various ways in which the received tradition in law adversely affects people of color not as individuals but as a group. Thus, CRT attempts to analyze law and legal traditions through the history, contemporary experiences, and racial sensibilities of racial minorities in this country. The question always lurking in the background of CRT is this: What would the legal landscape look like today if people of color were the decision-makers?-UCLA School of Public Affairs
But, they (people of color) aren’t the decision-makers. Never have been. And the law has consistently been usurped by the highest of attorneys, William Barr and the rest of this administration. Barr, who just deemed New York City an “anarchistic jurisdiction” is the grand puba of perfecting systemic and legal racially divisive agendas.
For the government to withdraw this education on the basis of its anti-American nature is to deny the existence of the racism and sublimate the denial in an effort to add fuel to the inferno that is the gaslighting of America. The term America is to mean white America. An America this president is striving to keep “great.” He is no longer denying racism, he’s promoting it.
This memo indicated two key points that are the clearest illustration of white fear and fragility when it comes to the dismantling of systemic racism. And to be clear, systemic racism is a product of racism and the power wielded over people of color by those in power (whites) since we started drafting the rules to this game of America.
The Trump administration is no stranger to regressive politics and diplomacy. It’s been clear over the last four years the desire to regress to the mean. Recision of LGBTQIA rights, abortion rights, immigration destruction, environmental protections, and let’s just let the credits roll. The most damning component of the memo, which is a clear response to the plight of the country and recent events, is encrypted in the below:
“…all agencies are directed to begin to identify all contracts or other agency spending related to any training on ‘critical race theory,’ ‘white privilege,’ or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either (1) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil.”
This could appear in a Klan handout. The language, as it reads, is a blatant refutation of any effort to recognize the existence of the fundamental issue at the forefront of our lives. Covid notwithstanding.
The existence of this training was an admission by previous administrations change was needed. Instead, white power was exercised to maintain the status quo within a federal government and workforce that is 65% white. This is not stating all of those people are racist. But, imagine if they were actually educated on how the system and liberties they serve were intentionally designed to protect one group and marginalize another? It would undermine the entire premise of the campaign. And perhaps the constitution.
What kind of impact does this sweeping change have on the people of color who work for the federal government? It is estimated that over 18% of the federal workforce is African-American. Another 8% is Latinx. And the remainder of the 100% is you guessed it, made up of people of color. Imagine the memo going out in the workplace stating that programs intent on identifying the myriad ways that race has impacted our law and policy were vanquished? The message is simple: if it ain’t white, it ain’t right.
This administration has outwardly protected white supremacists as “very fine people.” He has come to the defense of Kyle Rittenhouse. He’s traveled to Kenosha without meeting with the family of Jacob Blake. The egregious nature of the neglect of the administration is what draws ire, protests, and action. It is what happens within the walls of the white house and the legislation that is written and rewritten, and the rollback of policy that will continue to set back this nation.
Brett Hankison was indicted on charges of wanton endangerment. He was charged for the bullets that did not kill Breonna Taylor. No statement from the white house. Just business as usual.
While violently assaulting the black and brown bodies of this nation and the efforts to preserve a history of whiteness, fragility, and innocence, Trump is bludgeoning, shooting, and lynching American democracy by any means necessary. They are dismantling the march toward equality by cleaning their own house first. The efforts to divide, distribute, and dismay the American people has never been greater. And this too is not new.
The Color of Law: A forgotten history of how our government segregated America by Richard Rothstein is a historical account of how the government laid out metropolitan cities to impose racial segregation. Laws were created to upend the progress of African Americans in this country by the federal government. This is not new. Yet, they approach racism like climate change; deny deny deny. “I’m the least racist person you know, just ask so and so.” The government has been complicit with racism since the beginning and has now taken up the mantle of a neo-American agenda. A throwback to when America was “great.”
Slavery. Jim Crow. Mass incarceration. Redlining. Da da da da da. This is another push by the United States government to preserve destruction, capitalism at the expense of human life, the degradation and denigration of a people that has had a knee on their neck for 413 years. Moves like this should alarm us. It does alarm us. And yet, we are now falling into despair as this hate machine looks to occupy the Supreme Court to preserve, protect, and purvey patriotic education for all.
And still, the privilege of it all. The fact that Trump continues to grab America by the pussy on the record and walk free. That is white privilege. Supremacy. Obama couldn’t have done any of this. Trump trods on American democracy with clean white shoes. I’m reminded of James Baldwin, whose articulation of these matters cut to the bone of the state, rip it off, and wedge it in the cog of the American machine.
And here we are, at the center of the arc, trapped in the gaudiest, most valuable, and most improbable water wheel the world has ever seen. Everything now, we must assume, is in our hands; we have no right to assume otherwise. If we-and now I mean the relatively conscious whites and the relatively conscious blacks, who must, like lovers, insist on, or create, the consciousness of the others-do not falter in our duty now, we may be able, handful that we are, to end the racial nightmare, and achieve our country, and change the history of the world.-James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time