Remember that scene from The Princess Bride when Inigo Montoya says to one of the characters “I do not think that word means what you think it means”? That was me just now, checking to see what the ACTUAL definition of racist is, and how it differs from the word bigot.
That I am looking this up in reference to a tweet made by an American President sort of blows my mind still, but here we are.
Sitting here in Canada watching the divisive tribal war of words down yonder where I was born, and after 2 and half years of this circus act of an administration, and I even now, today, again, have to remind myself that this is not normal, or hasn’t been for at least 50 years. I’m 52 this year, born in the U.S. and came here when I was 3, and, well it is not normal for me at least to hear a politician of this stature say this kind of stuff. This kind of racist tropes only came from politicians mouths, oh, I don’t know, at NRA gun conferences and KKK meetings back in their once Jim Crow southern state, or in line to pay for your groceries at the Piggly Wiggly.
Yet, such is the daily, you know, I’m running out of words…what do we call this daily grind of one thing after another, day after day, week after week, month after month chaotic reality show president and his cronies of chaos?
Anywho, stepping back a pace or three to see if I’m reacting to something JUST because he said it, perhaps just hyperbolic knee-jerk disgust? I mean, I admit, I can only watch about 5 seconds of anything he says, and do not follow the president on twitter, cause he has always given me the creeps.
So, lets see, according to Oxford Dictionary;
RACISM – [t]he theory that distinctive human characteristics and abilities are determined by race”; the same dictionary termed racism a synonym of racialism: “belief in the superiority of a particular race.
BIGOT – a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (such as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.
Now I’m not going to quote the actual tweet as I’m sure you can find that on your own, but telling them to go home is something not heard at this level in American politics since the 60s, right? It’s not normal, or, not normal anymore, or wasn’t normal.
So let’s see, because all four members of the ‘squad’ his tweet was directed at are dark skinned, and this administration has thousands and thousands of caged persons with dark skin at the southern border being treated like animals, and they are trying to make it legal to treat them like animals, gives White Nationals a nod and a wink of support, and tried to ban Muslims from entering the country, I guess one could be forgiven for drawing the conclusion that the president of the United States is a racist bigot.
Although, actually if one of the ‘squad’ had been born a whiter shade of pale in the UK and had become an American citizen when they were a teenager there is a good chance he just might very well have told them to go home, considering the UK ambassadors recent criticism of the presidents, ah, lack of qualifications to even clean his toilet.
Course, maybe without the bit about their place of origin governments being a “complete catastrophe”, though, maybe he would.
The republican response, summed up by ol’McConnell himself, is that the president is not racist, and that the ‘squad’ are the racists, and I guess that democrats are the bigots and racists.
Yeah, ok, so far as I know, and maybe I’m wrong here, but I don’t believe white people really get a say in whether something is racist? Do they? I mean, sort of stands to reason that the one with the so called “superior” skin colour shouldn’t really be given the final say on what is a racist trope and what is not?
Well, not according to republicans.
Republicans, oh bringer of the worthy points of view, protector of the superior skin colour, saving American’s from the evil politically correct civil society hounds of hell, those left-wing crazy commies, pushing their diversity and the rights of ALL persons in the United States to be treated fairly and equitably under the law and not lose your home trying to cure your daughters Leukemia or buy insulin so you can, um, live.
So the right-wing Trump loyalists are all just doubling down, and it would appear that the GOP dog got itself a bone, and they are going to run with it.
Even heard my dad when he was up last month had mentioned the history of the democrats as being the party of racism, as the party AGAINST Lincoln.
Guess fair to say that the campaign from the right side is rather gung ho on the whole, look at them, they’re the racist, socialist universal healthcare Nazi’s trying to force us to treat all persons who reside on American soil justly, take our guns away, and force us to say big words and sing kumbaya, nasty demons the lot.
To some Americans, I guess, dissenting with the government is reserved only for white folk, citizens that are persons of another colour skin should just feel privileged they’re allowed to stay? Got that right? For some, you have less right to disagree with the government if you were born with a particular skin colour, perhaps your religion isn’t the right religion, therefore your opinion is disloyal to the citizenship they so graciously allowed you to either acquire or retain.
Let’s be clear, say it out loud, a bigot racist won the U.S. election and all the bigots and racists have come out of the closet, they have been normalized by the president of the United States. Their hate has gone mainstream, the ruler and chief trots out words once yelled at black students during the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and one whole side of the political spectrum in the United States of America says this is not racist?
So, lets recap, you might be a racist bigot IF:
- you accuse the first black president of not being an American citizen (birtherism) and you use that as a springboard for your run for president.
- you try to ban Muslims from entering the country pretty much as soon as you are sworn in to office.
- you try to end legal asylum cause ya don’t like where those seeking asylum are from.
- repeatedly accuse any critics who are Latino, black or any other skin colour than white as being “ungrateful”, “disrespectful”, and/or “unpatriotic” and tell them to go home.
- continue to refer to Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and “criminals”.
- refer to countries such as Haiti and in Africa as “shithole countries”.
But, hey, don’t take my word for it, as Democratic representative of congress 79 year old John Lewis, a key player in the civil rights movement and who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. said before the symbolic vote in the house to condemn the presidents words; “I know racism when I see it. I Know racism when I feel it, and at the highest level of government there is no room for racism”.
“The world is watching. They are shocked and dismayed because it seems we have lost our way as a proud and dignified people.”
I have to say that from all the din of discourse and denial I’ve watched over the last few days, the most hopeful came from a new YouTuber I’ve been following lately – Beau of the Fifth Column.
In one of his recent uploads he reminds me that this next group coming up, that generation with their smartphones, who did not grow up deluded by the history books who told these tales of American greatness, and left out most of the worst stuff – you know, such as the treatment of Native Americans and rounding up Japanese Americans and putting them in Concentration Camps – that they see right through all this to the truth of American history and racism. They are not so naive, not so ignorant of its racism, prejudices and voter suppression of black and Latino voters.
Therefore, regardless of what right-wing politics says today, regardless of whether this president gets a second term or not, THAT generation is not going to be as easily led down this white nationalist path.
The GOP thinks the ‘squad’ is “unpatriotic”? Well, they ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
“As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it—whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash”Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird