America’s Racism Enforced Through Excuses

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Published January 17, 2018
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The Montclarion
Photo courtesy of Samantha Sophia via Unsplash

As Martin Luther King Jr. Day sets the tone for the week, black people from a slew of nationalities have been subjected to President Donald Trump’s consistent racism. Trump’s infamous comments concerned Haiti, El Salvador and other African countries, where he referred to them as “sh*thole countries.” As an alternative to bringing African immigrants here, he also suggested that America should seek out more Norwegian immigrants instead.

Some of the followups from this are as nonsensical as they are delusional. The prime example being Martin Luther King Jr.’s nephew: Isaac Newton Farris Jr. He professed his belief that Trump is “not a racist in the traditional sense,” then describes him as “racially ignorant and racially uninformed.”

Via his sentiments, Farris attempts to blur the concrete meaning of racism – perhaps to soothe public perception – or maybe to ensure political amnesty. Racial ignorance is a by-product of racism. Online forums have heightened race-based relations and, as the person who governs over 45 million people of African ancestry, there is no way to be “racially uninformed” unless deliberately so.

Farris speaks as if he feels like the president is undeserving of backlash. Farris is not Trump’s only enabler, I’m afraid to say. There is a sea of wealthy Republicans and white supremacist hate groups that encourage such misleading, harmful rhetoric. Sen. Rand Paul claims it is “unfair” to “draw conclusions he didn’t intend.”

Establishing these excuses for racist behavior sends the wrong message to the American people as well as to international observers. Practically everything Trump says is irredeemable in nature. To pass it off as mild ignorance, however, further offends many people. Through experience, we become aware that impact is as important as intention. Paul failed to hint at what positive intentions critics are overlooking because there are none.

The unfair matter is protecting the positions and energy of bigots and denying immigrants the opportunity to feel welcome. Trump supporters make excuses for his racist commentary because they either identify with or are accustomed to the language. Farris insinuates that Trump’s commentary does not align with traditional racism, but the problem is that traditional racism cannot be defined. Racism has existed for centuries with no single look and is not presented just one kind of way. As long as it thrives, racism adapts to the times.

Folks are normalizing racism with excuse after excuse. Trump and other racists alike acknowledge one of the many advantages to being a white man in our society. They can say or do whatever with little to no fallout. By next week we will have added this to a long list of Trump’s shortcomings as president and this is the kind of problem that results from excusing this behavior. We live in a society that nurtures and prioritizes racists over the victimized. To set the record straight, no excuses dismiss the fact that Trump is a racist.

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