"In my opinion, Trump's rhetoric has just given a free pass for many white Americans to be proud and racist"
So the ever increasing number of racist incidents since Donald Trump became the POTUS elect is no secret.
It seems different Americans are posting, recording and reporting pretty terrible incidences, and the trend is not ending. Just take Asian Americans as an example -they are being egged, pushed, verbally abused, told to go back to Asia by certain sections of white Americans who pledge support for Trump. The worst thing is, these ignorant white Americans then claim they are somehow doing Trump’s work by using terms such as “Trump’s World” and “Trump’s America”. One of the most extreme responses I have seen is from Phillip Lu’s Facebook post. Phillip was also a victim of a racial verbal attack, when a white American woman yelled this out to him from her car, “that’s why I voted for Trump to get rid of you guys.” (Facebook post linked in this article) . But the thing is, we can’t blame Trump for the racism, nor can we say racism is on the rise since his election on November 8th. We also need to remember, not all of Trump’s supporters are racist or hold racist views. Many who voted for Trump (including our fellow Asians and people of colour) did so believing a new administration will improve economic and class issues. Racism has been around and been happening way before Trump’s election, it is just that his rhetoric during the campaign trail has paved the way for racism to somehow become normalised and acceptable.
It is unavoidable that anyone could miss the hateful rhetoric coming out of Trump’s mouth prior to the election, wanting to build walls around the US/Mexican border, deport all undocumented migrants and ban Muslims from America. And where certain sections of the Asian American community have not been part of this rhetoric, ignorant racists don’t discern the differences and will only see colour, so by default, these Asian American groups will become a target for just not being white. In my opinion, Trump’s rhetoric has just given a free pass for many white Americans to be proud and racist. It has also fragmented what is and what isn’t racism and has given strength, boldness and courage to those who have had racist thoughts to spit them out loud and proud. Its funny because most people are not racists and no one is born a racist, but with a society (more specifically Western society) which is fueled by fear of other races and religions any leader who dribbles this rhetoric will always be victorious in this toxic climate.
In addition, the progressive side of politics have not done itself too many favours. They too are at fault and have opened up the vault for hate, ignorance and idiotic behaviours, because they too need to win this vote, and unfortunately, this vote does make up the majority. I see it in the US where I am living right now, and I see it in Australia which is my home country. The left/progressive political parties play into this rhetoric and unlike the ultra right wing conservatives, and racists, don’t voice it out loudly, but instead, remain silent and allow the racist right wing wolves to jump in and take the limelight – all because they too need these votes, so to stay silent is much better than voicing out against. What this does, is it gives air and oxygen to this hate, and anyone who steps up to the plate to take the trophy will be the leader. This is exactly what Trump did and this as stated earlier, paved his way to success.
The other issue which needs to be addressed is that with the increased online recording of racism incidences, a very tiny portion of these incidences have been proven to be falsified. Now this does not take away the fact that the issue is there and it does not take away that the majority of incidences are legitimate and has emotionally affected the person (s) involved. The sad thing is there are certain individuals from the non-white American community who seem to join in on this banter and claim that ALL incidences are lies and made up. In some ways, these non-white Americans are selling their souls to the devil and providing the Trump camp a front to the non-white community for free, which is absolutely ridiculous. As an example, I have seen this within a number of Asian social media groups, where fellow Asian brothers and sisters are putting all their efforts to disprove the racist incidences which have happened. When confronted for reasons as to why they are hell bent on disproving the incidences their usual attack is to claim that ALL anti-Trump protests (which have happened en mass across the “blue” US States) are violent, disastrous and a show of poor behaviour. The reality is a minority of individuals at these protests have been violent, but the majority, are peaceful and an expression of disdain among many Americans of all colours.
So, as an Asian Australian who is currently living in the US (and luckily in a “blue” state), I had the opportunity to work on the US Election. Being a non-American working at the coalface, I was able to witness it all – the good, the bad and the ugly. Despite the fact, my own experience during the campaign has been relatively smooth, asides from a few small skirmishes with pro-Trump campaigners, I was able to compare the situation in America to the situation in Australia. My take is that there really hasn’t been much of a difference. Australia elected their own lesser version of Trump in Pauline Hanson (now an Australian Senator) and her One Nation Party, who dribbles the same hate and racism, exactly like the Trump supporters. It is this hate that has re birthed white supremacy, KKK or whatever you want to call them. These groups are now bolder, more courageous and proud, coming out into the public to rally and protest against anything which is not white. I have seen this unfold in Australia and it is these groups which are VIOLENT and DESTRUCTIVE.
What can be done to heal this wound? Well I guess it will be a combination of ridding these hateful leaders as well as education and outreach. As we all know some people who hold racist or stereotyped views may never change their views, but there are many who are not racist or who are on the fence. These are the people whose views can change for the better, but it won’t be easy, but it is possible. For those who have experienced instances of racism, the most important thing is to report it to the authorities if you feel threatened or record it down for future reference. Do not be afraid to confront racism you experience or witness, but do so safely. Teach your children about tolerance and respect and support school and community programs which do so. It may be a negative outlook, but I believe it will be a generational change which needs to occur before things begin to improve, and as stated just above this will be all about educating and reaching out to the future, the/our children.