The real deal that white supremacy and Trump racist dog whistles distract from is the changing racial demographics in America, Isaac Newton Farris Jr. writes.
First published in August 2019.
White Supremacy and Trump racist dog whistles have reaped mass murder on the United States this month, and while America is rightfully focused on remedies to prevent these racist acts from reoccurring it must not be distracted from the real deal.
The real deal that white supremacy and Trump racist dog whistles distract from is the changing racial demographics in America. Changing race demographics that will make American Whites a racial minority for the first time in American history. The white racist like the ones who shouted “Jews will not replace us” in Charlottesville, Virginia that believes in white supremacy and Trump racist dog whistles, are a highly visible vocal minority.
A vocal minority that must not be ignored, but must not be obsessed over either because the focus must be on the silent majority of NON-RACIST American Whites. Some of whom who do share one thing in common with the racist that white supremacy and Trump racist dog whistles appeal to, and that is FEAR. Fear about what becoming a minority population will mean. The remainder of the non-racist whites who don’t necessarily fear the prospect of becoming a minority population is still experiencing apprehension about what it will mean.
All people either fear, resist, or experience apprehension about change. Because all people believe they will lose something of value or fear they will not be able to adapt to the new change. Yale psychologist Jennifer Richeson and Maureen Craig, a graduate student working under her (now a psychology professor at NYU), conducted an experiment that confirms this.
First, they had a group of American White participants read a summary from the U.S. Census Bureau projecting that American Whites would soon become a minority population. After reading this the group showed a greater preference for their own racial groups, responded positively to statements like “I would rather work alongside people of my same ethnic origin”, and they felt less warm feelings toward other races. According to Craig, the results suggest that “a sense of a zero-sum competition between groups is activated,” when people hear about the rise of one group, they automatically fear it will mean a decline in their own.
The exact same results were found in a study led by psychologist H. Robert Outten who reported nearly identical findings in both Americans and Canadians. And apparently, it’s not just racial attitudes that shift when American Whites are exposed to the demographic data, political attitudes shift too. Richeson and Craig found that exposure to the census report caused American Whites to be more politically conservative on a variety of policies like affirmative action, immigration, defense spending, and health care reform. These negative shifts were not just limited to American Whites who believe in white supremacy and Trump racist dog whistles, Richeson says “The point is that people who think of themselves as not prejudiced and liberal demonstrate these threat effects.”
Richeson and Craig also ran a version of the experiment where American Whites were told that even though the minority-majority switch was coming, the social order would continue to be the same and American Whites would still come out on top in American society. In that version, the vast majority of the negative results disappeared. “And that’s how you know it’s status threat” that is fueling the negative results, Richeson says. It could also be an indication of how unjust it is to accuse the silent majority of American Whites of being racist like those American Whites that white supremacy and Trump racist dog whistles appeal too. It is human nature for one to feel at a minimum discomfort to a maximum of desperation when one loses control of something one has always had control of. For the entire existence of America that we and the world know whites have been the majority population.
The changing racial demographics raise some legitimate questions in the minds of American Whites about how the emerging majority will change what is felt by American Whites to be societal norms. After all, society is a reflection of its population and rule number one in America is one person one vote majority rule. Secondly, when the majority of American existence has been dominated by racial segregation and racial majority domination of the racial minority, it’s understandable that the current racial majority would be very nervous about becoming a racial minority.
Just as American society has taken steps to mitigate or correct past injustices done to American Blacks by acknowledging the psychological effects of both slavery and discrimination on American Blacks, American society now should take steps to acknowledge and mitigate the psychological impact of the changing racial demographics will have on American Whites. One, it’s simply the right thing to do, and two, as it was in the case of American Blacks it’s in the best interest of our whole society.
If we don’t, Donald Trump won’t be the last president elected running on a white nationalist platform. American Whites were the ONLY demographic Trump won in 2016. The percentage of American White males and females that voted for President Trump was so high that it included the non-racist whites who previously voted for the first black president – the same non-racist whites who are now silently concerned about the consequences of losing majority population status. For these non-racist whites loss of majority status raises legitimate questions like: will the definition of the American dream change, will the symbols of America change, will the definition of who is an American change, and the biggest question of them all, how will the new colored majority of non-whites treat the new minority of whites.
Unfortunately, the silent majority of non-racist American Whites don’t feel comfortable expressing these legitimate questions out of fear of being labeled racist. So, their repressed anxieties find COMPROMISED relief in a President whose subliminal message is: I will protect American white people. While this is a beacon of light for those who support white supremacy and Trump racist dog whistles, the silent white majority cringe at his racist dog whistles and are genuinely embarrassed by his discriminatory immigrant policies. But since American society has yet to take the Affirmative Action step of having the legitimate non-racist conversation about what a new population majority in America means, Trump’s abnormal racially divisive manipulation game is the only game in town that comes near to addressing the silent majority’s normal human anxieties.
Maybe President Trump has finally gone too far for the silent white majority with his race manipulation tactics, but with over a year left before the election, only time will tell. If he has not gone too far for the silent majority the economy is strong and unemployment is at a historic low, the only thing standing between reelecting white supremacy and Trump is an open non-racist conversation about what a new colored majority population means, if anything, for a future America.🔷
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