On the anniversary of the “Unite the Right” rally that left several anti-racism protesters injured and one dead at the hands of a white supremacist, President Donald Trump issued a tweet meant to display his condemnation of racism despite the fact that the racists involved are avid Trump supporters. Inside the 34-word tweet, however, was a hidden message that not many caught. Dan Rather, however, heard him loud and clear.
At first glance, the tweet sounds good and addresses the criticism that Trump has failed to condemn the racist base he incited with his race-baiting presidential campaign in 2016. Speaking out against racism and violence is what we as Americans expect of our president and Trump wants to be able to say that he’s done so.
If you didn’t catch the underlying dogwhistle, you’re not alone.
In other words, Trump’s “racism is wrong” tweet is just another way of saying what he said after the death of Heather Heyer in 2017 at the hands of white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia in a statement that has drawn much criticism and been pointed to as proof of Trump’s own racism.
‘You had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.’
NFL players kneel silently to protest the deaths of unarmed Black men. These protests do NOT result in the loss of life. trump has often gone after them viciously.
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) August 12, 2018
Trump’s mention of “all types of racism and violence” is, in essence, a nod to those Trump supporters who swear that the challenge to their white supremacy is akin to the systemic racism faced by people of color. Of course, there is no weight to this argument and it’s nothing more than an attempt to drown out the voices of those who do experience oppression and to advance the cause of white supremacy, but the support of these notions by a United States president lends credence to that harmful point of view.
I’m a bit surprised at the naïveté or disingenuousness of certain parties lauding Trump’s “all kinds of racism” tweet as a vast improvement over “very fine people on both sides.”
“All kinds of racism” is clear code for prioritizing “reverse racism,” which is not a thing.#Resist
— Chris Stroop (@C_Stroop) August 12, 2018
As the second gathering of Unite the Right gets underway in front of the White House at Lafayette Park on Sunday, let’s not forget that we have a president in office who has still never once acknowledged that black and brown people face discrimination due to the color of their skin and that actual evidence exists that this benefits only white people still today.
Featured image via Flikr by Gage Skidmore under a Creative Commons license