More smart analysis from Ta-Nehisi Coates

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The focus on one subsector of Trump voters—the white working class—is puzzling, given the breadth of his white coalition. Indeed, there is a kind of theater at work in which Trump’s presidency is pawned off as a product of the white working class as opposed to a product of an entire whiteness that includes the very authors doing the pawning. The motive is clear: escapism…. The left would much rather have a discussion about class struggles, which might entice the white working masses, instead of about the racist struggles that those same masses have historically been the agents and beneficiaries of. Moreover, to accept that whiteness brought us Donald Trump is to accept whiteness as an existential danger to the country and the world. But if the broad and remarkable white support for Donald Trump can be reduced to the righteous anger of a noble class of smallville firefighters and evangelicals, mocked by Brooklyn hipsters and womanist professors into voting against their interests, then the threat of racism and whiteness, the threat of the heirloom, can be dismissed. Consciences can be eased; no deeper existential reckoning is required.

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More opinion than history lesson, but a good reminder

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For this reason, Jews are the only “white people” obsessively targeted by white supremacists. So are they really white, not at all or something in between? After Charlottesville, it’s clear we no longer have the luxury of debating the finer points of this question. For the time being, the racists have settled it for us.

pub. 08/2017

A better lesson is here.

A Black civil rights strategist reflects on how central antisemitism is to the White nationalism he’s fighting

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What I learned when I got to Oregon, as I began to log untold hours trying to understand White nationalists and their ideas, was that antisemitism was the lynchpin of the White nationalist belief system. That within this ideological matrix, Jews—despite and indeed because of the fact that they often read as White—are a different, unassimilable, enemy race that must be exposed, defeated, and ultimately eliminated. Antisemitism, I discovered, is a particular and potent form of racism so central to White supremacy that Black people would not win our freedom without tearing it down.

pub. 06/2017

Readings about race

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This Google Doc went around some time back. I’ll read and post some of the articles it references myself, but see the doc for more links and offline resources for white folks looking to get outside-their-own-heads perspectives on race issues.

We need to be thinking about how we are thinking about this election. This sense of comfort, of insulation from the horrors of America, is precisely what this syllabus is meant to disrupt. We, white people, clearly weren’t listening hard enough to people of color, to women, to queer people, to immigrants, to Muslims, to anyone who holds a marginalized identity. This did not come as a shock to many marginalized people. Instead, as a friend of mine put it: “I am hurt but my hurt comes mainly from having my fears proven. Not from surprise. I am so angry because there are so many people who needed this result to prove to them the divide of this country instead of listening to the voices of their token friends. Instead of hearing. Instead of trusting.” Now is the time to hear. Now is the time to educate and propel that education into action.

pub. 11/2016?

For more tips and resources, see the Resources lists, What to Do and What to Read.

 

The failures of the term “alt-right”

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But that “joke” is trolling women on Twitter and using violent, code words for black people, Muslims and Jews. They also like to say “glorious,” as in, “glorious” leader Donald Trump, a nod to Hitler’s “fields of glory.”…

…Which is why we are avoiding “alt-right” in favor of white supremacy or white nationalism.

pub. 11/2016

Minds can change with enough exposure to the unfamiliar

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He learned that Western Europe had begun not as a great society of genetically superior people but as a technologically backward place that lagged behind Islamic culture. He studied the 8th century to the 12th century, trying to trace back the modern concepts of race and whiteness, but he couldn’t find them anywhere. “We basically just invented it,” he concluded.

pub. 10/2016

The Trump campaign, white supremacy, and the sliding scale of whiteness in America

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The Poles, in other words, were not considered white. Far from it: they were considered a mysterious menace that should be expelled. …

…Over time, the strategy of positioning Poles as “white” against a dark-skinned “other” was successful. Poles came to consider themselves white, and more importantly, they came to be considered white by their fellow Americans …[and w]ith that new white identity came the ability to practice the discrimination they had once endured.

pub. 08/2016