So you've been called a racist

posted by Jeff | Thursday, July 23, 2020, 12:30 PM | comments: 0

I watched an exchange unfold on a friend's Facebook post that was about something divisive, and seemingly from left field, one person complained that she was actively labeled a racist, presumably because she supported Trump. So let's unpack that a bit.

First off, Trump himself is objectively a racist. He says racist things all of the time, and has for as long as he's been engaging in politics. You can cite hundreds of examples. If you're not convinced of that, that's the first problem. I would think that justifying white supremacists as having a valid point of view, or that some are "good people," is a good starting point when defining a racist. It stands to reason that if you support a racist, by extension you support racism. Look, I don't imagine that you have hate in your heart for people of color (unless of course you do), but racism isn't just throwing out the N-word and attending Klan rallies. Racism is also endorsing a known racist.

Racism does not constitute a difference in opinion where can just "agree to disagree." No, advocating for racism is not morally equivalent to being against it. Every human being has a moral obligation to speak up against racism. You can self-identify as a Republican or "conservative" or whatever, but it doesn't mean that you need to be OK with racism and racist policy. Even I agree with certain old school Republican fiscal policies (none of which are actively practiced these days). There are Republican leaders who are critical of the racist president, so if you must join a team, there are people on the team who stand up against the racism. I would align with them. Being labeled isn't a consequence of your political affiliation, it's a consequence of who you support.

We value free speech and a democratic system of government in the United States. These freedoms are not without responsibility and consequence. Despite the empowerment of white supremacists in recent years, the circles where it's acceptable to ignore them, let alone endorse them, are shrinking. If this reawakening to civil rights issues has taught us anything, it has reminded us that stamping out the two-system America that discriminates requires the active participation of the majority (i.e., white people). Supporting a man who is the antithesis of equality carries with it extraordinary risk in how you are perceived by others, personally and professionally. Again, don't misconstrue this to be because of the party you affiliate with. People can disagree along party lines, but again, there is no moral equivalence between disagreement over racism and fiscal policy about farm subsidies. The problem is the man you align with, not the party.

So if you've been called a racist, I can almost assure you, it's not because you lean right. There are right-leaning leaders who are fundamentally capable of acknowledging racism and declaring the moral imperative to end it. Trump is not one of them. Heck, there's a PAC run mostly by old white Republican dudes who align with the right side of history.

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