• author
    • Terri Connett

    • October 2, 2017 in Columnists

    You just might be a racist

    On June 23, 2017 I wrote (out of frustration) my self-proclaimed, final essay on race. I held off for three months. But I just happened to catch Chris Hayes’ interview of Ta-Nehisi Coates, who was discussing his article, “The First White President,” featured in October’s ‘The Atlantic,” and taken from Coates’ book, “We Were Eight Years in Power.”

    When Hayes asked about his assertion that Donald Trump is a white supremacist, Coates broke into a spellbinding riff: “If you own a business that attempts to keep black people from renting from you. If you’ve said you don’t want black people counting your money. If you say a judge can’t be fair to you because he’s Mexican. If you say the first black president wasn’t born here despite proof he was. If you say that black president wasn’t smart enough to go to Harvard Law School and demanded to see his grades. You just might be a white supremacist.”


    I’m guessing nobody’s ever linked Ta-Nehisi Coates to Jeff Foxworthy. But I have no doubt Ta-Nehisi was channeling Jeff’s “you might be a redneck” shtick.

    I always thought those jokes were kind of cute. And I assumed real-life rednecks don’t take themselves too seriously. Foxworthy would start with observations like, “You might be a redneck if . . .”

    “You consider the fifth grade your senior year.”
    “Your mother has ‘ammo’ on her Christmas list.”
    “The Home Shopping operator recognizes your voice.”
    “The dog catcher calls for a backup unit when visiting your house.”
    “The neighbors started a petition over your Christmas lights.”
    “You’ve ever worn a tube top to a wedding.”
    “Your brother-in-law is also your uncle.”

    Of course there’s no harm in being a hillbilly. But there’s a world of hurt and ultimate ruin for bigotry. Ta-Nehisi Coates burned his rhythmic testimony of our racist president’s behavior onto my brain. Do all white supremacists or racists realize that’s what they are?

    According to Webster: White supremacism is a racist ideology based upon the belief that white people are superior in many ways to people of other races and that therefore white people should be dominant over other races. Racism is discrimination and prejudice towards people based on their race or ethnicity.

    For efficiency, I’m going to use the term “racist” to cover both “righty whitey” teams.

    Racists in America have been given the signal “you do you” by the president. And I agree with the theory this was born from a “blacklash” over Barack Obama’s presidency.

    Nobody explains this better than Ta-Nehisi Coates. The following is an excerpt from “The First White President.”

    “It is often said that Trump has no real ideology, which is not true—his ideology is white supremacy, in all its truculent and sanctimonious power. Trump inaugurated his campaign by casting himself as the defender of white maidenhood against Mexican ‘rapists,’ only to be later alleged by multiple accusers, and by his own proud words, to be a sexual violator himself. In Trump, white supremacists see one of their own. For Trump, it almost seems that the fact of Obama, the fact of a black president, insulted him personally. Before Barack Obama, niggers could be manufactured out of Sister Souljahs, Willie Hortons, and Dusky Sallys. But Donald Trump arrived in the wake of something more potent—an entire nigger presidency with nigger health care, nigger climate accords, and nigger justice reform, all of which could be targeted for destruction or redemption, thus reifying the idea of being white.”


    If you didn’t flinch after that, your white privilege has overtaken your humanity. I’m no Jeff Foxworthy, but here’s my bit.

    You might be a racist if:

    You think reverse racism is a real thing and is as prevalent as racism.
    Your knee jerk reaction to Black Lives Matter was All Lives Matter.
    You ignore the reason Kaepernick took the knee and pretend it’s a protest against patriotism.
    Your Facebook post, in defense of Trump, begins by “refusing to apologize for being white.”
    You do know Hawaii is a state and still believe Barack Obama wasn’t born in the U.S.
    You complained when an African American moved to an office near you because “they have an odor.”
    You equate peaceful protestors with the white supremacists they are protesting.
    You write “Go home nigger” outside the rooms of five black Air Force Academy cadets.

    If you are a racist or white supremacist, I know you feel uplifted by your Grand Wizard in the Oval Office. But that’s only temporary. Hang onto your hood, but we just might get another black man, or black woman, in the White House. At the very least, our next president won’t have a racist heart. But I know that won’t change who you are. You’ll just have to crawl back under your rock. You’ll still be a racist. But you’ll have to keep it to your deplorable little self.

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