The evolution of Black Lives Matter, the election of Donald Trump, and a growing fear of immigrants have led to deep levels of resentment and hostility among a sizable segment of white Americans.
Many Americans of European descent misguidedly see the nation they grew up in as infested with hordes of non-White people, threatening to resign the country as a potpourri of foreign languages, multiple religions and mass confusion.
Not all white Americans harbor such deplorable viewpoints, of course. But those that do have been indoctrinated by diverse swaths of right-wing commentary, ranging from far-right radio personalities such as Michael Savage and Mark Levin to xenophobic politicians like Lauren Bobert and Marjorie Taylor-Greene. This combination of retrograde influences has resulted in many conservatives constantly looking over their shoulders and under their beds for illegal aliens.
The “people of color as boogeyman” argument is one that has been historically propagated by the parochial, isolationist, political right for decades. Such a reductive mindset can be traced directly to white denial and white fragility.
Many people of all races and ethnic groups, including white Americans, are deftly astute to the fact our country has failed to live up to the principles espoused in the Constitution. Everyone is well aware America as a nation has historically mistreated and abused its Black and other non-white citizens, denials notwithstanding.
That’s why whenever a person of color overtly espouses such truths, reaction from certain segments of the white populace is swift and callously fierce. Some are not above engaging in racial slurs, threatening or advocating violence and other forms of racial invective. As a columnist, I can personally attest to being the target of such behavior. The sad part about it is that there are usually some non-whites (usually conservatives of color) who are more than eager to jump on the self-flagellation “yes, I agree with you bigots” bandwagon.
The truth is the majority of whites who throw racist shade on critics of white racism do so from old fashioned racist rhetoric. The message is that people of color should keep their mouths shut, be humble and “know their place.”
The blatantly racist, profoundly ignorant and arrogant argument being made here is that people of non-European heritage are not legitimate citizens of America, and that our very existence is supposed to be periodically reviewed and verified by others. Guess what? The 14th amendment settled this question once and for all in 1868.
Many of these same racist individuals who would deny people of color the right to utilize our first amendment rights are the very people who have no apprehension engaging and exercising their constitutional rights no matter how vile, unprofessional, racist or disrespectful. Many of them are the same people who enthusiastically cheer when Donald Trump engages in vicious diatribes in his criticisms of individuals he is upset with or dislikes.
It is evident these people see dissent and free speech as reserved for whites only. In essence, free speech for me, but not for thee.
The obscene level of hypocrisy is staggering. Many of these so-called patriotic Americans have been so adamant in their efforts to proclaim their own moral (and in some cases, racial) superiority, dismissing the viewpoints of those they personify as “the other,” vilifying them for their positions, that they have failed miserably in their efforts to listen to or consider others.
This is the classic example of White supremacy, white fragility, white arrogance and white privilege manifesting itself.
In short, to all you fragile, racially pathetic bigots, get over yourselves.
Copyright 2023 Elwood Watson, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate
Elwood Watson is a professor of history, Black studies, and gender and sexuality studies at East Tennessee State University. He is also an author and public speaker.