Askia MuhammadColumnistsOp-EdOpinion

MUHAMMAD: Trump Has Perfected ‘How to Be White’

The secret to Donald J. Trump’s unwavering “popularity,” despite his flaws which would cripple a conventional politician, is that he has perfected and mainstreamed “how to be white.”

The Donald, a New Yorker, is the ideal blend of the ideological, but non-whiteness of Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater — the Godfather of the U.S. swing to the white-right — and Alabama Gov. George Wallace and Louisiana state Sen. David Duke, who were just too Southern, just too much “redneck” for them to be true national contenders.

The Texan and two-term President George W. Bush didn’t play his White Card. His daddy, President George H.W. Bush, was a “Connecticut Yankee” who tried to take to the White House “traditional American values,” says his White House bio. So, even though he was officially a “Texan,” W. still had those Kennebunkport, Maine, patrician roots, and never espoused the openly racist views that it takes to be the “White President,” the way Trump has done.

Trump pulls no punches. He minces no words. He says what the White, Alt-Right, Proud Boys, Boogaloo Boys, Tea Party folks have been whispering for decades — he’s unabashedly for white folks, and their sad agenda.

Trump calls Black athletes “sons of bitches.” And in new books by Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen and famed journalist Bob Woodward (with recorded interviews to back him up), Trump is quoted saying totally ungodly things about Barack Obama and even Nelson Mandela that no other prominent national politician would dare to say. The white tribal instinct laps it up.

Trump always knows the white thing to do — and always does it.

The United States is wantonly skewed in favor of loving that White Narrative. For example, although he was a terrible military leader with his golden hair and outsized ego, Gen. George Custer (really a lieutenant colonel who claimed the “breveted” rank because of bravery during the Civil War) is viewed by most Americans as a sympathetic figure, a martyr who was slaughtered by Sitting Bull and the Lakota at the Battle of Little Big Horn — or as the Natives called it, the Battle of Greasy Grass — Custer’s Last Stand.

Custer was wrong. He underestimated the size of Sitting Bull’s forces, but still thought they would turn and run when he and his troops attacked. Every member of Custer’s force was killed, including his horse, but most Americans sympathize with Custer, the aggressor. White people, Americans, just want to side with the white guys in the genocide against the Natives and the stealing of their land. And so, it is.

Trump has perfected the game. He’s a non-Southerner, who champions every “redneck” cause. Trump’s followers, throughout the “Northern” states like Montana, North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, proudly display the Confederate flag, along with the Stars and Stripes, along with their Trump banners. It’s the “white” thing to do.

The number one rule to being white, which Trump never violates, is to hold Black people in contempt and to demonstrate that contempt whenever possible.

And even though by any measurement, he’s as un-Christian as anyone in public life — multiple divorces; well-documented reports of cheating on each of his wives; accusations of sexual abuse by dozens of women including some who were underage at the time; confessions of groping women for fun; payments to silence porn stars; he still enjoys the support of white evangelical religious voters. Some even think he is a messiah. That’s because Trump’s White Game demonizes the things which those white churchgoers hate.

He comes across, not as a wicked sinner, but as an “imperfect” person, who — like most of us — has stumbled from the straight path, from time to time. White people who hate “the others” — Black folks and all the non-conforming lifestyle folks who have made their way to the table of political correctness — white folks who hate the “deviants” like it that Trump demonizes them, and will wage holy war against them.

And so, we have this character, who told us four years ago that he could “shoot someone in the middle of (New York’s) Fifth Avenue and not lose one vote,” is proving to us every day, that he can do just that. He’s a draft-dodger, who trashes the military dead, injured and captured; who cannot even recite the words to the Pledge of Allegiance, who gets to drape himself as a patriot.

Unless you view him as a White Knight in a country with racial demographics rapidly trending toward dark people, it’s almost impossible to see how he gets away with it. Come November, we’ll see if his charade is once again successful.

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Askia Muhammad

WPFW News Director Askia Muhammad is also a poet, and a photojournalist. He is Senior Editor for The Final Call newspaper and he writes a weekly column in The Washington Informer.

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