Saturday, January 14, 2017

JOHN LEWIS'S CONSTITUENTS ARE INVISIBLE TO WHITE AMERICA

Yesterday John Lewis talked to NBC's Chuck Todd about the way Donald Trump was elected:
Asked whether he would try to forge a relationship with the president-elect, Lewis said that he believes in forgiveness, but added, "it's going to be very difficult. I don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president."

When pressed to explain why, he cited allegations of Russian hacks during the campaign that led to the release of internal documents from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign co-chairman, John Podesta.
This morning, as you probably know, Trump lashed out at Lewis on Twitter:





I'm sure I don't need to remind you that John Lewis was being beaten up by racist cops while trying to secure equal rights for black people at a time when Trump was a smirking high school college student. And I'm sure I also don't need to point out that this won't hurt Trump with his base, or with the majority of mainstream Republicans, who may not be superfans of the president-elect but who've now jumped on the Trump train and will never disembark, or at least not until the rich get all the tax cuts to which they believe they're entitled.

But I want to direct your attention to some information about Lewis's district, which points to a larger problem in America:



By contrast, as of 2010, the percentages for America as a whole were 84.5% and 27.4%, respectively.

I found that in the Twitter feed of Dave Weigel, who makes some further points on this subject:







I'd say that we'd need to pay attention to John Lewis even if his district were crime-ridden and very poor. But it's extremely easy for white America, especially the portion of it that voted Trump, to dismiss his constituents because, in the mass media at least, they're invisible.

Trump's characterization of Lewis's district isn't based on knowledge or experience. Trump just "knows" that every black member of Congress (except for the occasional black Republican) represents a poverty-stricken high-crime area because, well, every black neighborhood is poor and crime-stricken, right? And much of white America "knows" this, too. White America might see middle-class blacks in TV or movie fiction, but I'm certain that many whites regard those characters as figures of pure fantasy.

Trump voters may complain that the media didn't take them seriously, but the press published story after story, both during and after the election, attempting to explain who Trump voters are and what they think. Meanwhile, the voters who elect Lewis are the core of the Democratic Party's support, the ones who gave Hillary Clinton her victory margins in the primaries, yet we never saw them in the media. How many stories have you encountered about a group of old white guys sitting around a heartland diner talking about how great Trump is? There was yet another one in The New York Times just a couple of days ago. Where's the equivalent for middle-class African-American Democratic voters?

The core of the party that won the popular vote consists of voters who just aren't clickbait-y, I guess. And that's the charitable explanation for why the press refuses to cover them.


7 comments:

homelessonthehighdesert said...

John Lewis represents a district where 88% of adults have high school diplomas and 41% have college degrees... in other words a not-white district.

And the white-dogs wonder why they're a dying breed.
Ten Bears

Green Eagle said...

John Lewis represents Buckhead- the Beverly Hills of Atlanta, full of multimillion dollar houses and exclusive stores and restaurants. If it is crime ridden, it's white collar crime, which is just fine with Trump.

Fiddlin Bill said...

Invisibility is a characteristic of racism. One could make a list. Putting Sessions up for AG would be one of the top 10. Russian meddling in our election is clearly illegitimizing. That's just the deal, and just as Watergate illegitimized Nixon.

Victor said...

t-RUMP's just playing to his base.

And in all "truthiness," his base knows pretty much what t-RUMP himself knows about black people and their neighborhoods:
They're miserable crime-ridden areas, as depicted on TV and in movies since... well, forever. All they know, is what they've seen there. They don't visit cities, and when/if they have to, they avoid the non-white areas.
And that's why them black folks is always wanting to be 'movin' on up, to the East Side."

And, let's not talk about all of the "gentrification" going on in cities, forcing minorities out further to their cities fringes, or out into suburbia - and, perish the thought - Heartland Murka!!!

If you grew-up in NYC, like I did in the 60's, you knew gangs were tough and bad - and that's not the realm of black gangs, exclusively. There were even tough Jewish gangs back then, if you lived or worked in the "wrong" neighborhoods.

JAYZOOS!
These "people..."

flipyrwhig said...

Trump thinks the urban world looks like the Death Wish movies.

Melissa said...

On the subject of invisibility and stereotypes....

I am vehemently on your side politically. I have cared deeply about racial and economic justice my entire life. So has my husband, who has practically been in a clinical depression since the election, even as we both try to figure out the most useful way to be politically engaged in the Trump era. It is not an exaggeration to say we love Obama deeply, despite disagreeing on some policy matters (like hiring Geitner) and that we are grateful for the very specific ways his policies helped our family economically.

And we are white. Your headline, and your article, aren't the first to make the generalization that white = clueless Trump supporter, and certainly a plurality of whites did support him, but this kind of language, at this most horrifying of times politically, makes me feel alone and invisible in my grief and anger, when what I would like would be for people like you and me to stand together because we are going to need each other if we are going to get through this.

andydelinjc said...

Steve, I agree with your conclusion and reasoning.
However, I sure wish we stop using memes like "Trump seems unbeatable".
It bugs me as much as seeing Repubs on TV get away with saying that Trump has a mandate and had an overwhelming
victory (with absolutely no push back from the hosts).
The electoral college in no way represents the choice of the American electorate.

He lost the popular vote to Clinton by 2.9 million votes and over 2.1%

We should follow John Lewis' lead and continually question his legitimacy;
especially given the interference from the FBI (Comey and NY) and the Putin/Wikileaks duet.
All of a sudden TV commentators become concerned that questioning his legitimacy further divides the country.
Can't recall that concern for the Obama birther story.
Throw it back in the Repubs faces. It has the added effect of getting under DJT's notoriously thin skin.

I think the Russian dossier (whether true or not) also offers an opportunity to push Trump's buttons
(Saturday's SNL show repeated often and propagated via social media will destroy any moral authority
or credibility that he might have.) Again, the MSM gave long term publicity to the Obama birther story
as ridiculous as it was. What's good for the goose.

Finally, here's a good piece by Booman: "We Choose Whether Trump's Legitimate":

http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2017/1/16/135425/746