Monday, September 26, 2016


The local NPR station interviewed some students at Hofstra University, where tonight's debate will take place. One, Garrett Shum, said this about the election:

Well, a lot of Trump's rhetoric is very much aimed at China especially. He always goes on about, like, "Oh, they're ruining us. They're giving us all these bad deals. We need to stop them. We need to beat them. We need to beat China." And because I myself am half Chinese, I do partially identify with them, and I know that if Trump does get elected that a lot of the people who feel racist toward China are going to feel very legitimized in their racism, and I'm going to have to deal with all that crap again.
Maybe that doesn't seem like the biggest worry in a possible Trump presidency, but don't discount it. I'm old enough to remember incidents like this:
ON June 23, 1982, in Detroit, a young man named Vincent Chin died. Four nights earlier, he had been enjoying his bachelor party with friends at a local bar when they were accosted by two white men, who blamed them for the success of Japan’s auto industry. “It’s because of you we’re out of work,” they were said to have shouted, adding a word that can’t be printed here. The men bludgeoned Mr. Chin, 27, with a baseball bat until his head cracked open.

The men -- a Chrysler plant supervisor named Ronald Ebens and his stepson, Michael Nitz -- never denied the acts, but they insisted that the matter was simply a bar brawl that had ended badly for one of the parties. In an agreement with prosecutors, they pleaded to manslaughter (down from second-degree murder) and were sentenced to three years of probation and fined $3,000.
Assuming President Trump can't instantly stop terrorism, get construction of a border wall under way, or generally Make America Great Again, he's going to have to up the scapegoating ante. Could we have another wave of serious Asia-bashing? Sure we could.

I'm also thinking about this tweet from last week:

Charlie Pierce thinks we really do have to worry about something like this. He specifically refers to refugees, but I don't see why this couldn't apply to people of non-European descent who are already here:
... the case of Korematsu v. United States ... , by a 6-3 vote, upheld the government's right to incarcerate citizens of Japanese origins in internment camps. And, while that decision is recognized now as one of the worst in history, and while reparations have been paid to thousands of Japanese-American families, Korematsu never has been overturned. It sits there, a land mine in the law, waiting, perhaps for a swaggering authoritarian know-nothing of a president....

You think a guy that inclined to un-American, totalitarian solutions won't find a way to use Korematsu to his own advantage? You think ... he wouldn't get the votes in Congress to do that, or that his Supreme Court appointees wouldn't uphold it?
White America doesn't care, as Bill Maher tells Vox:
The American people appear to be playing a game of chicken. They're fed up with the system. If you talk to Trump supporters, a lot of them have misgivings about things he says and does, but at the end of the day they say, "He's gonna shake things up." How serious are they? I have no idea, but we have to assume the worst.

Things are so bad that we have millions of people who simply want to flip the table over. Trump is like a Great Dane released at a toddler's birthday party: He's just gonna fuck things up, and they love it!
And people who aren't sure whether they want to cast a vote for the one person who can beat Trump are equally heedless of the damage that Great Dane might cause.

I think some of these people are reachable. I think some who might still be reachable are young third-party voters. I understand that hectoring from fellow white people has been utterly counterproductive (and I admit that I've done my share of it). But would these voters listen if the people who'd be the most obvious targets of Trumpism spoke directly about their fears in a series of Clinton campaign ads?

Team Clinton has done a good job of personalizing the effect of Trump's insults to women and the disabled. In Clinton ads, we see girls looking at themselves in the mirror while a soundtrack of sexist Trump insults plays, and we see the reactions of disabled individuals and their parents to Trump's attack on disabled reporter Serge Kovaleski.

But I haven't seen any ads in which others -- blacks, Muslims, Hispanics, Asians -- talk about their legitimate fears of government repression and legitimized racist violence in a Trump presidency. Maybe some of the Jewish writers who've been subjected to viciously anti-Semitic attacks for writing about Trump and his associates could also weigh in.

The problem with Trump isn't just that his behavior is unseemly. It's that it's dangerous. In a Trump presidency, real people could be seriously hurt. We need to hear more from some of those people. For voters who regard themselves as empathetic, especially across cultural lines, but don't understand what the big risk of a Trump win is, maybe it would be a wake-up call.


Buford said...

As a grandparent of a mixed race kid, I am really starting to see how this is all going to work out, if Trump is elected...I vow to be the fiercest defender of our Democracy, and of my Grandkids...Period...

AllieG said...

I completely agree with this post.

Anonymous said...

So... when can we round up all the white dogs and escort them, at gunpoint, to "internment camps?". Ikeep saying it over and over and over: they are a clear and present danger to my grandchildren's, now great grandchildren's future.

We can about reparations later.

Caveat Emptor
O'owlish Amenheh

Tom Hilton said...

I was thinking Vincent Chin as soon as I started reading that student's quote. I think wave of racist violence (which we're already seeing signs of) is a more likely scenario than internment camps (though we can't rule those out either), but that's not exactly a consoling thought.

KenRight said...

Coming from you or your coterie, this is rich.
I mean you were egging on all the minorities recently, saying "please help us against the mean old majority Whites, please help us liberal deracinated Whites elect Clinton, we are too weak to do it without you, in fact you must lead."
God save America from self-hating whites, whose concern for the alien trumps
concern for his own.
The Paki lady has visited Pakistan eight times or so recently.
The typical Scots-Irish American hasn't even visited the British Isles once in the past year.
It's called assimilation.

KenRight said...

Maher in the vox interview denies Trump is supporting the White working class right to job security versus free trade deals Clinton supported. At least when he says if Trump claims the vote is rigged he is speaking from a rich white man's privilege perspective. But of course Maher isn't really consistent here because elsewhere his logic is simply,the white working class bigots got what they deserved.

Soccer Dad said...

in my opinion, NPR is now part of the problem, not the solution
I have been listening to ATC and ME, and they give trump more seconds of air time for quotes then they do hillary

i would urge all NPR donors to reconsider giving them money