On Wednesday, after weeks of refusing to accept the election result, President Trump’s supporters stormed the United States Capitol as members of Congress met to undertake their duties to confirm the election results and confirm the victory of Joe Biden fulfill.
Much is said about these actions threatening the very core of our democracy and undermining the rule of law. Commentators and political observers will rightly note that these actions are the result of disinformation and increased political polarization in the United States. And there will be no shortage of debate and discussion about the role Trump played in creating this type of extreme behavior. However, we need to be careful in these discussions that it is not just about people being angry about the outcome of an election. Nor should we for a second believe that this is a simple manifestation of the President’s lies about the integrity of his defeat. This, like so much in American politics, is about race, racism, and the tenacious commitment of white Americans to white domination, regardless of the cost or consequence.
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It is no coincidence that most of the people who came to the nation’s capital were white, and it is no coincidence that they join the Republican Party and this President. Additionally, it is no accident that symbols of white racism, including the Confederate flag, were present and prominently depicted. Rather, years of research make it clear that what we saw in Washington, DC, is the forcible outgrowth of a belief system that argues that white Americans and leaders who pacify white should indefinitely hold the levers of power in that country. And unfortunately that is what we should expect from those whose white identities are threatened by an increasingly diverse citizenry.
[Republicans Control Whether Trump Stays Or Goes]
Let’s start here: scholars interested in the sociological foundations of white racism often alert us to group status concerns as a starting point for understanding white Americans’ attitudes toward members of other social groups. In a famous 1958 essay on the subject of “Racial prejudice as a sense of group positionHerbert Blumer, a well-known sociologist, wrote the following:
There are four basic types of feelings that seem to be always present in racial prejudice in the dominant group. They are (1) a sense of superiority, (2) a sense that the inferior race is inherently different and alien, (3) a sense of ownership of certain areas of privilege and advantage, and (4) a fear and a Suspicion that the subordinate breed is harboring designs on the privileges of the dominant breed.
Building on Blumer’s early work, other scholars have highlighted the consequences of seeing white Americans perceive threats to their dominant position in the social hierarchy. Something research For example, social psychologists Maureen Craig and Jennifer Richeson note that remembering white Americans of changing racial demographics leads them to adopt a more negative racist attitude towards minority groups. The same researchers Also, find out that these memories cause politically unconnected White Americans to report stronger ties with the Republican Party and express greater political conservatism. These results make sense because the GOP is widely perceived as a party that cares about white interests. This perception dates back to Trump’s election but was no doubt bolstered by his rise to power in the party. In her award-winning book “White identity politicsAshley Jardina goes further than any other scientist when it comes to documenting the causes and consequences of white identity, arguing that the increasing importance of white as a social category largely corresponds to demographic change in this country. Jardina finds in her research that this in turn has raised concerns among some white Americans that their takeover of power has become increasingly precarious. most sharply highlighted by the rise of Barack Obama, a black man, into the White House.
Finally, Larry Bartels, a renowned scholar in American politics at Vanderbilt University, wrote the following in his research focused on the erosion of Republicans’ commitment to democracy:
The support that many Republicans express for violations of a multitude of vital democratic norms is primarily due not to partisan effects, enthusiasm for President Trump, political cynicism, economic conservatism, or general cultural conservatism, but to what I consider ethnic Called antagonism. The single poll item with the highest average correlation with anti-democratic sentiments is not a measure of attitudes towards Trump, but rather a point that prompts respondents to agree that “discrimination against whites is as big a problem today as discrimination against blacks and others Minorities ”. Not far behind are points that say that “things have changed so much that I often feel like a stranger in my own country”, that immigrants get more than their fair share of state funds, that welfare recipients often have it better as those who work for a living, speaking English is “essential to being a true American” and that African Americans “need to stop using racism as an excuse”.
To sum up Bartels’ claims, white Republicans who oppose democracy do so in part because they dislike those who they believe serve democracy. Furthermore, they believe that the interests of non-white Americans have been given priority over the interests of their racial group. Many white Americans seem to be wondering why they are campaigning for a democracy that benefits “these people”.
[The Police’s Tepid Response To The Capitol Breach Wasn’t An Aberration]
So let’s go back to the pictures from Wednesday when a crowd of white people with American flags and Trump flags and symbols of the Confederation gathered in the Capitol. For these white Americans the term is America itself is probably whiteThe American flag that they so proudly carry as a symbol is also one of white supremacy and racial domination. The iconography of the failed confederacy, of course, along with other memories of white racist violence, including the placement of a noose around a tree are near the Capitol intentionally, also. For those who broke glass in the windows of the Capitol, who marched against American democracy, who modeled the riotous behavior of slave states, threatened the lives of elected officials and caused chaos that made the dangerous situation we find ourselves in, exposed in as a country – these are not political protesters asking their government to redress grievances. Nor are they patriots whose actions should be supported in a society based on the rule of law.
Instead, we need to characterize them for what they are: they are a dangerous crowd of heavy white people who are concerned that their position in the status hierarchy is being threatened by a multiracial coalition of Americans who brought Biden to power and defeated Trump, the 2017 Ta-Nehisi Coates called the first white president. On this provocative point Coates wrote: “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.” So when we think of those who gathered in Washington DC on Wednesday and who are sure to continue their advance against democratic rule, we must not miss the fact that they are not simply defending Donald Trump. They come to defend white supremacy.