What Senate Impeachment Trial, Virginia Gun Rally... - Rolling Stone

1 year ago
As the definition of whiteness in America has expanded over generations, the unearned advantages that come with it become harder to kick. While racism is rightly regarded as a social disease, the privilege that it affords white people can be more like a drug. So even when Donald Trump becomes an obviously horrid president whose policies hurt even some of his own voting blocs, there are many who won’t give up the sweet taste of superiority over other groups — immigrants of color, African Americans — whom he marginalizes even further. That’s one big reason why, rather than recoiling from the injuries Trump is inflicting upon the rule of law, his nearly monochromatic base is following his example, mistaking actual moves towards equality, legality, and public safety as encroachments upon their freedoms. Doing so is not merely unpatriotic in the sense that they favor party over country — such indulgence edges us closer to authoritarianism and fascism. That indulgence is evident this week as Trump’s backers and apologists put both their white privilege and white fragility fully on parade. Whether in the form of a rigged trial or an armed demonstration, groups that primarily represent the interests of white Americans have behaved as if the end times are coming. They aren’t under any real threat, yet they have reacted with the kind of fervor and extremism that nonwhite groups with valid grievances couldn’t dream of displaying. The most visual example of this surfaced on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Richmond, Virginia’s state capital, where tens of thousands converged. It was an armed flood of (mostly) white men protesting announced planned gun-control measures for the state, such as universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons. Media outlets deemed it peaceful because we didn’t see Charlottesville redux, but I’ll be damned if I subscribe to some notion that hundreds of thousands of angry white men with guns storming into town is in any way “nonv

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