Racism, racists and Trump – a personal perspective

I would like to start with two definitions, so we will all know what it is I am about to discuss. In order to get an acceptable (to I hope all) definition I did a Google search and these were the first definitions.

Racism: “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief one’s own race is superior. The belief all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race”.

Racist: “a person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another. Showing or feeling discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or believing that a particular race is superior to another”.

Based on the above, I like to think I am NOT a racist and neither is President Trump, who I will get to later. However, both of us have been accused of being racist. I am not going to defend myself here other than to reiterate what Martin Luther King said on the subject, which happens to equate with my own values. When I got actively involved community activism some 20 years ago, in the days before the 2010 Equality Act, an important concern and part of my work was implementing Equal Opportunities policies and organizing diversity events. But as these days I observe cultural shifts, I think a bigger concern than racism, especially that to do with skin color, is prejudice and discrimination against those whose culture and beliefs do NOT gel with those of the controlling anti-racist liberal elites.

I grew up in a time that I can now look back on when racism was common place. I welcome steps since then to outlaw racism. While I have no doubt racism and racists still exist, often in subtle ways, I fear, such is the politically correct charged atmosphere that surrounds us these days, people are sometimes wrongly accused of being racist. One of the grey areas concerns immigration and immigrants and the vexed issue of open borders. While I have gone out of my way to support asylum seekers of any color, I also believe in immigration control and people coming into one’s own country should subscribe to its core values (a difficult thing to define) and make a net contribution to the country (a difficult thing to measure). When one broaches this difficult subject, one can well be called racist. As an aside, many in my church are foreigners (black and white) and well fulfill such criteria, and many in wider society don’t.

Which brings me to Donald Trump and the much commented on story that broke at the weekend: “Donald Trump tells congresswomen to ‘go back’ to the ‘original places’ they came from”.  Most who have waded in with a view have been critical, including this morning’s BBC News that described this as a racist attack. I am loathe yet again to come to his defence, but in my view, having closely followed him,  he is not racist (although some of his followers are). I suspect he couldn’t care less what a person’s race is and is more interested they are loyal (at least according his definition) Americans, and is the reason why he spoke out.

I agree with my Facebook friend: “It was poor judgement to use that expression but it wasn’t racist. With all the evils in the world, instead of running the country you live in down, there are places that need that passion for healing. Even if they are born in the US, their heritage is elsewhere. And the reason it was misguided was because the ‘white’ people are also immigrants or the children of immigrants. Got to love the general need to turn everything upside down so it can be used as kindling for the fire”.

I agree with Melanie Phillips: “Now a storm has erupted in America over tweets by President Trump in which he apparently took aim at four young ethnic minority congresswomen: Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley. This language was undeniably offensive, unacceptable and — if he was indeed referring to all four women — factually wrong. But this is not a normal president. He uses offensive language to speak in a kind of code to his supporters, and to set a trap for his foes who fail to understand the code and promptly fall into the snare. This is precisely what has happened. For his critics have omitted to note that, after telling these congresswomen to go and sort out their presumed countries of origin, he said: “Then come back and tell us how to do it.” In other words, his point was about their behaviour, specifically their opposition to his “racist” immigration policy. Clearly, he considers this akin to treachery from politicians who, between them, have taken positions that are anti-American, anti-white and anti-Jewish. What’s more, he knows that millions of Americans will be thinking exactly the same thing. This is the pot that Trump is now deftly stirring”.

I leave it there for now, although no doubt the subject will roll on. I could elaborate but won’t. While I will leave it to others to defend me (or Trump) from accusations of racism, I would reiterate racism is wrong and when it truly manifests itself it needs to be called out. I would commend the teaching of St. Paul: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” Galatians 3:28.

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