What do Europeans think of American girls?

Black America

Christopher Vials

To person

is Professor of American Studies at the University of Connecticut. His research interests include social movements of the political right and left. [email protected]

On July 25, 2017, US President Donald Trump addressed cheering supporters in Youngstown, Ohio. The city is considered to be one of the most heavily de-industrialized cities in the "Rust Belt" - the former largest industrial region in the USA. In his speech, which was addressed to an almost entirely white audience, Trump made up for virtually every major problem in the United States people of color Responsible: "radical Islamic terrorists" who wanted to destroy America, activists of the Black Lives Matter movement who disrespected "our great police officers" and undocumented immigrants who are fundamentally criminals for Trump and his audience. He used a technique of dehumanization borrowed from the darkest times in European history: "These predators and criminal aliens who drug our communities and hunt down innocent young people, beautiful innocent young people, are nowhere in our country you have seen the reports about some of these animals. They don't use firearms because it goes too fast and doesn't cause their victims enough pain. That's why they grab a young, beautiful girl, 16, 15, for example Years old, and cut her into pieces because they want her to be in excruciating pain before she dies. These are the animals we have protected for so long. "[1]

Notwithstanding the fact that the undocumented immigrant group is proportionally less likely to commit crimes than the native group, [2] Trump continues to gather model white families who have fallen victim to "illegal" foreigners, and recently founded the Trump administration the organization Victims of Innocent Crime Engagement (VOICE) to help victims of undocumented immigrants and to stir up its followers with stories of migrant crime.

It is true that Trump never once used the words "white", "black" or "Latino" in his speech and even observed certain basic rules of political discourse in the USA. But his audience understood the subtext only too well: The people knew that the criminal "animals" were not whites like them and the president. Her furious desire to punish these non-white criminals linked her to the speaker, despite the huge gap that separates her from him in personal wealth. Trump's rhetoric was based on his audience identifying as "whites" and expressing their resentment and alienation through this categorization. It also caused the audience to show solidarity with an incredibly rich person across class boundaries. This was achieved because of a common racism.

As much as Trump's rise was a turning point in American history, his politics - the politics of whiteness - did not fall from the sky. Rather, it is made up of deeply rooted structures and political currents white supremacy (white supremacy) that have shaped the US political landscape since its inception.

White as a social category

One cannot understand the term "race" in the United States if one focuses on being black and ignores the categorization of "white" and its historical significance. An examination of "whiteness" must be preceded by the fact that "white" is neither just a skin color nor a status based on biology. Instead, it is a socially constructed category that is nonetheless real in its effects. In the New World, the "white race" was created in the late 17th century as a means of maintaining social order and hierarchy within an emerging capitalist world system. She kept that role when the new nation of the United States came into being.

From 1790 to 1952 - nearly three-quarters of US history - whiteness was an explicit requirement for citizenship in the United States. So white was a legal category that decided who was admitted into the country, who owned land, who could vote and who was allowed to marry whom. White supremacy - the bedrock of racism - is therefore not just a personal opinion or a backward mindset held by isolated individuals in the United States. Rather, it is a material, institutional structure that determines how resources are distributed. Certainly, comments from a work colleague or neighbor can be racist. But if you understand racism as something structural, as something that distributes resources based on racial categories, you also see it in institutions where people of color are represented below average. This underrepresentation would not be seen as a natural part of everyday life, but as an expression of one white supremacy based society.

The rise of Donald Trump and the popularization of his politics are forcing us to further refine our definitions in order to distinguish between racism and racists. Even if racism is structural and omnipresent, not everyone is automatically an active racist. It is utterly impossible to grow up in the United States without internalizing the racial premises and perceptions: even people of color internalize negative images of themselves or of other minority groups that they have been inoculated by American culture.

However, behaving as a racist goes beyond that: it means identifying yourself politically and socially as white, actively elevating whiteness to a valid social category. An expression of this could be, for example, to support a policy that people of color consistently blames social problems while stylizing whites as victims who are not allowed to express their opinions publicly; or to see blacks, Latinos and Asians as people who make little contribution to society, but who consume resources generated by hard-working whites. It goes without saying that most racists in the United States still reject the term "racist".