America's Chauvinist-in-Chief The True Face of Donald Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump is a racist and a hate preacher. It's time to stop trivializing the immense damage he is causing.

A KKK rally in Tampa, Florida in 1939
AP

A KKK rally in Tampa, Florida in 1939

A DER SPIEGEL Editorial by


Ninety years ago, in the New York borough of Queens, around 1,000 members of the Klu Klux Klan clashed with police. Fred Trump was among those arrested. His case never reached trial because times were different back then. But Fred Trump raised his son Donald to believe that he belonged to a white elite. When asked about the ugly KKK episode in 2015, the presidential candidate answered, "This never happened. This is nonsense and it never happened. This never happened. Never took place. He was never arrested, never convicted, never even charged. It's a completely false, ridiculous story." Does this mean that something can only be true if it winds up in court?

In 1973, Donald Trump was sued because he preferred renting his 14,000 New York apartments to white tenants rather than blacks. It was documented and proven. Applications were marked with a "C" for "colored" and sorted out. Black people were rejected and white people were given the apartments only minutes later. During the 1980s, casino operator Trump considered black employees to be lazier than whites. He said he feared blacks would steal from him. In April 1989, when white investment banker Trisha Meili was raped in Central Park and beaten until she fell into a coma, four blacks and a Latino were arrested. "Bring back the death penalty!" read the full-page newspaper ads Trump took out in response. A court convicted the men, who were innocent, and they were only released from prison years later.

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In November 2016, Americans elected this Trump as their president. The same man who had denounced Barack Obama as a Muslim and claimed he had been born in a foreign country. The same man who campaigned under the slogan "Make America Great Again" -- in which "great again" means a social Darwinist U.S. where American-born locals rule over immigrants, heterosexuals over homosexuals, whites over blacks and men over women. Based on his speeches, his decrees and his hiring decisions, there is no other possible interpretation of what he stands for and who he is.

America Has Lost Its Moral Compass

Trump is a racist. He is a preacher of hate. Those who pretend he is not, those who portray him as merely being an unpolished, somewhat chaotic old man, as a person who explicitly sought to avoid becoming a slick politician, are merely enabling him. "Trump tests ideas on Twitter and then he repeats and repeats them so often to the point that they have been learned," says German cognitive scientist and linguist Elisabeth Wehling, who is currently at the University of California in Berkeley. Many Americans, she says, see the world as a fundamentally aggressive place, as a dichotomy between good and evil. Trump, she says, precisely articulates these people's reality. In an uncertain time of change, the president has identified the scapegoats: immigrants and the elite. And just in case there is another terrorist attack in the U.S. in the future, Trump has already identified who is to blame -- namely the liberal judges who are now allowing refugees into the country. The White House is supposed to be home to America's moral compass. Instead, though, it currently houses the country's chauvinist-in-chief.

Everyday racism generally works in subtle ways. It starts with prejudice and discrimination: coins are thrown at Jewish children or blacks are subjected to police checks more often than whites. Then there are the racist activists on the dark fringes and, thirdly, politicians who openly service clichés. All those things can take place independently of each other. But there have repeatedly been phases when it all comes together in a perfect storm. That's what happened with National Socialism in Germany and with apartheid in South Africa. Hungary has been experiencing such a phase in the last few years -- and now Trump's America has followed. During these phases, the full impact of racism is on display and inhibitions drop.

In communist East Germany, it was thought -- prematurely as we now know -- that capitalism had been overcome. In the Western world, meanwhile, we had hoped that misogyny, homophobia, anti-Semitism and racism had been largely relegated to the past. That too, though, was premature. The aim of racist rhetoric is to bring taboos back into the sphere of "legitimate debate," placing racism on the same footing as tolerance. Thesis and antithesis. Just an expression of opinion. The U.S. is a free country.

David Duke, the leader of American racists, had good reason to thank Trump this week. When the president of the United States says that the victim is just as responsible as the murderer, or that the counterdemonstrator is just as guilty as the Nazi waving the swastika flag and shouting, "Jews will not replace us," and when Trump's own party doesn't drop him even now, then Duke and Trump have already achieved a key goal. Tolerance, empathy, kindness and diversity of opinion are all disparaged as political correctness. It becomes OK to say anything else, and if you can say it, it becomes easier to justify violence. The wheel of civilization has made a turn in reverse.

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sam_dicamillo 08/18/2017
1. Kkk
The KKK was a creation of the Democrats and designed to be the military arm of the Democrat party with the purpose and goal of terrorizing blacks who were supporters and voters of the Republican party. Quite a few of the KKK members were active in politics and were elected officals such as Democrat Congressmen and Senators. Robert Byrd Democrat and US Senator from WVa himself had been a high official in the KKK, and he was also the mentor of HRC, a fact with has been covered up by the MSM and European media. The facts concerning the origination of the KKK have been purposely distorted and camoflaged by the media in general so as to generate the false conclusion that it had been birthed by Republicans, and not by the Democrats. Sam Dicamillo "Mensa" Society Member since 1973.
spysea007 08/19/2017
2. Funny isn't it
Funny isn't it - the the liberals socialists near and far have totally dropped the Russian Collusion Narrative , and now have become just as enamoured with their new fantasy narrative "Trump is a White Supremacist" .... keep up the desperation
Newspeak 08/19/2017
3. ...
"Tolerance, empathy, kindness and diversity of opinion are all disparaged as political correctness. It becomes OK to say anything else, and if you can say it, it becomes easier to justify violence. The wheel of civilization has made a turn in reverse." Well, couldn't it help to acknowledge that political correctness has its flaws? In the end people like the open a... more than the bigotry of only adapting the outward appearance of something, the language, when everyone knows that this does not really change the things and sometimes makes everything worse. It is true, hate speech has to be condemned in all cases. But this is a topic of justice. It should be possible to say very radical things in the public and show open discontent, if certain standards are maintained. There is a difference if someone wears the symbols of a mass murder organization like the Nazis were, or does not personally like a certain type of people or behaviour, even if many others find this offensive. There will never be a society which offends no one. We have to differ more. Take a closer look. Discuss. Maybe even respond with the same force as the opponent. Nazis, to say it clear, are to be fought, and if they show violence, society should show it too. Funnily, we live in times, which are too harmonic and too brutal at the same time. (Falsely) Harmonic AND brutal for the wrong reasons.
Olivier Braun 08/19/2017
4. Shame on who ?
I am flaggerbasted by what you, in Germany dare write. Don'you see that it is you, by your stupid anti-Trump hate speech, who are making racism commonplace ? Shame on you. You should kow better.
turnipseed 08/19/2017
5. Is Trump a racist?
It doesn't matter. What matters is that a very large percentage of the American population was taken in by him and his campaign -- a shameful commentary on the ignorance and lack of understanding of our people. More Americans voted for Trump than Germans did for Hitler. Our educational system, our religious institutions, and our other opinion makers have failed miserably over the last several decades. That Trump could become president is so horrific, given his lack of competence, his ignorance, and his sheer opportunism; it is a condemnation of America, always boasting of its achievement and its values. I am an American ashamed to be an American.
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