Exactly, How Much Racism Is TOO MUCH Racism?

During my travels, I meet some very interesting people. Not everyone is interesting for the right reasons, but I am happy to meet them anyway because I learn something new. Sometimes, these people leave such an impression, that the things they say come to mind every so often, at the most random times.

At one campground, I met two women travelling together. One of the ladies very frequently had in-depth conversations with me about race, racial inequality, and social issues. The other did not often venture into these conversations with us.

The Political Question

I am not afraid to ask difficult questions, so I asked one that People of Colour have speculated about for years within our circles:

Why do so many White women vote Conservative? Why are they the only demographic that primarily votes against their own rights?

Before I get into the answer I received, take a moment to think about it. People of Colour, Jews of all races, and other minorities tend to vote Liberal. This collective statistic is true even among hyper-religious ethnicities that would otherwise espouse Conservative values, such as anti-LGBTQ sentiments.

The only other group, then, that votes majority-Republican is White men. Considering that Republican values are White Patriarchal values, they are voting for their own best interests. But, why the women?

The Answer From the Silent Partner

The lady I asked had voted Liberal for her entire life but knew her fair share of women who did not. Consequently, I was looking forward to her answer. Unbeknownst to me, her friend was one such woman. The Silent Partner announced this herself.

She explained that as a young person, she was a Liberal. However, she followed the stereotypical progression of becoming more Conservative as she grew older.

“Liberal values are idealistic,” she explained to me. “They sound great on paper, but they don’t work well in reality.”

I didn’t press her to see what she meant, because I had another question on my mind. Before I could ask, she said:

Yes, I voted for Trump in the 2016 Elections. However, I did not vote for him in the 2020 Elections. I voted for Biden.

The Reason Behind Her Change of Mind

Naturally, I asked her why, but I already had a pretty good feeling the reason would be racism. I always ask discontent Republicans I meet why they did not vote for Trump, chose not to vote at all, or voted for Biden. Racism is the answer every single time.

But, what this woman actually said, floored me:

I voted for Trump in 2016 because I liked his policies and ideas. I wanted someone who wasn’t a career politician in the White House. But, he became way too racist. So, I didn’t vote for him in 2020.

Too Much Racism

After giving her explanation, she didn’t stick around for a response. The rest of us were so stunned that, for a while, no one spoke. Then, I asked what was obviously on everyone’s mind:

Exactly how much racism is too much racism? How do we quantify racism? What’s that threshold of okay racism vs not okay racism? Who gets to decide how much is too much?

Other people at the table chimed in with a similar sentiment. Someone said:

Did she not already realize he was racist before he ran? When he was asking for Obama’s birth certificate? Or when he was calling on New York authorities to pratically lynch the Central Park 5 for a crime they didn’t even commit?

The Post-Election Reality

When Trump lost the 2020 Election, a Black male reporter burst into tears on national TV. He shared through sobs how bad racism had been under Trump and how he can finally breathe easy now that racists had lost their White House champion.

Since then, every Black person I have spoken to has shared that while racism is still rampant, the rate of personal incidents has improved for them under Biden. Not because Biden is a fabulous President who can do no wrong, but because the left does not empower White Supremacists.

The Not-So-Fringe, Fringe

Whether Republicans consider themselves racist or not, White Supremacy thrives in their quarters. From the Neo-Nazis to the KKK to the Confederacy to the Blue-Lives-Matter-Unless-You’re-a-Police-Office-In-My-Way-at-the-Capitol-During-an-Insurrection.

When Trump won, these radical groups turned out not to be so fringe, after all. Racists felt emboldened to do and say all the things they couldn’t before.

They made Black people’s lives a living hell.

They terrorized immigrants—even legal immigrants, like myself.

They terrorized Asians and Muslims.

Then, they terrorized Hindus and Sikhs for looking too Muslim.

They pointed a gun at my friend and her fiance in a Sundown town when she got lost and asked for directions. She was a Jamaican living in New York. She had never even heard of a Sundown town until experiencing it for herself on her very first trip to Georgia.

The Threshold

So, at what point does racism finally get to be so bad that it crosses the line? Is there a certain amount of racism that racial and ethnic minorities should withstand before we have a “right” to complain or protest? How many inappropriate comments should we accept from others before it’s “serious enough” to say something?

Even better, I would love to know how much racism is just enough. What’s that sweet spot?

What I find most fascinating, is that for many Americans, Trump and his resulting effect on U.S. culture weren’t quite racist enough. Minorities were supposed to suffer in silence and certainly not on one knee.

We were supposed to scoot over just a little bit to make even more room for White Supremacy.

Because. Obviously. Even occupying the grand majority isn’t room enough.

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27 thoughts on “Exactly, How Much Racism Is TOO MUCH Racism?

  1. Although I still consider myself as having liberal values/beliefs, I could understand what that woman meant about liberalism being “ideal,” only good on paper. I myself have a sort of cognitive dissonance when it comes to believing in and supporting liberal causes, but getting disappointed when the reality makes it challenging, even impossible, to happen. I’ve since become somewhat jaded in that regard over the years, which I’m trying not to be and to remain optimistic about it all. I will also add that, although Trump “lost” the 2020 elections, it doesn’t mean that racism is over (nor does it mean extremists/supremacists will disappear): if anything, we need to be on guard more than ever, given that COVID is still going on and minorities (especially Asians) are being targeted. I don’t really have any idea/solution for how we could go forward with lessening racism in our society (if at all), but you really gave me a lot to think about!

    1. I’m sorry to hear you feel some disillusionment with liberal ideologies. It’s easy to confuse politicians’ incompetence or refusal to cooperate with liberal ideology itself being unfeasible.

      My example of success is always California, your home state. Without a doubt, California is not perfect and it has its downsides. But, that’s true of every state and every country.

      It doesn’t change the fact that California has proven that it can welcome diversity, expand health care, take care of illegal immigrants, fight with corporations over labor rights, sue the federal government over environmental rights, raise wages….and still have the largest economy in America and the 5th largest economy in the entire world.

  2. There may be a few, very few, people who consider themselves to be racist, but even the KKK and Neo-nazies, and Proud Boys object to being called racists. Why? Even they know that it is a bad thing to be (almost as bad as being a Socialist). They do not see themselves as that. They see themselves as knowing the truth about POC, non-Christians, and the natural, God-given proper order of the world and divinely ordained superiority of the White Race, and that all those others are out to get them, hungering for revenge and domination. So, what that woman was saying about Trump is that he let fall the mask, stopped hiding his racism behind euphemisms and accusations of fraud of various sorts, and openly encouraged racial violence. He made it impossible for her to ignore it and what it reflected about her own implicit bias and racial discomfort.

    1. That’s an interesting way of looking at it. I’ll have to give that angle some thought. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Well articulated. In Canada, our ugly underbelly has reared its face and is now occupying our borders and capital, spurred on by American cousins, of course.

    1. You guys had every reason to keep us out all this time. I’m sorry American values have permeated all the same. I can’t believe they were flying confederate flags. Who are they?? Have they ever read a history book?

      Also, please advise me on what side of Canada to avoid the way I avoid America’s Southeast and Midwest. 😂

      1. Doesn’t sound very unlike America at all. That’s one of the U.S. regions I try to stay out of. 😂

        Stay safe up there!

      2. The midwest here seems to breed a lot of them. I’m disgusted by the rhetoric coming out of some of these people. They’ve been drinking some serious koolaid, and no, couldn’t put together a legible history book amongst them.

      3. Wow. Is the Midwest in Canada as isolated as the Midwest in America? Maybe that’s where the similar mindset comes from.

      4. Probably. It has always been highly conservative (republican equivalent) and due to the nature of the work, tends to be more male than female.

      5. Sounds like they’re just frustrated little incels over there suffocating in the toxicity of their own testosterone. 🤣

  4. Excellent post, Alexis. My mother always talked about our internal voice. The one that always speaks the truth – the one we often choose to ignore when we know we should listen. I think we all know any racism is too much. My question is always how much of racism is actually fear instead of hate? But what do they fear? Are they afraid of being on the receiving end of the same treatment generations have dished out? Are they afraid to acknowledge their own privilege? Many American families do not have dialogue and exchange ideas not do they seek out relationships with people of diverse cultures and backgrounds. It leads to a closed minded authoritative upbringing where opinions and misguided ideals stay deeply rooted. I have never understood why so many women vote along conservative lines, especially those who have daughters and granddaughters who will bear the brunt of their decisions.

    1. Thank you, Maggie. Excellent comment!

      I love your mother’s point about the internal voice. Sadly, too many people have learned to silence theirs or they will sort it out in confession on Sunday.

      I think the main reason people continue to be racist when they know it’s wrong is the same people ANYONE continues to do anything they know is wrong. It’s either convenient, they enjoy it or both.

      There was a man who tackled the fear question some years ago. I saw the recording of him talking to Southerners decades ago on a talk show.

      He told a White lady that the reason she was so afraid of Black people in her Georgia town was because she feared that if Black people had the same opportunities she did, they would treat her and other Whites the same way they have treated us for years. That statement always resonated with me because it never even crossed my mind.

      Minorities are so focused on survival and getting rights. I don’t think many of us have ever stopped to consider what life might be like and what we would do once there is actually equity and equality in society. Probably because we don’t expect to get there in our lifetimes.

      …and neither will the granddaughters and daughters of the women voting conservative. The interesting thing is that for some strange reason, quite a few of them take solace in their societal imprisonment, while we recognize the imprisonment and fight it.

  5. I think Trevor Noah addressed a lot of the issues you did in your post, except Trevor was talking about Joe Rogan. https://youtu.be/D5SYrX41BtA

    His question: Does one racist act make someone a racist or does it take many racist acts?

    As for me, I don’t like to be told how to think or how to vote or what to believe. I listen to information, filter and come to my own conclusions. With Republicans, it is all or nothing. You are either with me or against me.

    I am a white woman who married a Jewish Israeli. I have gay and transgender friends and friends of color. I love people based on their character and not their body.

    As a woman from the South, this is not common. I grew up in a rural, mostly white area. Most of the people I went to school with still live in the same small county. They got married after high school, had children and never wanted anything else. They grew up poor, isolated, and didn’t know much more than what their parents taught them about the world. Cable wasn’t available where we lived. Internet didn’t exist then.

    People fear the unknown. This fear was embedded in these people from the beginning. They were taught not to trust and to surround yourself with what and who you know. Having this mindset handicaps you. It keeps you where you are and nothing ever changes. Human beings are meant to learn and grow. These poor people never had a chance. Luckily for me, I left. I was rebellious and wanted to see the world. At 50, I still travel and meet so many people who add to my life. For me, that is happiness and makes my life full.

    Life is too short to be filled with hate. My birth father was the prime example of this. He was filled with so much hate for my mother. He hated her because she remarried and had a good life. This hate caused him to live a miserable life, mad at the world. It robbed him of his daughter, grandchild, and family. Hate accomplishes absolutely nothing except more hate. I choose not to let hate have a place in my life.

    I have kept in touch with some people from high school, but not many. We have grown so far apart and just don’t have much in common anymore. They are still in the same place and mindset from 35 years ago. It is hard to have a conversation except to reminisce about the past.

    I can only hope that your post reaches the people that need to hear it! Thanks for starting the conversation.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and share such a detailed comment on what your experiences have been with this.

      I love Trevor, but I haven’t seen that YouTube video. I’ll definitely check it out.

      I do agree with you that Republicans aren’t often the most discerning set because of that for-me-or-against-me mindset. That’s actually what attracted me to the left. I love that we don’t agree on everything and that we are so DIVERSE and embrace that diversity. A Republican once asked me why Black people rarely vote Republican. I asked her when was the last time she saw a Liberal with a Confederate Flag outside their homes or on their vehicles. She never asked me again, nor did she answer my question.

      Good for you for not allowing where you come from to determine where you’ll be and who you are. The South is a nasty place. I cannot tell you how eager I was to get out of there. My mom practically bribed me to come home for Christmas last year and I refused to leave the house the entire time. 😂

      You are also right about hate and fear. I love your mindset. May it never change. Stay safe and happy travels!

  6. When I was in high school I was dating a guy who’s parents were both pastors. We started attending his mom’s sermons every Sunday together, but I quick lost interest for a myriad of reasons. I grew up Christian attending church (that was literally 50ft away from our door) and Christian daycare for 7 years. But I will always remember one of the sermons my bf’s mother spoke about was the need for Christian families’ (with the undertones of white Christian families) need to procreate and not just have 1 or 2 children, but 5+ because that is how ‘we’ maintain our population’s majority. She continued on saying that the world would be a very different (understood: worse) place if Muslims or Hindus held the most power. I’m still flabbergasted by her words (and so unbelievably grateful that she is no longer apart of my life).

    1. Wow. First of all, I’m really sorry you even had to listen to that and experience that. I’m sure it put you in a very difficult and awkward position.

      Second, kudos to you for walking away from all that. I am ALSO grateful she’s no longer in your life.

      I’ve heard pastors say some very questionable things, but this one is definitely near the top of the list. I had no idea they were so blatant about it in church.

      I can also imagine that hearing something like that in church makes it easier for people to justify their racism in the rest of their lives.

      Thanks so much for sharing!!

      1. Oh 100%. Many religious folks believe their ‘leader’ can do/say no wrong. It’s pathetic, but also terrifying at the same time.

      2. It is. I walked out of a church as a teen because my college history lecturer went up and told people that evolution was a lie and there was zero proof to back it. My history lecturer. In college. I didn’t even know he was the pastor. This church was a solid hour away from school.

        I would understand if he said there were holes in the theory or the evidence was questionable or something. But the man actually said, it’s not real. And then back to school on Monday to teach us about ancient civilizations.

        That was my last day sitting in a church. I was 16.

  7. I didn’t know what a Sundown Town was and found it very distasteful to read about. I don’t know why I was surprised. We still have plenty of attitudes to be ashamed of in the UK where we often hear “I’m not racist…..but” statements. 🤗

    1. Sundown towns are still alive and well across America. They’re especially common in the south and some parts of the Midwest. That’s why when people talk about “Midwest nice” and “Southern hospitality” I laugh.

      Britain does have its share of problems for sure. But I think America has them beat on this one.

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