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.
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.