There is a notion that you reap what you sow, and that has been on full display at recent Donald Trump campaign rallies. Early on, Trump supporters acted out on his hateful exhortations, beating on an isolated protestor (usually black) inside the events, and homeless Hispanics outside them. Did Trump actually believe there would be no price to pay for this? In California, Trump events have been the scene of violent confrontations between Trump supporters and no longer cowed protestors who choose to make their presence in force, rather than isolation. Trump’s supporters have now been exposed as the bullies and cowards that they are.
Trump’s attraction can be broken down into three elements: the “Wall,” the “Mexicans” and the “Hispanics.” When you talk to a Trump supporter, that is all that seems to be on their twisted little minds. But the obsession with illegal immigration from Latin America is not only hypocritical in relation to the fast increasing number of illegal immigrants from Asia which a “wall” won’t stop, but ignores the unspoken economic “benefits” that the U.S. has reaped for labor that is not “officially” sanctioned but has filled many labor “holes.” The other “benefit,” of course, is that Hispanic immigrants can be used by politicians as scapegoats when the nation’s problems lie elsewhere.
Yet the disturbing question goes unanswered. Can it be that there are such a large percentage of white voters for whom nothing else matters but their hate of one particular group of people? For the tens of millions of Hispanics who are native born US citizens, Americans just like anyone else, must they walk around knowing that half of all white people they encounter harbor racists attitudes about them, whether publicly or privately—most of these attitudes based on complete ignorance?
And ignorance abounds. Trump’s argument that a judge recuse himself from a case involving him simply because he has a Spanish surname indicates the cowardly fear of the racist blowhard. His attack on a Republican female governor that his campaign manager has lamely and unconvincingly tried to excuse (admittedly he has the thankless task of defending every idiocy that comes out of Trump’s mouth) seems to indicate a complete loss of control over the line between legitimate discussion (illegal immigration) and illegitimate discussion (exciting racial stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination and racist paranoia).
But I suspect that a Trump presidency might be a “good” thing. In the short run it might of course be the occasion of an outbreak of expressions of racial prejudice both rhetorical and physical, but in the long run it might unleash a domestic and international backlash that will require serious self-examination as to why this could have been allowed to happen. Not just Trump and his supporters’ racism that should inflame enough minority and “ethnic” groups to discredit xenophobes and bigots for the small-minded, mean-spirited people they are, but the role politicians and the media have played in creating an atmosphere of hate, especially against Hispanics.
While there are no Hispanics in the mainstream U.S. media who speak specifically to Hispanic concerns (only a few with Republican “credentials” are allowed, because the media doesn’t want to face straight-on the fact of its complicity in perpetuating hate), there may finally be an “awakening” from the Hispanic community that demands an end to the hypocrisy coming from all sides in this country, that they be given a voice in the media (like CNN), and promulgate lawsuits and other legal actions to blunt civil rights violations in both the public and private sector. After all, they are human beings too, the same as everyone else. But if past experience is an example, divisions with the Hispanic community (usually along racial lines itself), this might be a difficult task.
In the meantime, I still must tolerate the Trump-influenced opinions of an Asian co-worker who though he did not like Trump’s attitude toward China, he once again brought up the subject of his agreement with Trump on building a wall on the Mexican border, and I again made him uncomfortable by bringing up the hypocrisy of ignoring illegal immigrants from Asia to focus solely on “Mexicans,” which I saw as evidence of group-specific racism.