We need a more hinged POTUS, as Trump is now mongering actual violence rather than fear from the White House. Scorched earth on the path to the bunker is continuing. Trump is all about escalating the white retaliation begun 12 years ago.
— The Nation (@thenation) September 12, 2020
It’s always true that most white folks are unbothered and unmoved by anti-Black discrimination and violence; the steadfast endurance of American institutional racism proves that. It is also clear from history that white anti-racism has always had a dangerously short shelf life. Ignore the barrels of digital ink spilled lately about white people’s new willingness to reckon with structural racism. When the pendulum swings toward Black equality and full citizenship, white supremacy mounts a counteroffensive.
Cornell University historian Lawrence Glickman notes the word “backlash” gained circulation during the civil rights movement in 1963 as a shorthand for the “topsy-turvy rebellion in which white people with relative societal power perceived themselves as victimized by what they described as overly aggressive African Americans demanding equal rights.” The term summed up the most reliable white reaction to Black rights dating at least to Reconstruction, when the mere facts of Black emancipation and voter enfranchisement were construed as provocations for justifiable white racist terrorism. Between 1865—when six former Confederate soldiers founded the Ku Klux Klan—and 1950, nearly 6,500 Black men, women, and children were lynched for affronts that included bumping into a white woman and not using “Mister” when talking to a white man. “The more I studied the situation,” wrote Ida B. Wells, “the more I was convinced that the [white] Southerner had never gotten over his resentment that the Negro was no longer his plaything, his servant, and his source of income.”
So here we are again. White vigilantes have attacked Black Lives Matter protesters nearly 500 times this year. In recent incidents, MAGA racists poured into Portland, Ore., and fired pepper spray and paintballs at protesters from moving vehicles. In Kenosha, Wis., a white 17-year-old who is accused of murdering two protesters was treated like a brother-in-arms by cops. Trump labeled the violence a “big backlash,” without realizing what he was admitting about the tradition of white American terrorism. And despite the violence of white actors, protesters are being demonized for stating unequivocally that Black folks have a right to exist. The dwindling white support for that declaration is a reaffirmation that white liberals and moderates, to quote King, are “more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice” and will always opt for “a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.” White supremacy is again making its resilience known. And the backlash, sadly, is only getting started.
— Gary Legum (@GaryLegum) September 12, 2020
— Barbara Lee (@BLeeForCongress) September 12, 2020
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) September 12, 2020
— Katrina vandenHeuvel (@KatrinaNation) September 12, 2020
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) September 12, 2020
— Suzanne McCain (@McCainSuzanne) September 12, 2020
— K_Conner (@kvconner) September 12, 2020
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 12, 2020
— Iowa City Police Log (@IC_ActivityLog) September 12, 2020