The wound was gaping and fresh, so as a courtesy we will not identify by name the MSNBC commentator who concluded that Donald Trump’s 6-hour-old victory was “the last defense of White America,” a rejection, he said, of multiculturalism.
The problem with the conclusion is the evidence points in other directions.
The most obvious is this nation twice elected a black president, and just because millions of whites this time went red instead of blue, that doesn’t mean they are suddenly racist.
It is certainly true that Trump got most, heck, maybe close to all of the ballots of those who hate based on skin color, sex, ethnicity, religion or nationality. His often hateful rhetoric certainly appealed to that element — so it’s his fault he is getting pinned with this.
But it is true as well that our current president twice was the beneficiary of votes cast only on color, in percentages never seen before, and that generated little more than a wink from the pundits.
A close examination shows that while White America did turn out hard for Trump, people of color, especially Latinos and blacks, did so in greater numbers than they did for Mitt Romney four years ago.
The commentator’s patronizing position collapses on this fundamental truth: People of color are not monolithic and cast ballots in this election based on much more than a belief that Hillary Clinton’s words were more carefully selected than Trump’s. Perhaps they are disillusioned by eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency that have left them worse off economically than they were before — and the view that Clinton was a status quo candidate, a less-charismatic version of Obama.
It is insulting and reckless to suggest the buttons that Trump pushed during the campaign only mobilized whites.
People of color in this country are victims of the ironically named Affordable Care Act and its spiraling premiums, and might be anxious to see Trump fulfill his promise to repeal it.
People of color in this country are disproportionately vulnerable to a missed paycheck, and are frustrated that people sneak into this country illegally and take their jobs. Likewise, many have suffered because of what Trump has called “horrible trade deals” that have sent jobs overseas.
People of color trend to the right on social issues, from abortion to gun rights to gay marriage to the death penalty and more.
People of color can agree with Trump when he talks about the dangers that radical Islam presents, and that he will be better than Hillary Clinton at taking the fight to ISIS.
People of color lean hard on law enforcement to keep their neighborhoods safe, and they might find fault with the position that when one cop is fingered in a deadly confrontation with a young black man, that all cops are bad.
People of color can agree with Trump that Washington, D.C., no longer works in their favor, and that it needs to be nuked, and that what remains might be preferable to what is.
It remains to be seen whether Trump can deliver on all of his promises, but Americans, not just those who are white, seem ready to give him that chance. That doesn’t make them racist.
In fact, the view that all people of color should think alike and act accordingly when they enter a voting booth is the racist one.
— The Robesonian