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Friday, January 29, 2016

trump and white euphemism culture



In the advent of Donald Trump, I have been thinking, we are seeing both the result and the decline of White Euphemism culture.
White Euphemism culture accompanied the liquidation of traditional liberal-left policies in the post-Cold War era. As the mass incarceration of blacks and hispanics got into high gear, and as the precarious economic gains of black household either stagnate or collapsed, the governing class promoted a politics of linguistic civil rights. Reading the Ferguson Report (a small paperback that nobody included on the "Books we Love" list last year, putting in question, I think, the notion that books should be loved, or that the love of books actually maps the effect of books) one notices that - as Rand Paul, of all people, remarked in the debate - the predominantly black population is not only poor, but is subject to an enormous machinery of fines and petty imprisonments that is exactly the same as the Jim Crow era. And Ferguson is hardly alone. Go to anyplace with similar conditions - a black majority population and a white majority police force or court house or judicial system - and you will find the same thing. This is how America administers its Sowetos.
At the end of 2008, the neo-liberal culture went into overdrive about this wonderful ‘post racial’ nation we had here.
However, anybody who has any acquaintance with the internet (and I’ve had a blog going, continously since 2001, which has made me very aware of Internety things) knows that the forces of misogyny, racism and psychosis were definitely abroad in the land. I’m reminded of this fact reading Joan Walsh’s piece in the Nation about her support for Clinton.
Joan Walsh has been on the Internet for longer than my blog has been up, since Salon's salad days in the Clinton impeachment era. In the article, Walsh justly points out that the smears and the threats that she has received for being for Clinton, and that her daughter has received, go beyond sexist and reach psychotic. She’s 100 percent right. The rape by comment culture is alive and well, and certainly finds expression among some Sanders supporters. But I had one caveat, which is that, as Walsh well knows, no matter what the ideology one supports as a woman on the Internet, the rape by comment people will be there. I have read, on supposedly liberal or left blogs, that Ann Coulter, the far right figure, was a dyke, should be raped, should be shut up with a bullet, should have her body dismembered, was a whore, etc., etc. I am pretty sure that female Sanders supporters get the same treatment.
The hope of the euphemism culture was that, without interference from the state, the private sector would not only pump out growth and prosperity for all, but that it would, with proper nudging, bring about a “post-racial, post-gender” society. Now, it isn’t that there has been no progress. But the progress has not been enough, not nearly enough, in comparison with the older liberal interventionist model.
Trump has torn off the bandage. But what was underneath is not new.

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