Trump and the Age of Ignorance

Myisha Cherry talking to Rachel McKinnon, Meena Krishnamurthy, and Tempest Henning.  It’s all great, but here’s a bit from Meena Krishnamurthy:

King rightly believes – in part because of the efforts of earlier civil rights movements – that many if not most white Americans know that racism is wrong. On his view, knowing that racism is wrong is often rarely enough to move people to act. What is needed is knowledge of what it is like to be victimized by racism. This knowledge is something that many white Americans lack. As this election has shown, people have a variety of different values – related to the economy, the size of government, and religion. Anti-racist values are simply one set of values among a broader group of other values and they simply may not take priority over these other values. King suggests, however, that once you know what it is like to be victimized by racism, eliminating racism is more likely to become your priority. Anti-racist values are more likely to outweigh your other values and, in turn, are more likely to motivate you to act to end racism. In part, it is the lack of experiential knowledge that led people to vote for Trump. Because they don’t know what being victimized by racism is like, they didn’t place priority on their anti-racist views when they were voting.

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Talking Turkey: Practical Strategy

Here in the U.S., the holidays are coming and that means some of us will be sitting down with family and reconnecting with more distant friends. I think there has to be a high priority on talking with those in our social circles who voted for Trump. Let me lay out a little more what I mean.

First, I’m mostly talking to white readers, and especially to white readers, since this is largely our experience and, I think, our responsibility. (Comments welcome from all of course!)

Second, if you’re white and have no kin or acquaintances who voted for Trump, I implore you to wonder why. This is not, I think, something to be proud of but is, rather, indicative of how we got here. If progressive white people don’t know white people unlike themselves, we’re abandoning the work of persuasion where it could be most effective. There’s much talk of the bubbles in which we surround ourselves, so if you’re in one, please get out of it for a spell.

Most importantly, the election is over so that means the temptation to go back to “normal” is strong, going along and passing the potatoes while leaving politics and other bits of “unpleasantness” aside. I think this temptation should be resisted. The election is over, but what’s coming next is not. It’s not clear what power we all have but my guess is that remorseful Trump voters would be a help. So too would Trump voters encouraged to oppose things they may have let slide when it was all ostensibly in service to “campaigning.”

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