Okay, there’s not a “racist bone in Trump’s body,” but there appears to be plenty in his muscles, tendons, ligaments, organs, and other soft tissue to make up for any deficit.
AND, he’s very good at making other such beings comfortable with their white supremacist perspectives. The first way garden variety racists make themselves feel comfortable is to define their way out of the category. How am I a racist if I don’t don the contents of my linen closet, join the circle around a burning cross, and wave my confederate battle flag? See, I’m not a racist…I’m not like those people!
However, it isn’t necessary to jump on the nativist bandwagon in order to hold obviously racist views. How about dressing up in blackface for a Halloween event? Or, dressing up a youngster in blackface to perform country dance steps? Just good fun? Here’s a hint. If the activity would not be done in front of a predominantly ethnic minority audience of color, then it’s probably racist.
That the white person didn’t mean for the action or comment to be racist isn’t relevant. If it was racist it was racist. It isn’t the “other person’s fault” for “misinterpreting” the action or comment. The responses range from outright defensiveness to attempts to deflect to the reaction as overblown or hyper-sensitive. Another hint: It’s okay to apologize.
There are innumerable lists of items we could add to the Things Better Left Unsaid category. Attach any of the following to the opening “I’m not a racist, but…” tag —
They just don’t fit in with regular people.
They just don’t learn English.
They don’t assimilate.
They drive up to get their food bank stuff in a better car than mine.
They always seem to have money for pizza and beer.
They sit around getting free stuff and services while there are jobs that go begging all over this country.
If they just act more like white people…
If they’d stop having kids they can’t afford…
AND, we could add another thousand variations on these themes, all to the same end. The point is that the and related sentiments make those harboring racist ideas comfortable with themselves. Those, like the President, who reinforce and reassure the practitioners make the racists feel justified, less guilty, and more socially acceptable. These are the people Trump feels he can add to his base. If he can provide rationalization and justification to those who need to suppress their episodic pangs of conscience then his electoral strategy might be successful.