Iserotope Extras #67: White Won
My friend Jenn reminded me this week about the power of reading, and about our shared interest in curating and sharing good articles, and how building a community of readers can be an act of love and resistance.My friend Susan challenged me to get my voice out there more, to share my point of view, to resist the urge to hide behind the articles. I like this very much and look forward to figuring out what this might mean.This week’s issue focuses on the election and asks four questions: (1) What happened? (2) Who is America? (3) Should we despair? (4) What now? I hope you enjoy.
Jamelle Bouie gets it exactly correct. This election wasn’t about rural or working class people wanting change against the Establishment. This was white people promoting white supremacy. The past eight years, like the years after the Civil War, brought progress, and now was time to stop it.
Trump’s win is a reminder of the incredible, unbeatable power of racism
This excellent piece by Jenée Desmond-Harris rebuts the counterargument that economic distress led white voters to cast their ballots for Donald Trump. Her conclusion is particularly strong: There will be an urge to understand Trump supporters in an effort of unity, but that will serve to normalize racism and protect white supremacy.
My book club completed this puzzle at our annual retreat in Santa Cruz.
Revenge of the Forgotten Class
This profile of white working class people in Ohio and Pennsylvania does a good job highlighting their support of Donald Trump’s seeming transparency vs. Hillary Clinton’s seeming obfuscation. The problem is that it’s likely that both Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton were not always truthful, and it’s OK to lie when you’re being racist and sexist.
A frank conversation with a white nationalist
This is what happens when you start talking to an educated, seemingly reasonable man who happens to dream of a separate white nation. Al Letson, host of the Reveal podcast, speaks with Richard Spencer, a 38-year-old white nationalist leader. Mr. Spencer’s main claim is that the United States was built by European Americans.
I don’t recommend books unless they’re great. This one is my favorite of 2016.
What Does Donald Trump's Election Say About America?
“You learn a lot about America on its country roads,” writes Vann R. Newkirk II. He continues, “This is who we are. Racism is a force that has always shaped this country. This is the same country that killed Emmett Till, and the same place that gave us Jim Crow.” A white guy can be perfectly kind to an African American neighbor so long as everyone knows their place.
In case you want to wallow in despair, check out this article, which argues that the election killed America — our values, what we stand for, our place in the world. Except as I read this piece, I wondered how much of the American myth is just like any other country’s myth — important, of course, but really just a story, one that we can construct anew.
This puzzle was a bit more challenging. (I was no help.)
On “Woke” White People Advertising their Shock that Racism just won a Presidency
One tip to white people, from a white person: Don’t use the word “woke” unless you’re saying, “I woke up this morning.” From Courtney Parker West, the author: “Dear liberal white people whom I often love: advertising your shock and surprise that racism, sexism, xenophobia, and bigotry are pervasive…is a microaggression. Please stop.”
We’re all trying to figure out what’s next, and how to proceed, and what to do. I liked this piece by Masha Gessen, who says we should treat Donald Trump like Vladimir Putin, whom she has written about extensively. The most important thing to do: Believe the autocrat. And then: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality. And finally: Be outraged. Seems right.
Hope you made it all the way through! Extras #67 is done. As always, please email me with your thoughts. They push me. I’m thankful that you subscribe! If you think someone else might like reading this digest, please feel free to forward them this issue. See you next Thursday at 9:10 am.
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