Dear NYT: This Is No Time to Obscure White Supremacism

[Content Note: Nativism; white supremacy.]

This morning, the New York Times published a story about Trump's upcoming State of the Union address. The headline (almost certainly not written by authors Michael D. Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis) and sub headlines read:
Supporters Fear Trump's Speech Will Lack the Edge They Love

As [Donald] Trump prepares for his first State of the Union address on Tuesday, hard-line nationalists worry that he will reach for bipartisanship instead of ideological purity.

But the White House has signaled it will be a more inclusive speech, in tone if not in substance. The speech is at 9 p.m. Eastern, and we'll have live coverage.
What, exactly, is the "ideological purity" these "hard-line nationalists" are worrying about missing? Well, here is a quote from the actual article:
"The question is: Will he display a resolve and a commitment to pursue his immigration goals, or will he start channeling Jeb Bush again?" said Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates restrictive immigration policies that Mr. Bush opposed as Florida governor and as a candidate in the Republican presidential primary against Mr. Trump.
I don't know about you, but the last time I checked the White House's "immigration goals," they included the racist exclusion of people from majority-Muslim countries, cutting immigration from "shitholes" that are majority black while trying to attract Nordic immigrants, enabling ICE in "papers please" tactics, and breaking up families via cruel and arbitrary deportations.

Yet these policies are obscured by the language of "ideological purity" and "populism." It doesn't help that the article gives Krikorian's bland-sounding "Center for Immigration Studies" a pass as advocating for "restrictive" immigration policies.

In point of fact, The Center for Immigration Studies was listed as a hate group by the SPLC last year. In a post about the designation, Heidi Beirich at SPLC notes:
CIS is the brainchild of John Tanton, the father of the modern nativist movement, and part of a network of closely related anti-immigrant groups that Tanton founded. These groups have been responsible for much of the hysteria about immigrants that dominates conservative politics.

Tanton, a retired Michigan ophthalmologist, spent decades at the heart of the white nationalist movement. In addition to his flagship organization, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), he founded and operated the Social Contract Press, which has published numerous overtly racist tracts, including the rancid novel Camp of the Saints.
If Camp of the Saints sounds familiar, it's probably because it's a horrifyingly racist novel that is Steve Bannon's favorite go-to for his anti-immigration stances:
The plot of The Camp of the Saints follows a poor Indian demagogue, named "the turd-eater" because he literally eats shit, and the deformed, apparently psychic child who sits on his shoulders. Together, they lead an "armada" of 800,000 impoverished Indians sailing to France. Dithering European politicians, bureaucrats, and religious leaders, including a liberal pope from Latin America, debate whether to let the ships land and accept the Indians or to do the right thing — in the book's vision — by recognizing the threat the migrants pose and killing them all. The non-white people of Earth, meanwhile, wait silently for the Indians to reach shore. The landing will be the signal for them to rise up everywhere and overthrow white Western society.
There's much more at the SPLC link about CIS. Krikorian, of course, denies it's a hate group, but perhaps he's not in the best place to judge, considering his argument that Haiti's problems stem from not being colonized long enough. Per Think Progress:
"My guess is that Haiti's so screwed up because it wasn't colonized long enough… But, unlike Jamaicans and Bajans and Guadeloupeans, et al., after experiencing the worst of tropical colonial slavery, the Haitians didn't stick around long enough to benefit from it… And by benefit I mean develop a local culture significantly shaped by the more-advanced civilization of the colonizers."
This is a guy who literally argued for the superiority of white civilization; perhaps that merits a mention in relation to his views on immigration.

Who else are the Trump supporters quoted in the article? Well, among others, there's Newt Gingrich, who has made more than a few bigoted remarks over the years. Remember that he claimed Obama was so outside the norm because of his Kenyan, anti-colonial outlook? Like Kirkorian and the CIS, Gingrich likes to hide behind a polish of pseudo-academic racism. (And he's been at it for a while. His doctoral dissertation praised Belgian colonial education in the Congo, neatly ignoring or diminishing any Congolese opinions to the contrary.)

There's also Corey Stewart, described as "a Tea Party Trump backer from Virginia who is running for Senate in the state" and as gaining "national attention in 2007 as a county official for his crackdown on illegal immigration." Some of the rest of us may recall Stewart for his embrace of Neo-Confederacy and defense of Confederate monuments, as detailed by Kevin Robillard in Politico:
When he hasn't lamented the shoddy treatment of Southern heritage, he has compared the politicians who support removing statues to ISIS, the murderous Islamic extremists who have destroyed historic artifacts and religious sites throughout Syria. Or suggested that George Soros "needs to be tried for sedition, stripped of his citizenship, or deported." Or labeling his main opponent a "cuckservative," the disdainful epithet of choice among the alt-right.
Yes, that's just a "hard-line" guy, I guess, talking like a Nazi.

I certainly understand the pressures of precise reporting, and sympathize with the desire not to tangle with these men over their white supremacy. Few people know better than feminists that the "new" white supremacist right has emerged from the collective of MRAs, channers, Gamergaters, and other virulently racist misogynists who have been attacking marginalized people for years, and that their tactics are brutal and silencing.

But that's just the thing: The full and chilling context of the rise of white nationalists to power in the United States isn't obvious to everyone. And it gets more and more obscured by using the language of "hardliners" and "partisanship" and "ideology" without acknowledging that the "hard line" is rooted in eliminationist racism, that the "partisanship" is on behalf of a party that has become the party of white conservative Christian resentment, and the "ideology" is a horrifying blend of Nazism and Neo-Confederate thought, wrapped in an American flag and bent on establishing an ethno-religious authoritarian state.

That context is vitally important to understanding how far we're sliding into white supremacist authoritarianism, how little else the Republicans are offering the country, and how much their support of Trump indicates their craven embrace of the worst parts of American heritage. After all, remember when Republicans mocked Obama's use of a teleprompter as evidence of his intellectual inadequacy? What showed unpreparedness in a black president is now embraced as evidence of a white president's success, the New York Times further reports:
At the White House and among Republicans on Capitol Hill, there is a keen awareness that Mr. Trump benefits from extraordinarily low expectations of his ability to stay on message and deliver a coherent speech, given his tendency to ramble off script and insert divisive notes, insulting asides and mystifying non sequiturs that almost always overshadow the topic at hand.

Given that, officials believe, the president will be judged a success in many quarters as long as he reads faithfully from his script, resisting the urge to respond to perceived slights or settle scores and instead sticking to a positive message that can resonate with a wide swath of Americans.
This is no time to let white supremacy slide by, obscured in language that makes this all seem perfectly normal. If we do not speak truth now, we soon may be unable to speak at all.

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