Since the 2016 presidential election, I have read and I have heard from people—mostly white but some nonwhite—that it’s unfair to generalize about white people just because Donald Trump is now our president. The rush to defend themselves has been so unceasing that #NotAllWhitePeople has become a popular and synopsizing shorthand for that collection of actions.
Admittedly, I do possess an incremental sympathy for the white people who perhaps have been mischaracterized as shitty and self-destructive trash. #NotAllWhitePeopleAreGarbagePeople. But while those generalizations might not be completely accurate, they’re necessary when attempting to articulate and grapple with the vastness and depth of white support for our president and what he and his administration are aiming to do (and currently doing).
Trump’s presidency and policies have been equal parts petty and punitive. Its primary objective is to retain whiteness’s status for generations to come—the status of straight, white, Christian men, particularly—and in doing so, it also aims to punish anyone who stands or even just exists in opposition to it. They want to punish blacks for not being white. Muslims for not being Christian. Women for not being virgins. Poor people for not being wealthy. Immigrants for not being what they consider to be true Americans.
Of course, Donald Trump did not invent racism. Nor can you credit him for creating some of our more draconian and heartless immigration and foreign policies. They existed before him and were enforced by the presidents preceding him, including Barack Obama. But what he’s done is removed the muzzle and added an amplifier.
This is what Trump campaigned on. This is what he said he would do. This is what they want him to do. And “they” are most white people.
It’s most white men. It’s most white women. It’s most white college graduates. It’s most whites without a degree. It’s most white Christians. It’s most 18- to 29-year-old whites. Most 30- to 44-year-old whites. Most 45- to 64-year-old whites. Most whites 65 and older.
An America with restricted access to legal abortion is an America that most white people want. An America where children are ripped away from their parents at the border is an America that most white people want. An America where school shootings are an acceptable byproduct of the generous interpretation and expansion of the Second Amendment is an America that most white people want. An America where law enforcement is able to commit consequence-less crimes against people of color is an America that most white people want. An America where anything that stands counter to the president’s lies is considered “fake” is an America that most white people want.
They are not horrified by him and what he is doing. They asked for it. They wished for it. They voted for it. And they are everywhere white people are.
Which means they are everywhere.