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Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Why Trump’s War on “Political Correctness” Is Good News for Hate Speech

Donald Trump says he isn’t racist. So why have so many racists embraced his campaign?
At what point does politically incorrect language become hate speech? With Donald Trump, that question has been asked—and answered—hundreds of times over the course of a campaign littered with offensive remarks about Latinos, African Americans, Muslims, women, and people with disabilities. For many of Trump’s supporters, however, being able to openly disparage groups they disagree with or dislike is precisely the point. The Republican presidential candidate has thrived, in part, because he has given America’s self-proclaimed “silent majority” license to speak their mind—and Trump’s own voice is front and center amid the cacophony.

“I am so tired of that politically correct crap,” Donald Trump declared at the beginning of his White House run, not long after pushing the bounds of acceptable political behavior by branding undocumented Mexican immigrants as drug dealers and “rapists.” (Muslims, too, he would soon label persona non grata.)
Many Americans have reacted with horror to Trump’s boorish pronouncements. But among a certain segment of the American population—including David Duke and other white nationalists—Trump’s statements have struck a chord. And no wonder: nearly all of Trump’s self-proclaimed politically incorrect statements, bordering on real hate speech, can be tied to historically dark events in America’s history—as well as Trump’s. From his father’s tussles with the U.S. government over his company’s allegedly discriminatory housing policies, to Donald’s own history facing lawsuits for his treatment of black tenants, Trump’s words and actions align neatly with an America that many older, white voters long to return to—even as they harken back to an era others would sooner forget.

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