President Trump has initiated a new political culture: his tweets now and his campaign speeches earlier set this culture in motion. This is a culture of hate, name calling, and insulting people across color and gender lines. Although xenophobia and hatred against people of color in the US is nothing new, it has become vividly visible in the campaign rallies of President Trump. Trump has successfully manipulated the phobia and hatred of his followers in creating a phenomenon that has nothing to do with ideology or policy. The same has been done numerous times in the past by the elites to divide the ordinary Americans in order to reduce the possibility of social protest and to maintain the institution status quo. Violence, intimidation, and an aggressive racist ideology had been regularly used to convince the ordinary whites to separate from the oppressed minorities. President Trump uses the same tactics of his predecessors and has already successfully duped his followers into falling for his separatist views. It’s not surprising that dissenting whites as well as minorities, especially Muslims, Mexican-Americans, and African-Americans, despite having passes, have been denied entry into the rallies because of having different opinions. Trump reinforces the idea that unconditional loyalty to him is the ultimate quality that can get someone his approval. This certainly is going to initiate a very pathetic political culture in the United States, a political culture that really does not go with the world’s oldest democracy.
Trump’s overt discrimination against those who oppose him is now a common issue. Discrimination is a result of people’s greed for power and money, which is why it continues to exist today. To fully understand the cause of discrimination, one must first understand racism and prejudice. The terms ‘racism’, ‘prejudice’, and ‘discrimination’ are often used interchangeably, but they each have different meanings. Racism can be defined as the belief that one’s race is superior to another’s. Racism makes one genuinely believe that he or she has superiority over another human being, due to having certain physical characteristics that the other may not have, most notably, skin color. This belief often causes people to develop prejudice against minority groups. Prejudice is having a negative attitude towards an entire group of people.
Uninformed people are often unable to understand the differences between their own beliefs and the beliefs of others, and they are prone to engage in discriminatory behaviors. The lack of understanding often leads to conflict between followers of two different beliefs or ideologies. President Trump’s separatism has effectively manipulated his followers into believing that it is not a crime to discriminate against non-Christians. Although the 1st amendment to the constitution of the United States clearly states that “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” a large number of people believe that America is a Christian nation. Religious minority are discriminated against openly in certain parts of the country. This is especially true in the case of Muslim-Americans, who have faced severe prejudice and discrimination since the terrorist attacks in September.
President Trump capitalizes the ignorance of people and spreads his anti-Muslim ideas only to convince them that they are right and that he thinks the same. He has even suggested denying entry to all Muslims, as a solution to terrorism. He also suggested killing innocent family member of alleged terrorists as a tactical strategy for defeating ISIS. Hate speech spewed by such people in power only goes to create radical mindsets, which encourage prejudice and discrimination. The American people have learned to associate the word ‘terrorist’ with ‘Muslim’ due to the media. The Florida chapter of Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR) reported five times more incidences of hate crimes against Muslims in the year 2015 than the year 2014. Unless the people are properly educated to understand the beliefs of others, and learn to coexist, religion will continue to be a dividing factor in society and lead to discrimination.
It seems as though a great deal of prejudice and discrimination against African Americans is present at the campaign rallies of President Trump. It is not surprising to see a racist bigot running for office, as any natural-born citizen has the right to do so. What is frightening is the amount of support a candidate has received. A candidate who openly discriminates against minorities and calls for violent action against people is the front runner for the Republican Party. As Robert Kagan claims, Trump has already risen above the party that produced him. His supporters no longer care about the party as it did not immediately and fully embrace Trump; the party is regarded with suspicion and even hostility by his followers. Their allegiance is to him and him alone. And, Trump is successful in igniting the fire of racial hatred and misogynistic attitudes among many whites who believe that they are entitled to privilege and superiority only because of the color of their skin.
Discrimination is a major problem still faced by people living in this country, and around the world, today. The failure to understand, and differentiate, the terms ‘racism’, ‘prejudice’, and ‘discrimination’ causes people to misunderstand others who are physically different, or have different beliefs. Racism has been a part of history for as long as history has been recorded. Having differences of opinions caused people to develop prejudice against one another, which led to discrimination. White Americans argue that racism no longer exists in this country, but fail to realize the systemic racism that does. They do not realize the level of institutional discrimination against minorities which exists today. African Americans continue to be racially profiled by law enforcement and often stereotyped as criminals. Muslims are targets of hate crimes daily due to xenophobia and lack of proper understanding of the religion. Women still earn a little over ¾ of what an equally-qualified man earns. They are still expected to fit discriminatory gender roles set by society. Gays and lesbians continue to face discrimination when it comes to employment and housing. Does Trump speak for these people? If no, who does he speak for, and why?
Most whites in the US have a hard time understanding how racism exists due to their privilege of belonging to the dominant race. Most do not understand the concept of white privilege, and continue to be ignorant to the racism faced by minorities daily. Since the problem does not affect them, they are oblivious to its existence. As a master persuader who has seduced the minds of this mindless country like Ronald Reagan did, President Trump solidifies this ignorance by his anti-immigration, anti-Muslim, and misogynistic views.
However, new responsibilities change people, at times positively. As Donald Trump is going to take office today, going against hope many people are hoping that his behavior will now be presidential, that he will be the president of all, even of those who oppose him. This sacred duty of governing the multitudes, we hope, will transform him and bring the very best that he has as human being. All the best wishes to the new president. God Bless America!