By Sun Chenghao
An annual report titled “The Year in Hate and Extremism 2019” by the US-based Southern Poverty Law Center notes a “surging white nationalist movement” in the US has caused a series of racist terror attacks in the past year, and white nationalism poses “a serious threat to national security and pluralistic democracy.”
The rise of white nationalism in the US is likely the result of two factors.
First, the economic problems in the US have worsened. The gap between the rich and poor in the US is widening, the middle class has been shrinking, and many jobs have been lost in manufacturing and other traditional industries.
Some people blame their unemployment on immigrants, and identify people of color as those responsible for snatching their jobs.
Second, the current US administration has been fueling white nationalism. President Donald Trump’s voter base in 2016 was to a large degree the white working class, which attracted many white supremacists.
The president is thus bound to reward his supporters, which has intensified racial conflicts. For example, the Trump administration’s tough immigration policies, and blaming developing countries, mainly in Asia, for job losses in the US, unavoidably point to people of color.
Trump has also badly faltered in handling racial conflicts and terror attacks. He has failed to fully condemn the crimes and actions of white supremacists, suggesting he is vaguely supportive of their outrageous ideas and values.
This has somewhat emboldened white nationalists and incited attacks on people of color.
Demographics in the US are also changing as people of color now make up a higher proportion of the population, even though the country remains overwhelmingly white.
The Trump administration should have devoted itself to resolving racial contradictions, but its policies have fueled interracial and ethnic antagonism.
While white nationalists might be emboldened by their president, growing discontent among ethnic minorities has also led to attacks against whites, which could very well result in an escalating circle of violence.
As long as Trump remains in office, his mostly white supporters will feeling like they have a sympathetic voice in the White House that encourages their perceived racial anxiety.
Another, albeit unlikely, scenario could emerge if Trump is re-elected. Without the pressure of having to win another election, he won’t have to appease his base and he might come to senses and change his tune. Judging from Trump’s current performance, the chances of this happening are very slim.
In the face of such severe racial issues at home, the US has repeatedly launched groundless attacks against China’s ethnic policies and human rights issues.
The US should look in the mirror and deal with its own problems.
The Trump administration should truly care about the long-term interests of a multiracial, multicultural US society rather than focus only on short-term political benefits.
–The Daily Mail-Global Times news exchange item