I found this little gem of a quote online recently. It brings everything into focus regarding the popularity of Donald Trump and his rise in the coming post-Obama era. The quote is from an article written by Angela Onwuachi-Willig and Osamudia James entitled “The Declining Significance of Presidential Races” published in 2009 in the journal, Law and Contemporary Problems:
White workers have historically believed they have more in common with the white economic ruling class than they do with fellow black workers, and they have tended to value the public and psychological wages to which their whiteness entitles them, even if they do not actually result in higher pay relative to black workers. For example, the racial categories developed in the seventeenth century were perpetuated to maintain the support of non-slaveholding Whites; these Whites, having bought into the subordination of Blacks, could not then object to slavery, even though the system undermined their own economic success. Similarly, notions of white superiority maintained throughout the post-Reconstruction period undermined the Populist movement by cultivating “anti-Black sentiment among poor white farmers.” During the latter half of the nineteenth century, a feeling of superiority relative to American Blacks unified even immigrants, who themselves were exploited in mines and factories and employed in unsafe conditions for substandard wages.
One wonders how this works but it does. White supremacy (racism) is that powerful. It is likely especially powerful in areas where you are isolated from a broader discourse and there are few people who think outside this narrow view of the world. Trump represents the “white economic ruling class” to those millions who have voted for him and that is all that matters. I might not have anything in other words but at least I am superior to the blacks. Maybe someone should study what happens to the brain of a person who embraces white supremacy fully; does it release some chemical or something that brings pleasure? Does it bring joy?