If you do not believe that there is a “white privilege” double-standard in America today, the only thing that you need to ask yourself in the aftermath of the Charlottesville protests is the following question:
What if the white supremacist neo-Nazi protestors in Charlottesville were black Muslims instead?
“We’re going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump,” said David Duke, former Imperial Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) during an interview at the Charlottesville protests. “That’s why we [white supremacists] voted for Donald Trump because he said we’re going take our country back and that is what we’re going to do…This represents a turning point for the people of this country…We are determined to take our country back!”
In his first press conference after the violence in Charlottesville, Donald Trump made a very telling statement when he said: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides…On many sides…”
On many sides?
Instead of using this opportunity to condemn white supremacists by name, Donald Trump’s lukewarm milquetoast statement on Charlottesville (as compared to his bombastic statements when black, Latino and/or Muslim people commit crimes) clearly gives white supremacists a free pass in their acts of domestic terrorism.
According to The Washington Post, Donald Trump has usually been very quick in the past to condemn incidents when the perpetrators were thought to be Muslim. The Post highlighted that Donald Trump “tweeted about the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015 about 3½ hours after they occurred. The following month, he tweeted about the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California only 90 minutes after the violence began. When terrorists drove a van into a crowd on London Bridge earlier this month, Trump tweeted about the need to be ‘smart, vigilant and tough’ even before authorities identified terrorism as the motive behind the attack.” They also noted that it took Trump several days to praise two men who were fatally stabbed trying to defend women from Islamophobic racist rants on a train in Portland, Oregon and also mentioned the president’s deafening silence on the bombing of a Minnesota mosque in August 2017 which still hangs in the sociopolitical ether today.
His relationship to African-Americans and other minorities is equally repugnant. First of all, Donald Trump once famously said that he has “a great relationship with the blacks” which is totally something that a non-racist would say. His attorney general Jeff Sessions was once rejected as a federal judge over allegations that he called a black attorney “boy”, suggested a white lawyer working for black clients was a ‘race traitor’, and once joked that the only issue he had with the Ku Klux Klan was their marijuana use and referred to black civil rights groups as “un-American” organizations trying to “force civil rights down the throats of people who were trying to put problems behind them.” Furthermore, in May 2017, Trump delivered a speech that the conservative outlet The Washington Times noted took aim at the Black Lives Matter movement and slammed “hostility and violence against police” without ever acknowledging police brutality and its historical effect on generations of African-Americans in the United States.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, out of the 900 hate crime incidents in the first 10 days following Donald Trump’s election, the SPLC found that people explicitly invoked Donald Trump’s name or his campaign slogans in at least four-in-ten (40%) of these hate crimes. The Charlottesville protests are not the first time that Donald Trump has failed to condemn white supremacist publicly. During a national interview with CNN “State of the Union” anchor Jake Tapper in February 2017, Donald Trump failed three (3) different times during the CNN interview to condemn former KKK leader David Duke; who had recently told his right-wing radio audience that voting for any candidate other than Trump would be “treason to your [white] heritage.”
When asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper point blank if he would condemn Duke or any other white supremacists, Donald Trump bizarrely claimed that he did not know anything about white supremacists or about David Duke himself. When Mr. Tapper pressed him twice more during the same interview, Donald Trump said he could not condemn a group he hadn’t yet researched.
Donald Trump once famously said that “anyone who cannot name our enemy is not fit to lead this country.” In the aftermath of the Charlottesville protests; Donald J. Trump has yet again proven himself unfit to lead this country since he is only willing to condemn dark-skinned folks and fails to publicly condemn the neo-Nazi white supremacists who helped elect him.
Arsalan Iftikhar is founder of TheMuslimGuy.com and a Senior Research Fellow for The Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University.