Iconic author Toni Morrison says white Americans overwhelmingly supported President-elect Donald Trump due to fears that “their natural superiority is being lost.”
“Unlike any nation in Europe, the United States holds whiteness as the unifying force,” Morrison writes in an essay for the New Yorker, entitled “Mourning for Whiteness.”
Morrison catalogues an apparent list of concerns held by white Trump voters: “There are ‘people of color’ everywhere, threatening to erase this long-understood definition of America. And what then? Another black President? A predominantly black Senate? Three black Supreme Court Justices? The threat is frightening.”
The Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning author also explains the lengths white Americans have gone to “restore whiteness to its former status as a marker of national identity”:
Much as they may hate their behavior, and know full well how craven it is, they are willing to kill small children attending Sunday school and slaughter churchgoers who invite a white boy to pray. Embarrassing as the obvious display of cowardice must be, they are willing to set fire to churches, and to start firing in them while the members are at prayer. And, shameful as such demonstrations of weakness are, they are willing to shoot black children in the street.
Morrison says, “To keep alive the perception of white superiority, these white Americans tuck their heads under cone-shaped hats” and train “their guns on the unarmed, the innocent, the scared, on subjects who are running away, exposing their unthreatening backs to bullets.”
The 85-year-old says, “So scary are the consequences of a collapse of white privilege that many Americans have flocked to a political platform that supports and translates violence against the defenseless as strength.”
Morrison blames the election of Trump on eager “white voters” who “embraced the shame and fear sowed” by the President-elect:
On Election Day, how eagerly so many white voters—both the poorly educated and the well educated—embraced the shame and fear sowed by Donald Trump. The candidate whose company has been sued by the Justice Department for not renting apartments to black people. The candidate who questioned whether Barack Obama was born in the United States, and who seemed to condone the beating of a Black Lives Matter protester at a campaign rally. The candidate who kept black workers off the floors of his casinos. The candidate who is beloved by David Duke and endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan.
Morrison’s is one of sixteen such post-election essays on “Trump’s America” appearing in the November 21 print edition of the New Yorker.
Read Morrison’s entire essay here.
Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @JeromeEHudson.