"We have a white extremism problem"
The election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency on a platform devoted largely to themes of ethnic nationalism and racial and religious intolerance was a wake-up call to those of us who believed our ethnic group was largely benign, but for small pockets of zealotry at the margins.
As white people, it was our turn to experience the cold shock of discovering that a significant part of our community has been radicalized, sometimes over the Internet, into a form of intolerant extremism that rejects conventional Western values and threatens the integrity of entire countries. That it has so far manifested itself in ballots rather than bombs shouldn’t mask its gravity: Because we are so numerous, our zealots are capable of paralyzing nations.
We need to do what we have long told other groups to do when they face an extremism problem: Speak up about it, identify it, try to understand what has happened to so many people like us, find a way to lead them away from extremism.
His election was the work, almost entirely, of white people. More than 90 per cent of Americans who voted for Mr. Trump were white, and most white U.S. voters, both men and women, cast a ballot for him (even though his opponent got more votes over all). And at least 90 per cent of non-white Americans did not vote for him. This was a white riot – an angry, rejectionist turn by a deeply pessimistic majority within the white population against the far more hopeful and inclusive politics of the rest of the country.
Indeed, one of the strongest indicators of Trump support (and support for far-right movements elsewhere) is a belief that things were better in the past. A much-discussed survey by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) found that 72 per cent of Trump voters felt that life and culture had been better in the 1950s – a time before civil rights and racial equality. Conversely, 70 per cent of Clinton voters felt things had improved since then. Those results were borne out on election night: Exit polls showed that 90 per cent of Clinton voters felt the country had gone in “generally the right direction”; only 8 per cent of Trump voters did.
This is the part that really made me REEEEEEE:
It might be worth facing the problem directly: If the strongest predictors of white radicalization are a lack of postsecondary education and residence in an ethnically segregated non-urban community, it’s worth thinking of reducing the number of people who live this way. Increasing the proportion of adults with university or college educations is both economically sensible – since this is where the middle-class incomes are found – and also politically wise. Canada has a considerably higher rate of postsecondary education than the United States, and it may be one reason why these currents of intolerant racial politics have not washed up here significantly.