Neal Milner: White Political Identity Is An Emerging And Dangerous Force

Honolulu Civil Beat | 1/23/2020 | Neal Milner
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The 2020 presidential race may appear to be about impeachment, Donald Trump’s character, and the state of the economy. But lurking within all of this is a more significant issue.

It’s whiteness.

White - Identity - Shadows - Sense - Candidates

White political identity may seem to be in the shadows. And it is, in the sense that it is almost never discussed explicitly, certainly not by candidates.

Even in the shadows, it will be at the center because a significant and fast-growing portion of white people now think of their white-people selves as a political group with cohesive interests.

Kind - Understanding - Revamping - Understanding

This requires a different kind of political understanding. Why so important and why is a revamping of our political understanding so necessary?

Donald Trump’s presidency has illuminated a growing movement of white identity politics, as seen in this photo from his 2017 inauguration.

Sheer - Numbers - Ashley - Jardina - Book

First, consider the sheer numbers. According to Ashley Jardina’s recent book “White Identity Politics,” in the last 15 or so years there has been a significant increase in the number of people who strongly identify as white. They view their white group as an oppressed minority.

Presently 40% of white voters feel this way, with about one-fifth of those feeling especially aggrieved and willing to get politically involved on behalf of white interests.

Root - Way - Life - Diversity - Globalization

At the root, they feel that their way of life is being threatened by cultural diversity, globalization and most of all by immigration. America as they knew it and benefitted from is disappearing.

Many are candid about the privileges whiteness allows and say they don’t want to give them up.

Basis - Identity - Suspect - €? - Resentment

The basis of white political identity is not the usual suspect — racial resentment. In fact, Jardina shows that it’s common for strong white political identifiers to have views sympathetic toward African Americans.

What makes this group important, and quite possibly different from its predecessors, is its diversity. White identifiers are an extremely diverse...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Honolulu Civil Beat
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