The rise of white people... as a demographic

I’m watching the Trump rally protests:

It looks like the protests are racially charged: people are angry about Trump’s comments about Mexicans, his phony crime statistics about blacks, and so on. Minority groups want to push back. Thing is, so many angry people showed up that it became practically a riot- there was some isolated violence between protesters and Trump supporters, but it mostly appears to be peaceful, if passionate. Trump got shut down this time.

What is going on? I think it is that Trump is taking a not-too-subtle stand for white people. This is a real sore spot in American society, obviously there are a lot of skeletons in the national closet here. And Trump is going about it in an incendiary way that brings those skeletons out into the light. OTOH, white people do have some genuine grievances.

We can know this. Parts of the country have managed to more-or-less segregate as white areas- places in the Rust Belt, the Midwest, you know what I mean. And some of these places have seen genuine economic contraction as their job base shrinks, and often because of the kinds of reasons Trump espouses: trade deals move their jobs overseas, guest worker visa programs give jobs to imported foreign labor.

So even though there is a white-people-vs.-foreigners dynamic, the motive isn’t necessarily animus specifically against outsiders’ backgrounds or skin color. I think it can be (at least in some/most of the cases, i.e. only 16% of Trump supporters report believing that Whites are a superior race ) motivated by economic concerns. Some white people feel like they are being left behind, and that their concerns are not being listened to because ‘white people’ is supposed to be the establishment and therefore many people are slow to believe this demographic could suffer these problems. And maybe they do.

But try telling that to young blacks or Latinos- there is a long history of these groups suffering these problems. Is this the start of the revolution Sanders is calling for? I don’t know. I think it is the start of something. One thing I think it means is this: going forward, “white people” are going to become more accepted as a demographic group in the national discourse going forward, like Latinos, or black people, or Muslims.

That, and the GOP of the future is going to be reeling from the hit they are about to take.

From my understanding, Trump is doing extremely well with working class white people, but quite poorly with other white demographics (especially the highly educated). So I don’t think we’ll see discussions of white people as a relatively unified demographic, since they’re (we’re) not at all, from my understanding.

I’m white. Donald Trump does not “stand for” me in any way, shape or form.

None of these categories really add up. But they get used anyway.

The OP would make more sense if Trump used racialist language, instead of advocating an explicitly multiracial nativism and nationalism.

People are suffering some pretty severe mental laziness and conceptual stagnation, and insist on framing current events with simplistic and ancient narratives, involving George Wallace and beer hall putsches, that do not begin to explain or help to understand what is motivating the bulk of the people being persuaded by Trump.

This is the kind of American attracted to Trump’s message. Nationality has far more to do with it than race, except that non-whites have less wealth on average, and thus benefit more on average from any privileges or entitlements that accrue simply from being born American. This value can be debased when these privileges and entitlements are made freely available to non-citizens.

“White” is a very diverse group.

Certainly he is appealing to a subset of Whites who perceive themselves to be losing power, losing SES, losing place in the social order, and well just losing. Many of them are not well educated at all (not only not college educated, but poorly educated even at the High School level; some willfully ignorant and anti-science) and their prospects in the economy of today and of the future is in fact bleak. It didn’t used to be that way. Being White was enough to give them a place at least one step up in the social order and there were plenty of decent Blue collar jobs for them … before. This was their system, they are supposed to be the establishment, and they aren’t anymore. A diverse collection of nerds are now instead. Time to circle the wagons against the hordes of others. Us against them. Whoever them is, as long as it isn’t me.

To identify that subset as the demographic “white people” is unhelpful at best.


Ok. There is a demographic, it is largely a white group though, yes, it isn’t really “White People,” though in a context where the discussion revolves around Mexicans and black people and Muslims, some people are taking it that way. It is confused, and that stirs up conflict.

The confusion, perhaps, mirrors the shift into 21st century logic. From here:

In the same way that a q-bit registers two values at once, the issue of race in the public discourse is two things at once. To some people, it is “White People”, or “blacks”, or “Mexicans”, or “Muslims”. To others, it is a specific and defined demographic group. In fact, I think in many people’s minds it is both at the same time (and certainly in the public discourse it is both at the same time), and people (maybe) aren’t used to thinking of things that way.

No, by far the biggest accumulations of morons are those that have accreted themselves upon the Bernie Brandwagon. Trump gets a good share of support from all over the curve, including some of thesmartest cookies around.

If Trump is representing white people, I would like to switch races. I’m Italian-American: do you think the Latinos would take me?

Hey, I’ve read Noel Ignatiev’s classic How the Irish Became White. Rather than be mistaken for a Trump fan, can I revert to my Black Irish roots?

I think your link is broken. It talks about some female rapper making tweets.

Yeah, I’ve thought about what Banks is saying, and I can’t quite figure out her irony game here. When she talks about how Trump is Evil like America is evil, is she saying “evil” in a good way, or is she laying a curse on our country, that we deserve a villain like Trump, or is she going somewhere else? It doesn’t help that she may not know exactly what she means herself.

Hank, I watched your video with the sound turned off, to see what kind of people were attracted to Trump. You mentioned his “explicitly multiracial nativism,” so I was looking to see if his crowd was “explicitly multiracial.”

It was “technically multiracial”: in that video of hundreds of people passing back and forth behind the cowboy, there were two people of color (who knew each other, judging from the hug). Everyone else was white.

This maps to other Trump events I’ve seen: white people are, shall we say, overrepresented at these events. Why do you think that is?

No the confusion is not quantum in nature. It is very straightforward stuff. Basic broad brushstroke work.

We’ve been discussing the issues here in other threads in very straightforward manners without confusion merely by speaking with some precision.

Yes there is that group that has relatively lost power in society, mostly white. non-college educated and often poorly educated, more commonly rural, doing less well than their parents did, with poor prospects for anything other than further dropping down the social and economic ladder, whose family and social support systems have been weakening, who feel that society does not care about giving them ladders of opportunities at all.

They are not Schroedinger cats. They have however lost what they had and are increasingly being dealt out of future hands. They are pessimistic about the future. And they feel that traditional political leadership has either exploited them or ignored them. They feeling under threat, prone to blame “others” for their problems, prone to accepting simplistic explanations and solutions, especially when they overlap with extant prejudices they may have. They are the ideal base for demagoguery.

If the point is that society at large would do well to not pander to them but also to not ignore their concerns, to identify the true barriers they face as items of serious concern too, then I think several here would agree. If the point is to identify those issues as “white” issues then you’ll likely find few hopping on board, especially perhaps those of us who are also labelled “white” but nothing like that shrinking demographic at all.

One in six Trump supporters feel comfortable telling a pollster that whites are the superior race and you call that “only”?

No. Trump supporters are overwhelming white. They are the segment of the white population who historically have benefited most from white privilege. They have historically been against any gains from minorities because rightly or wrongly they see them as direct competition. They favored Jim Crow laws and fought segregation.

Today they fighting the losing battle of demographics, both domestically and around the world as what we might call “American privilege” is being challenged. They have no hope of winning on either front, and that makes them bitter and more dangerous. It is absolutely “animus specifically against outsiders’ backgrounds or skin color” which is why it can so easily be fanned by a demagogue who panders to those base instincts.

To whatever extent they are a demographic, they are a shrinking one. It’s better to think of them as a bloc, though. All they want are Jim Bob Crow laws and they’ll be happy.

I disagree. These same rust belt white, lower middle class, non-college educated people are just as mad when a factory closes and moves to South Carolina as it does when it moves to Mexico.

If hordes of, say, white Scandinavians were coming into the country illegally and taking their jobs, you think they would say, “Oh, well, these are white guys, so good luck to you.”?

Of course, it is only fair to admit that a small minority of these people do feel that way: 16%. Thirty years ago, they might be the dregs of white society, but at least they weren’t black. Now that there is equality (for the most part) in society, when they are at the bottom, it’s the rock bottom. Instead of admitting that it may be partially their fault, anyone who puts the blame elsewhere will get their support.

See, it is both things at the same time. Trump gets up and gives speeches about how this group has been sold out by politicians to send their jobs overseas, and they react like, “FINALLY! Someone is addressing our concerns!” But when Trump goes to bring this message to Chicago, the message poor black and Latino people have heard is, “We are going to put white people back in their proper place: on top!” And there is a riot.

I think it really is both things at once. Trump himself is speaking to both sides of it. One minute it is economic concerns, the next it is, “Mexicans are rapists.” The group’s problems and solutions really are mostly economic, but because of the history of America, there is racism, too (real and perceived). We could take either view and have a conversation about the Trump phenomenon and it would make sense. Arguing which view is true or false won’t go anywhere: it is both.

And yet more chickens come home to roost …

Relative to being white? No, they do not.