Despite the propaganda, could the Trump era be the least prejudiced in American history?
The left isn’t going to like this one. A recent study on racism in America has revealed some truths that directly contradict one of the progressives’ most beloved narratives. The Democratic Party and its allies in the press have expended no small amount of effort over the past few decades to convince the American public that everyone who isn’t a rabid lefty is a hateful racist.
Of course, President Trump has become the left’s favorite target for race-baiting antics; many claim that the president’s rhetoric and policies have emboldened white supremacists and made America more racially bigoted. But according to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, that assertion is not quite accurate.
Racism Has Decreased Under Trump
Sociologists Daniel J. Hopkins and Samantha Washington conducted a study to analyze the impact of Trump’s election on prejudice against blacks and Hispanics. They used a panel of 2,500 Americans whose views on race and other matters had been documented since 2008. According to the report, the researchers expected to see an increase in racial prejudice in the Trump era. Yes, it might be difficult to believe that professors at a major university would immediately assume that the president singlehandedly made the country more racist, but it’s true.
And why did they make this assumption? Apparently, they formed their hypothesis based on the idea that people have deep-seated racism lying dormant within themselves, waiting to be awakened by a provocative event. The theory was that Trump’s election somehow pushed the magic “I’m totally a racist” button that lurks in the hearts of men – probably white men, specifically – and instantly transformed them into a legion of slobbering white supremacists bent on the utter destruction of minorities.
But the findings were surprising, and likely a bit disappointing, to the researchers and the media establishment. Instead of an increase in racism, the study revealed a marked decrease. Between 2012 and 2016, racist attitudes had decreased by a small degree, but after 2016, when Trump was elected, racism plummeted. The drop was equally present in Republican voters and Democrats.
Why The Change?
It is apparent that the findings of the study put the researchers and the press in quite a quandary. How could they spin the results in a way that doesn’t damage the narrative? Fortunately for them, being a progressive makes one highly proficient in the sport of mental gymnastics. Instead of acknowledging that America is not as racist as Al Sharpton wants us to think, the researchers posit that perhaps Trump’s racism has been so abhorrent, it made racist Americans want to be less bigoted.
It is possible that “Trump’s rhetoric clariﬁed anti-racist norms... given that the declines in prejudice appear concentrated in the period after Trump’s election, it seems quite plausible that it was not simply Trump’s rhetoric but also his accession to the presidency that pushed public opinion in the opposite direction,” the sociologists wrote.
If this doesn’t quite make sense to you, congratulations! You’re a normal person. But some on the left had another idea. The Spectator suggested the reason racism declined was that it had risen to drastic heights when Obama was in office. It argues that, “maybe social science has got it the wrong way round: it was the sight of a mixed race man in the White House who brought out in the inner racist in Americans who are inclined towards those feelings, while the reassuring sight of white man back in the Oval Office has calmed them down.”
An Alternative Theory
Perhaps it is possible that both theories are wrong, and a wee bit of common sense might be appropriate. The reality is that the president does not have the power to make the country more or less racist. And yes, this also goes for Obama, who many conservatives blame for escalating racial tensions during his time in office. While neither president handles racial issues perfectly, American attitudes evolve on their own and are not subject to the whims of the person who happens to occupy the Oval Office.
This report showed that racial tensions were already decreasing under Obama, albeit at a slower pace. Perhaps some whites reaffirmed their opposition to racism when Trump was elected and the media tried to convince America that he was the Führer, who was going to bring back slavery and put Hispanics in catapults to launch them back over the southern border.
But it does not seem likely that these individuals account for the majority of the decrease. Maybe the truth is that America’s views on racial issues are continuing to evolve, and we are becoming gradually less racist every year, despite the far left’s attempts to foment division between whites and minorities through its favored propaganda outlets. As long as Americans continue to aspire towards the values on which the nation was founded, the country will move farther away from its racist past.