The exact quote from Dr. Michael Eric Dyson that afternoon was, “Donald Trump is starting to treat white people like n-words.”
My partner and I went to hear Dr. Dyson speak about his latest book. And his line about Trump got a nice laugh and nods from the crowd.
But Dr. Dyson’s words stunned me. The wheels of my mind are turning as I think about a line so charged and loaded.
To me, it seems like many white people feel like they are Black in America.
I’d point to how they are anxious and resentful about the country becoming a majority-minority nation.
I’d point to how they feel victimized and discriminated against.
I’d point to how white hate groups talk about love for their people as they co-opt the slogans and sentiments of the Civil Rights movement.
I’d point to how Trump played on white voter fears about being forgotten and given bad deals.
I’d also point to how Trump has dismissed his own government officials from Tillerson to Sessions.
If we look at how Trump denigrates and dehumanizes the media, and all his foes, he tries to blacken the reputations of people and entities.
And with our allies like Canada and others, Trump treats other countries like the US is white. Trump’s “America first” is white supremacy to a world that he treats like his Squatty Potty.
Trump has created new classes of people, those who support him and do what he says, and those who don’t are in another category.
I’m not sure any of this is all good. If white voters continue to think they are victims, then we’ll get more Trump.
If our allies in the world get the Black treatment from Trump, how will they respond to America?
But if Trump continues to treat our democratic institutions like they’re Black, perhaps they will rise and turn against him with a vengeance.
That’s the good that can come from the Black treatment Trump pushes on white people.
So, white people must become undignified and indignant. This is the time for white people to become uncivil for the right reasons.
Let white people toss off respectability, decorum, and decency.
Let white people use their arts, media, entertainment, and music as overt political protests against Trump.
Let white people make demands and call Trump out on his shit slinging.
And let white people build more coalitions across economic and racial lines.
Many white people are engaged in those efforts. But I’m doubtful whether more will respond in those ways. Too many may be quick to slow down and their critics may shut them down.
And besides, white people do not understand what it’s like to be Black.
Or, maybe they do, a little, and don’t realize they are getting the Black treatment.
Trump is the “Gaslighter in Chief.” He’s gaslighting all of America, white people included.
Gaslighting is a form a psychological and emotional manipulation and abuse.
From the biggest office in America, Trump gaslights white people as his full-time job. And he works overtime to get the job done.
He lies and denies. He blames and shames. He coins monikers and slurs in predictable ways. It’s like Trump’s a meteorologist naming tropical storms every day.
Trump makes people question themselves, question their motives, question their memories, question their sanity, and question the truth.
He has people screaming, “This is not who we are!”
Trump rewrites everything to control every narrative. Every day he creates a “reality” of his choosing for his benefit.
It’s a “reality” that says only Trump matters because he’s the whitest of them all.
It’s a “reality” that says, “you’re not worthy, you don’t know what you’re talking about, this is not what it is, that never happened, the rules don’t apply to me, and what about this?”
Now, when I think about it, I see Trump’s tactics as the same tactics racists use. You can trust me on this one, I’ve chatted with a few.
White America has and continues to gaslight Black people. Racism and the denial of racism and its effects are a form of gaslighting.
So, I must ask if white Americans realize how this gaslighting isn’t new, and they do it too? It’s being recycled, and it’s being repurposed, but it’s not new.
The same Donald Trump who was wrong when he accused the Central Park Five and never apologized — he’s doing that to white people.
The same Donald Trump who refused to rent to Black tenants and denies it was ever a thing — he’s doing that to white people.
The same Donald Trump that claimed the first Black president was un-American and the founder of ISIS — he’s doing that to white people.
Donald Trump is everything that white supremacy is — narcissistic, lying, cheating, hypocritical, blame-shifting, demeaning, depraved, and reckless.
Every day Donald Trump acts out his “you’re not me, and you’re not as white as me” antics on the white people he doesn’t like.
And according to Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Trump is just “starting” to treat white people like they’re Black.
There’s more to come.
So, I wonder if white people will connect all the dots between who Trump is, who they are, and who they’ve been?
If you ask me, I’m not interested to see Trump treat white people like Black people. It doesn’t bring me joy.
Unless it means white people won’t crack and white people will fight back.
I say, when people treat you like the n-word that’s the time to fight. Snatch your earrings out and get into a stance.
And yes, don’t worry, you can still go high, as he goes low. There’s a vertical move you can use.
It’s called an uppercut. It punches up, and it will take you higher.
Try it sometime, like, try it every-way, every day.
I’ll ask you, like Trump asked us — what the hell do you have to lose?
Because, when you’re made to be Black as Trump defines it, you must fight back.