Trump…seems to understand that charges of racism are essentially toothless, because the bar of proof is now so high that it’s impossible to clear. But he also understands that the seriousness of the accusation can have a paralyzing effect upon its target. So he coached his surrogates on how to respond. “The people asking the questions,” Trump told his proxies, “those are the racists. I would go at ’em.”
This is the end result of redefining racism to mean malice in one’s heart. Once whites moved the goal posts, anyone could be the victim of racism, and anyone could be racist. Activists opposing racism could be racist. President Obama casually mentioning that he, like Trayvon Martin, is black — this could be a deeply racist act. Advocates of busing programs or affirmative action could be racist. Minorities resentful over their treatment in America could be the real racists, the ones whose hearts insist on “making everything about race.” Al Sharpton is a racist. Beyoncé Knowles is a racist. Kanye West is definitely a racist.
A recent Justice Department investigation into the Baltimore Police Department unearthed rampant racial discrimination and routine violations of civil rights that specifically targeted the city’s black residents. And yet nonviolent movements like Black Lives Matter, which emerged three years ago to combat these exact issues, have instead been identified as bad actors, thugs and outside agitators — just last month, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani of New York said, “When you say ‘black lives matter,’ that is inherently racist.”
Someone, after all, must be racist: More than half of white Americans now believe that they’re discriminated against as much as minorities. Who, then, is doing the discriminating?
Greg Howard, “Bias Charge”, The New York Times Magazine (21 August 2016), 13.