The Los Angeles Times hired Dexter Thomas last summer as a “contact reporter” to cover “black Twitter,” to write about black issues as they percolate through social media. But he ended 2015 by doling out advice to white people in an analysis headlined “In 2016, white people must take responsibility for Donald Trump.” It began:
“White people, come get your boy.”
Depending on how you read that line from comedian W. Kamau Bell about Donald Trump, you might take it as a joke. Or you might take offense.
But Bell meant it as a call to action – because Trump is not a Republican problem. He’s a white-people problem.
Thomas doled out this lofty advice because, as he says, ”getting your boy” is a term for how “people of color” take steps to police “their own” because "[w]henever a black or brown person does something unsavory in public, members of their community know that it will – fairly or not – reflect on them." (Apparently Mr. Thomas hasn’t heard of Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, Van Jones, Black Lives Matter riots…you get the idea.) He advises white people to handle the controversial, "particularly embarrassing" Trump the same way:
Trump is a particularly embarrassing figure because of whom he purports to represent. His rhetoric might appeal most to white nationalists, including former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, but his target is not the fringes. Instead, as Duke says, Trump’s campaign is an appeal to “the values and interests of the European-American majority.”
White people should feel insulted by this. They should feel ashamed – as white people – of Donald Trump. Whites need to stand up and say that they will not allow Trump to hijack their culture, or to conduct his racist politics in their name.
Is Mr. Thomas implying that white people who support Trump are aligned with “white nationalists?” Yes. Anyway, he didn’t stop there, adding that white people must "take responsibility for any damage that has been done, and take steps to correct it." He then brings up radical leftist Tim Wise, who says Trump is especially dangerous because he stands no chance of winning the election:
“Trump is unleashing this sense among a certain group of white men that violence is acceptable,” he said, referring to recent attacks at Trump rallies. “They’re afraid that their country is being taken away from them by immigrants and people of color, and that Trump is their last chance to take it back. If they discover that they can’t win at the ballot box, the question becomes: What do we expect these angry white people to do?”
“Some of those people,” he says, “might turn to terrorism.”
Thomas then returned to comedian Kamau Bell, the guy who used to have a show called Totally Biased on FX. Whites need to fight for social justice and against Trump because, according to Bell, “just being realistic....white people listen to other white people better than they listen to anyone else.” (I must have missed the memo that said only white people are racists.)
As if all those questionable mentions weren’t enough, Thomas gave a written shout out to Dara Silverman's Showing Up for Racial Justice, an organization that is trying to get 7 million white people to pledge to combat racism in their daily lives. This pledge sounds about as useful as the #BringBackOurGirls campaign the White House promoted back in 2014. Not very useful. But as one might expect, the black correspondent on race is most appalled by whites who want to be “color blind” and satisfied with racial harmony in America:
Even for whites who find Trump’s rhetoric repulsive, joking about him, or even rejecting him, will not be enough. They now need to turn their focus to the society that allowed him to come to prominence. Particularly among whites who prefer to view themselves as “color blind,” there is a dangerous attitude that the best way to make racial injustice go away is to not talk about it.
The fact that Thomas said “as white people” we should be ashamed of Donald Trump and police “our own” implies racism. Then again, it seems anything these days could be interpreted as racist.