Dr. Carol Anderson, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of African American Studies, was recently quoted in a U.S. News article “Donald Trump’s Dismal Appeal to Black Voters,” written by Joesph P. Williams. Anderson analyzes Trump’s recent comments on contemporary race relations and his strategy to gain support among black voters. Anderson is the author of White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide (Bloomsbury, 2016). Read an excerpt of the article below or the full piece.
The black community understands stop-and-frisk to be “a tool of intimidation and criminalization,” Anderson says. “Again, the ‘outreach’ is not about courting black voters.”
Anderson doubts the college-educated whites Trump apparently covets would go for such a bald appeal to racial solidarity, but she argues the problem is with the messenger – in this case, a bombastic, occasionally crass, former reality-TV star – and not the message.
“If he were a more-skilled, more-nuanced politician, yes, it would work,” Anderson says. Kicking off his 1980 presidential campaign, she says, President Ronald Reagan “declared his love for states’ rights in Neshoba County, Mississippi, the site of a triple murder of civil rights workers. Reagan walked away with the white vote.”
Coming out of the Civil Rights Movement, “the key was to use dog whistles – crime, welfare, forced busing, neighborhood schools – to trigger a Pavlovian anti-black response, without being openly racist,” Anderson explains. “It was racism with plausible deniability and it worked for years. Trump, however, didn’t dog whistle, he just barked: ‘Mexicans are rapists, criminals, and drug mules. Muslims are terrorists – ban all of them.'”