RACISM + POLITICS

2021 Exposed The Dangers of White Backlash America Pretends Not to See

Did America finally learn its lesson? Let’s unpack this

Allison Wiltz
6 min readDec 26, 2021

--

A confederate flag used at a Trump rally in Richmond, Virginia | Photo Credit | Politico

Even though 2021 was supposed to be the year that saved us all from the 2020 blues, it became something else — the year of white backlash. While the antics of White Trumpers failed to destroy American democracy, they were only a stone’s throw away.

If you are unfamiliar with white backlash, let’s start with the Lost Cause. In the aftermath of the “Confederacy’s humiliating defeat in the treasonous war for slavery,” many “supporters pushed the idea that Robert E. Lee was a brilliant general, gentleman, and patriot; and the Ku Klux Klan had rescued the heritage of the old South, what came to be known as “the southern way of life.”

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. The White men and women who stormed the capital on January 6th, becoming insurrectionists, highjacked the terminology of patriotism to justify exerting violence in the citadel of democracy. Even after their humiliating defeat, brought on by a historical surge of Black voters, many conservatives denied that he lost at all.

Many Trump supporters will eagerly try to convince you that Donald Trump’s presidency wasn’t about racism or White Supremacy even though his administration banned Muslims from entering the country, put Brown kids in cages, rolled back Voting Rights, and denied the harm of systemic racism. To them, Trump was a competent, hardworking President, and all of us are just a bunch of big haters. While we will never know if White conservatives actually believe the gospel they’ve been preaching, one thing is clear — Trump’s administration used its might to implement policies driven by white backlash.

“Make America Great Again” became a loaded political slogan, organizing white backlash into a concise message, as it did for Nixon. Living in the aftermath of Trump’s presidency, we see it's no coincidence that 2021 became the year of white backlash or that White conservatives led organized attempts to upend democratic norms.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said that “we shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” But…

--

--

Allison Wiltz

Womanist Scholar bylines @ Momentum, Oprah Daily, ZORA, GEN, EIC of Cultured #WEOC Founder allisonthedailywriter.com https://ko-fi.com/allyfromnola