2016 and 2017 have been banner years for racism. Ever since the November 2016 election, which saw Donald Trump elected on his "Make America Great Again" platform (a platform many have rightly noted encourages the very worst forms of American nationalism), racists have been coming out the woodwork. Between the resurgence of the alt right, Neo Nazis, white supremacists and the KKK, America is a much different racial and political landscape than it was just a year ago.
A large part of this can be placed very squarely at the feet of Donald Trump.
The Commander in Chief has done very little to dissuade nationalism. In fact, the closest he got to even attempting to deter white supremacists was when he was forced to make a statement in the aftermath of the Charlottesville Riots, which he did through gritted teeth and furrowed brow.
Of course, he then backtracked immediately afterwards to levy one of his most infamous statements of all time.
In reference to the violence in Charlottesville, which culminated in the death of a protestor, Trump said, “I think there is blame on both sides.”
By both sides, of course, he was referring to the white supremacist rioters (who he later termed “fine people”) and the counter protesters who turned out to stand up against their campaign of hate.
This, of course, was only the beginning of the President's slow slide towards showing his true colors an outright Nazi sympathizer.
In the time since then, Trump has berated numerous notable people of color and has railed against immigrants and anyone he deemed not white or male enough. He has also been careful not to go after anyone who might alienate his base.
When Eminem released an inflammatory rap about him, the president did not comment, but the minute LaVar Ball, father of basketball trio Lonzo, LaMelo, and LiAngelo Ball, said he was not thankful for Trump’s assistance in getting his son out of jail, Trump was all over it.
A wide reserve of his particular brand of white supremacist virulence was saved for Muslims.
In November of 2017, Trump, who has repeatedly attacked muslims over the years and stoked resentments against them, retweeted a trio videos which purported to show muslims engaging in heinous acts.
His source was Jayda Franson, an avowed Fascist and deputy leader of British far-right political party Britain First.
Franson, who was recently found guilty of religiously aggravated harassment after she harassed a Muslim woman wearing a hijab while she was with her four children, ecstatically tweeted “GOD BLESS YOU TRUMP!” after the President shared her videos.
In the aftermath, British politicians, and indeed, the British public, condemned Trump for his actions, but Trump’s supporters remained steadfast.
Then again, the other reason racism has peaked in America is because there has been a sea change in the American zeitgeist. To be more plain, White America fears it is losing ground.
By 2020, babies of color will be the majority. There are more people of color going to college than ever, more people of color getting terminal degrees than ever, more people of color having jobs than ever, more people of color owning companies than ever.
Heck, one notable person of color even became the president for the first time in American history.
Barack Obama broke the mold when he became president of the United States in November of 2008. He also may have inadvertently stoked White America’s fears of losing ground to people of color.
As Corey Taylor, frontman for Slipknot and Stone Sour explained:
It’s a reaction, sadly… It’s a reaction to the fact that — and I’m gonna be blatantly honest — that we had a black president. That’s exactly what it is. And not only did we have a black president, we had a very, very successful black president — much to the chagrin of people on the far, far right. I won’t use that term that they use; they are far, far, far, far right — they are white supremacists, and that’s all they are. They are trying to rewrite the history on [President Barack] Obama…
It is because of this troubled racial climate that one rapper decided to stimulate conversation in the most unexpected way.