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A lot of people are waiting for President Trump to say one particular word.EXPAND
A lot of people are waiting for President Trump to say one particular word.
Photo by Brian Maschino

Go Ahead and Prepare Yourself for a "Trump is Actually Racist" World

Sometimes the only thing you can do is speak the truth into the air, so let’s get to it: almost everyone, no matter their political affiliation, is hoping there’s a tape of President Donald Trump saying something explicitly racist. It’s the kind of bleakly hilarious scenario you’d only find in the darkest of comedies, but here we are, repeatedly refreshing our social media accounts, waiting for a tape to surface that once and for all answers the question, with no wiggle room, of whether or not the leader of the free world is racist.

If you’re more blue than red, you’re hoping that this happens because you think that Trump indulging in hard racism will derail his presidency after so many examples of his soft racism failed to do so. If you’re the middle of the road non-voter, you’re probably hoping the tape exists because you think watching the fallout will be hilarious. And yes, there are those who are hoping it exists so that will validate their own racist beliefs.

Two of these groups are going to be super disappointed if and when it comes out that Trump has said the n-word with a hard-r. Let’s be honest, if “grab them by the pussy” wasn’t enough to derail his shot at the most powerful position in politics, can you really say with a straight face that overt racism would? The Republican Party has proven that they’ll stand with Trump through anything as long as it means they can give tax cuts to the rich and make poor Americans’ lives just a little bit more terrible. No one is going to switch party lines just because the Trump subtext becomes actual text.

As for having their racist beliefs validated, well, it’s not like internet lynch mobs are going to stop trying to ruin racists' lives just because Trump’s racism is actually uncovered. Sure, racists might be more bold about their beliefs, but there are still plenty of good people in the world ready to shout them down, even if there is still an equal number of less than great people who put personal comfort above fighting the good fight.

No, the only folks that will win if a tape of Trump saying something undeniably racist comes to light at those in the middle who only care about chaos. Because make no mistake, the only guarantee in the wake of that sort of revelation is that social media is going to be straight up awful for hours if not days. Maybe find a cave in the woods to hunker down in, or at least delete Twitter from your phone the minute the news breaks.

There’s no one whose optimism I admire more than those brave folks who think some bit of news is going to come along that finally brings the Trump presidency to a close. Much in the same way these people seem to think that there’s an eventual floor where his presidency can’t get any worse, reality is pretty good about showing us that it’s not fair, it’s not equal, and that there might not be a long arc bending toward anything. Sometimes bad people just win.

Which is why the smartest thing you can do now is to begin steeling yourself for that moment when a tape does come out and we can finally put that “Is Trump actually racist?” argument to bed. Because nothing is going to change. Oh, people might take to the streets in protests, but all your congressperson is going to do is put out a tepid press release about how the First Amendment is really neat and checks and balances are really cool or about how this language is appalling and if you just donate $20 they’ll be better able to fight against fascism, and after that it’ll all be business as usual as they jockey for the little bit of power they can get their hands on.

The rollercoaster has left the station, and the only thing we can do as a nation is wait for it to finish. History books will not look at this period kindly, but the good news is that there are a lot of points in American history that history books rightly point out as being bad. So maybe our country voted for an actual racist; our country is full of people who think they aren’t racist because they’re very careful to never actually say the N-word. But isn’t that how it’s always been, since the very beginning? America has suffered worse. But the beauty of America is not unchecked capitalism or the idea that anyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps; it’s that no matter how hard we try to pull ourselves apart, it never takes. Even when we’re not sure why we all agree that America is something worth fighting for.

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