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House-Cleaning: David Bromwich on Trump’s latest moves

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The party of Hillary Clinton, NPR and the New Yorker had better watch the increasingly careless deployment of the phrases ‘white man’ and ‘white male’ as dismissive epithets. ‘They call themselves moderates and problem-solvers, consensus-builders and pragmatists. Monochrome and male, they do not embody social change and few hold out the promise of making history’: so ran a pair of sentences near the start of a New York Times story mocking the absurdly retro views and skin colour of Democratic ‘centrists’. The reporter is a recent graduate of Harvard whom the Times picked up from Politico – a symptomatic trajectory. The cliché about ‘making history’ because you are the first non-white, non-male, non-straight person in some category, exhibits an attitude the Ivies and the 24/7 outlets have projected into mainstream journalism. The annual Women’s March in Humboldt County in northern California was cancelled in January because the participants were going to be ‘overwhelmingly white’ – a story that got coverage in very different tones of voice depending on the presenter’s venue. You don’t want the laughter to turn into votes, but the too-white notion has been gaining ground in Democratic circles ever since its use by Hillary Clinton against Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primaries: it was said that as a senator from Vermont he represented ‘a very white state’. The educational value (if any) of such a reminder is lost on people – the vast majority of humankind at any moment – who can’t be talked into voluntary self-denial on account of their race. The potentially useful suggestion that ‘more black people here would be a good thing’ will not be heard where the grammar says ‘there are too many white people.’ Giddy with their deserved triumph in 2018, the Democrats and their allies in the media are pouring fuel on a resentment that could bring another election like 2016.

 

much more at

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v41/n05/david-bromwich/house-cleaning

 

 

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