Toni Morrison says, ‘Fear Of Losing White Privilege Led To Trump’s Election’

Nobel-winning US novelist Toni Morrison attends the unveiling ceremony of a memorial bench marking the abolition of slavery in Paris (the first to be inaugurated outside the United States by the Toni Morrison Society) on November 5, 2010 in Paris. Morrison, author of "Beloved" and whose poetic novels on slavery and the African-American experience earned her the Pulitzer and Nobel prizes, in 1988 and 1993, was awarded yesterday a city of Paris medal honouring thinkers and artists with strong ties to the capital, a day after receiving France's highest decoration, the Legion of Honour. AFP PHOTO FRANCK FIFE        (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
Nobel-winning US novelist Toni Morrison attends the unveiling ceremony of a memorial bench marking the abolition of slavery in Paris (the first to be inaugurated outside the United States by the Toni Morrison Society) on November 5, 2010 in Paris. Morrison, author of “Beloved” and whose poetic novels on slavery and the African-American experience earned her the Pulitzer and Nobel prizes, in 1988 and 1993, was awarded yesterday a city of Paris medal honouring thinkers and artists with strong ties to the capital, a day after receiving France’s highest decoration, the Legion of Honour. AFP PHOTO FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

“The comfort of being ‘naturally better than’ is hard to give up.”

Toni Morrison has written a powerful essay in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States, and it gets right to the heart of why Trump won.

In a piece titled “Mourning For Whiteness” from the November 21 print issue of the New Yorker (published online Monday), the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist argues that Trump won due to the terror of privileged white men in the face of a rapidly diversifying country.

“Under slave laws, the necessity for color rankings was obvious, but in America today, post-civil-rights legislation, white people’s conviction of their natural superiority is being lost,” Morrison writes.

“There are ‘people of color’ everywhere, threatening to erase this long-understood definition of America. And what then? Another black President? A predominantly black Senate? Three black Supreme Court Justices? The threat is frightening.”

As Morrison explains it, the subconscious fear of losing the “comfort of being naturally better than,” the comfort of not being followed in a department store for instance, was a huge motivator for many White Americans.

Morrison argues that white Americans and particularly white men are so afraid of the collapse of white privilege that they “flocked to a political platform that supports and translates violence against the defenseless as strength.”

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Source: Black Voices | Zeba Blay

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