Rising white supremacism tears apart US society

By Ai Jun Source:Global Times Published: 2018/10/29 22:48:41

US President Donald Trump didn't pull the trigger on Jews in Pittsburgh, but he prepped the shooter: This at least is what quite a few international mainstream media suggested in their critiques of the mass shooting at a Jewish synagogue by an anti-Semite.  The Washington Post put it more bluntly: "Trump's America is not a safe place for Jews."

Reports show that anti-Semitic incidents in the US surged 57 percent last year, the largest increase in a single year over recent decades. 

Anti-Semitism has its own history of religious clashes. In Christian Antisemitism: A History of Hate, Professor William Nicholls noted, "The Nazis chose the Jews as the target of their hate because two thousand years of Christian teaching had accustomed the world to do so."

Since the Holocaust, anti-Semitism has been a taboo in the West. Thanks to the rise of nationalism and populism, represented by Trump, it is creeping back at an accelerating pace.

US society has been torn apart in recent years with rising xenophobia and inertia of attributing its own misfortunes to others. In this worldview, it is always others who stole American wealth, jobs and threaten its security. Trump's philosophy caters to this phenomenon. By advocating protectionism, rejecting immigration compromise and building a wall on the Mexican border, he has won support from a large group of white people, particularly men.

Same characteristics can be easily found among these people: They are white with low levels of education, limited job skills but ample superiority of being white. They believe their unsatisfactory life was not caused by their own problems, but by people they regard as un-Christian, un-American. Jews, who in their eyes usually enjoy a superior lifestyle, thus become objects of hatred.

By shouting "America First," Trump is talking in a well-known political code: He actually means "white people first." Unlike his predecessors, who devoted themselves to establishing an open and free country, Trump is using racial and religious conflict to aggravate white people's sense of crisis.

In the past, the US was considered a melting pot that welcomes people regardless of their country, race or religion. This is the foundation of the country.

But now some are attempting to block more people from going in while elbowing out certain groups. The ideal is forgotten. Society is changing.

Trump and his supporters can certainly build a wall along the US border to prevent South American immigrants from stealing American jobs today. But tomorrow can they build a wall between themselves and the new technologies to prevent artificial intelligence from taking their jobs?

Today, nationalistic, populist policies may help politicians win more votes, but tomorrow they will only face a more divided society with more hate crimes.

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