‘It’s Not ALL Trump Supporters!’

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In the wake of Donald Trump’s Electoral College victory, hate crimes are being reported* against Muslims, LGBTQ youth, and other minority groups across the country, presumably perpetrated by Trump-supporting racists emboldened by his victory. And I’ve heard one refrain over and over again from Trump voters across social media:

“It’s not ALL Trump Supporters!”

(It’s actually three refrains I’m hearing repeatedly, but we’ll tackle ‘But Hillary…!’ and ‘The other side is doing it too’ later – this first is by far the most common, and the most disturbing).

Let me explain to you the two reasons why this response is so dangerous, and why those of you that are using it are still a huge part of the problem, even if you’re not scrawling swastikas in public parks.

It is immediately ignoring and diminishing the incredibly serious and terrifying circumstances millions your fellow US citizens are in right now.

Think about the profound lack of empathy or basic decency you’re displaying when you hear someone was attacked by a large group you’re associated with (Trump voters) and you very first reaction is to respond with “We aren’t all committing these terrible acts!”

That doesn’t need to be where your mind immediately takes you. You don’t need to leap to your own defense before all other concerns. It costs you absolutely nothing to instead say, for example “That’s absolutely awful – I’m so sorry that happened to them.” That “I’m sorry” isn’t an apology by the way – it’s an expression of sympathy.

And guess what? By expressing sympathy first, besides being the decent and American thing to do, you’re also still distancing yourself from this strain dangerous extremism we cannot allow to become commonplace.

It is selfish.

When your first response to news reports of Muslim women having their hijabs ripped off is “Not all Trump supporters!” you’ve completely shifted the discussion away from the Muslim women having their hijabs ripped off and instead made the conversation about yourself.

The dialogue is now about protest votes. Or about whether a person can vote for a candidate while opposing their rhetoric. Or about lost rust belt coal jobs or something else completely unrelated to to Muslim women having their hijabs ripped off.

It’s self-centered verbal judo.

And not for nothing, but even if you don’t consider yourself a racist, you did vote for the guy that ran on a campaign platform of making Muslim US citizens all register and mocked the wife of a Muslim gold star mother specifically because she was Muslim. These weren’t comments from decades ago. He campaigned on them. So that’s part of what you voted for. By casting a Trump ballot, you’re stating that his anti-American, racist remarks and policy proposals aren’t deal-breakers for you.

So you’ll excuse me for not being more concerned that your feelings are hurt so many people are now mistaking you for a racist.

* As a lifelong skeptic (just ask my friends), I’m very aware that that many of these reports are unverified, and some have even been proven false. It’s very easy for angry or frustrated or scared people to share a story that simply never happened. It’s important we continue to confirm the veracity of these reports, but it’s more important that we listen, and that we care. The KKK is marching, and we can’t allow the freedom of religion or the beautiful diversity of America to be budged one inch.

Image Credit: http://www.gafollowers.com/

 

6 COMMENTS

  1. While it’s not the most elegant phrase, or the most sympathetic, it is simply a phrase created do to our ever shrinking attention span. Currently many people struggle to read more than a sentence or two without losing interest or getting distracted. No one I know, intends this phrase to be the ultimate defense, or a substitute for a message of sympathy to those who are attacked. But is simply a byproduct of our time, having to combine, and simplify things to the point of little meaning, and holding little value in the grand scheme of things. If we as people were willing to read, and listen to someone’s full side of things, this phrase wouldn’t exist.
    I of course respect the opinion of the article, and this is simply my opinion on the matter.

  2. Are you not worried that your opinions will have a negative impact on your career as a games journalist?

    I’m surprised your voicing your opinions in such a xenophobic climate with such sectarian verbatim prevalent during and after the election. Though can’t say I’m not happy to hear your actual opinions rather than the usual sugar coated censored garbage. As an outsider to the USA I hope you can help tend to the pre existing wound of every negative ism under the sun that was let out by Trump and politicians like Farage in the UK.

    Will continue to follow this project.

    Good luck

  3. I must commend you the valid point you’ve raised that should be challenging for the more compassionate conservatives out there, and I can say definitely is for me personally, despite not voting for Trump.

    I would like to bring up one point, that if you’ve considered I’d like to hear your opinion and if not, then maybe it will help understand the other side more in turn. For a non-bigot Trump supporter to keep hearing/reading in the media that they’re a bigot, racist, sexist and for then to hear about the awful treatment of groups by other Trump supporters in such a way that often is just written as “Trump supporters committed a herendous act today…” I think they are in fact sorry and feel empathy, but also want to communicate the idea that not all Trump supporters are like that. They feel attacked themselves and they just want to defend their convictions, which is at the heart of all human beings. I believe it is conviction that got you to start this site even.

    That said, it is easy to claim that these people are not enduring anything as bad as these people groups are subject to, but that’s to minimize what they’re going through. I think it’s reasonable to simply react by defending one’s position if they feel it’s being attacked unfairly, i.e. lumping them in with the bigots.

    Hopefully that’s not too preachy, I expect you know most of it, but I didn’t read much of that position/perspective being addressed in your post, so I felt compelled to share my thoughts.

  4. First of all, congrats on the new project, Justin! I look forward to reading it going forward. Second, I have to take some issue with your points, but I hope you don’t take it personally.

    -I think Trump supporters (which I am definitely NOT one) are within their rights to defend themselves when they are blamed for the actions of others. For example when I see people sharing stories of terrible acts perpetrated by Trump supporters, the commentary is usually not neutral. There is an implication that all Trump supporters are responsible for the heinous acts of others, just as there has been an implication this entire race that Trump supporters are bigots, homophobes, and idiots. Yes your first reaction to hearing this should be “I’m sorry that’s awful” instead of “Not all Trump supporters”, but it also shouldn’t be “See how terrible Trump supporters are?”

    -I agree with your point about redirecting the conversation, but casting the blame at Trump supporters redirects the conversation first. Making the conversation about Trump in the first place redirects it away from the plight of the Muslim woman

    Its terrible that some Trump supporters act this way, but those of them who haven’t shouldn’t have to answer for their crimes anymore than an innocent Muslim should have to answer for the acts of radical extremists.

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