Veera Korhonen

discovering rhetoric

The Decline of White Privilege Leads to the Shame of a Trump Presidency

In Toni Morrison’s article, “Mourning for Whiteness”, she stakes a claim that white Americans are still striving for white privilege, proven by the election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States. Morrison mocks the American citizens, the majority of whom were white, that voted for Trump, and argues that skin color must still be the main, unifying force in America, a country built on slave laws and founded on the presumptions of white supremacy. Sarcastically, she quips that “people of color are everywhere” (Morrison,2016), out to threaten white people and their need to feel superior. In order to fully acknowledge the absurdity of white superiority, Morrison unleashes her biting sarcasm on white Americans, whether they are properly educated or not, who voted for Donald Trump as an obvious attempt to hold on to their privilege.

White Americans not only managed to vote for the one presidential candidate that essentially excudes racism and sexism, they’re also succumbing themselves to “demonstrations of weakness”. Morrison’s violent examples of white Americans sacrificing themselves include killing churchgoers who invite a white boy to pray, setting fire to churches while members are at prayer, and even shooting black children in the street (Morrison, 2016).

These white extremists, supposedly meant to be frightening, are radically decreasing their own human dignity by wearing idiotic cone-shaped hats, or hiding behind guns to threaten those who haven’t done anything wrong. Going to these extremes just in order to hold the conviction of their superiority is ultimately just depressing.

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(Ku Klux Klan endorsed Trump)

Losing a preferred status over fellow citizens has forced white America to subject to Donald Trump, whose policies “support and translate violence against the defenseless as strength” (Morrison, 2016), who is endorsed by white supremacists himself, and has turned our country into a complete joke. From electing the first black president of the United States to electing a man whose company was sued for refusing to rent apartments to black people, the man who didn’t believe President Obama was born in the U.S., and the man who appeared to support the beating of a Black Lives Matter protester (Morrison, 2016), our country is taking massive steps backward.

The issue with our country is that white Americans aren’t able to let go of their white superiority. Morrison proves this with a quote by William Faulkner, “Incest is less of a taboo for an upper-class Southern family than acknowledging one drop of black blood that could clearly soil the family line. Rather than lose its “whiteness”, the family chooses murder” (Morrison 2016), a heavy quote that establishes the racist ties that America was built on.  If we aren’t able to accept and properly enact equal rights, our country will continue to keep spiraling down this joke of a government. In order for America to resist the worst of Donald Trump’s presidency, our country needs to work together, and that can’t happen if white privilege is still what the majority of America is fighting for.   

Works Cited

Morrison, Toni. “Mourning for Whiteness.” The New Yorker, 21 Nov. 2016

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