“Confront your inner Trump.” If you haven’t heard, Professor Kwame Zulu Shabazz said this at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Convocation, not long after expressing surprise that the administration invited him to speak again.
This is essential advice. If you’re like me, when Brother Shabazz said “your inner Trump,” you got a very specific feeling. The phrase reminded you of something you once heard, read or thought. Here, I’m going to list some things I’ve heard that come to mind when I think of “the inner Trump.”
The inner Trump says things like:
“That’s just what we stand for here. If they don’t like it they should go back where they came from.”
“They’re just ignorant. I think you have to be patient with people from places like that, kind of uncivilized or without a lot of culture. We know better, so it’s our job to educate them.”
“They’re animals. We’ve shown them too much compassion already and look what happened [to society]. They’re animals and I refuse to accept them.”
Could you imagine hearing these statements from Trump? From the Trump that lives in our neighbors, from the Trump that apparently lives in half the nation?
Common themes emerge. These statements are divisive, demeaning and prejudiced and they deny the problems of the “other”.
I supplemented my personal experience with a quick Google search and also found these quotes from the Inner Trump:
“If you don’t like America you can leave.” – from a popular meme. This inner Trump invaded my social media circle.
“Take up the White Man’s Burden . . . These ‘newly-caught peoples’ are immoral and childish. Temper your terror and hold back your pride. Remember, use small words to help these others.”
– Paraphrase of the second stanza of “‘The White Man’s Burden’ Summary” from gradesaver.com and referencing Rudyard Kipling’s poem published in 1899. The inner Trump was alive long before the literal Trump.
“The Hebrew term for dog is used for a male prostitute, sodomite or homosexual . . . If our nation is to survive, we must stand firm on the Word of God and refuse to accept homosexuality as a legitimate, acceptable lifestyle.”
– Cherreguine Bible Doctrine Ministries. I did not want to include a quote like this from my own religion, but my own religion values truth. Behold the “biblical” inner Trump.
Why did I attribute inner Trump’s quotes in the second set, but not in the first set?
Libel. And hopefully having some friends left on Friday.
Every quote in the first set came from a Knox student. They spoke about conservative Knox students, people from Galesburg and Trump voters respectively. I heard all these quotes directly. They represent the wording of the speaker to the best of my memory and aren’t exact, but the ideas are there.
I didn’t send these quotes to the paper to invalidate the pain of anyone who feels threatened or unsafe by Trump’s presidency and the election that led him there. I believe that all pain matters. For the same reason that it is important to be politically aware of what policies and cultural standards cause pain to marginalized groups, it is important to be aware of the individuals around us.
These words are etched into my brain: “They’re animals and I refuse to accept them.”
This is an intro column to what will be a five-part series on “the inner Trump.” Brother Shabazz is right in saying that every white person needs to look in the mirror and confront their inner Trump. Right now, I just want to assert that whoever you are and whatever color your skin is, the phrase “confront your inner Trump” matters to you.
In the following columns I will discuss psychological, sociological and spiritual perspectives on the inner Trump. Psychologically, everyone has an inner Trump. Sociologically, some people’s inner Trumps have more power than others. And spiritually, regardless of how important it is to society that we confront our inner Trump, it is always crucial to the individual. Finally, I’ll argue why you should change, even though you shouldn’t have to.
Everyone has an inner Trump.
I might have just made you uncomfortable. I know that because I just made myself uncomfortable by writing this. I believe, however, that when we work through the issues of division, fear and anger in this discourse section, we will grow better equipped to face the same pressing problems in the nation and the world.