When Did “White” Become an All-Purpose Insult?
One reason Donald Trump won the election is the increasingly gratuitous usage among white elites of the word “white” as an insult. For example, in the New York Times today, Jennifer Senior approvingly quotes Hillary Clinton’s new book:
By JENNIFER SENIOR SEPT. 12, 2017
… “[Trump] doesn’t just like Putin,” she writes. “He seems to want to be like Putin, a white authoritarian leader who could put down dissenters, repress minorities, disenfranchise voters, weaken the press, and amass untold billions for himself.”
Why exactly did Hillary insert “white” before “authoritarian” in that sentence? Apparently, Hillary perceives “white authoritarian” to be a worse insult than just plain “authoritarian.”
I guess these days “white” is understood to be a negative intensifier, meaning “very bad.” In the past, readers would have understood “authoritarian” to be bad, but “white” to be neutral. So until recently “white authoritarian” would have been confusing. But now, Hillary’s audience knows that “white” makes “authoritarian” worse, much worse.
In the future, instead of accusing Trump of being a “white authoritarian,” Hillary will accuse the President of being an “authoritarian white.” And, then, he’ll just be accused of being “white,” enough said.
But is it any surprise then that not enough white people voted for Hillary to make her President?