Editor’s note: This post is part of a summer-long series, The Sociology of Trump. Every Friday RI Future will feature an essay written by a Brown University sociology student on an aspect of Trumpism. Read the introduction: Culture, power, and social change in the time of Trump.
“Sociology can move our account of Trump by exploring the transformations of race in these times. Drawing on the racial formation theories of Omi and Winant, Don Riddle proposes that Trump’s idiolect reflects, and helps to change, conceptions of race in America. Inscribing within Black and Latinx communities forms of distinction, Trump diminishes racial solidarities with new hierarchies promising opportunity for some, and abiding marginalization for others.” – Michael Kennedy, professor of Sociology and International and Public Affairs, Brown University.
“[Mexicans] Are bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
The preceding are quotes from President elect Donald Trump. This is the rhetoric off of which he was working in the months leading up to the national election. Terse and racially charged, Trump’s idiolect has aided in creating a monumental ideological divide. The fifth election in US history in which the popular vote contradicted the electorate vote, the republican/democrat distinction in 2016 split the nation into coastal and central divisions. What many have taken to be racism, others have taken to be a regime of truth; there exist those who gave into Trump’s populist preaching, an ironic reach for the working class, while there are also those who found his platform to be essentially racist. One might think the gap to be a matter, quite literally, of black and white. That is, there seems to be a sentiment, at least amongst the (generally) leftist communities, that Trump advocates must be white while all people of color (POC) must be anti-Trump. However, it appears to be more a distinction of those who bought his demagoguery and those who didn’t. As both coastal regions are not comprised fully of POC, and central regions are not all primarily white, there are questions that beg asking. How did trump garner the support of those POC with his “racist” oratory? What distinctions were made between and within the Black and Latinx communities? How does this change or perpetuate the racial project of the United States? It are these inquiries that I wish to explore throughout the length of this essay. Drawing primarily on the works of Omi, Winant, Bonilla-Silva, and Marx, I will attempt to dissect and analyze what the sociology of Donald J. Trump might look like and what it means for the concept of race in America.
Exit Polls through a Racial Formation Perspective
Before dealing with the actual demographics of the Trump vote, it may be helpful to set up context for this past election. According to a CNN article that details “the decline of the white voter,” the proportion of non-Hispanic white voters has decreased by about 18% over the past 30 years. Whereas for Reagan, 56% of the white vote equated to a landslide victory, Trump’s 58% wasn’t even enough to clinch the popular vote. The reason for this is simple and its implications are resounding: since the Reagan era, the white share of the electorate has declined by a few percentage points each presidential year.
This decline suggests that the majority of the white vote is no longer a determining factor in a presidential victory, consequently lending power to voters of color; though small in comparison to the proportion of non-Hisapnic white votes, those 8% of Black voters and 29% of Latinx voters clinched by Trump can very well be viewed as those that secured him his seat within the oval office; yet it is this phenomenon that challenges what many individuals have taken to be logic. With Trump’s racially charged comments repeatedly gaining media attention and Black/Latinx voters preferring Clinton by a sizable margin, there seemed to be a belief that it would in fact be voters of color at the root of Trump’s failure. It is this prophesized “Trump Effect”- the POC vote rallying as a buffer against a Trump victory- that has admittedly failed and left many wondering why Black and Latinx folk would vote against their own best interests.
However, should one assess our current sociopolitical conditions, it may be such that Trump’s victory is logical while its unexpectedness is the contrary. After all, who is it that determines the best interests of any POC? Should it be assumed that all members of a certain race, at any given time, share the same objectives? There is no doubt that we are still in a civil rights era, fighting against the systemic injustices that determine our societal power relation in order to achieve a dominant sense of equality. Yet whereas in the 60s racialized attitudes may have inspired a sort of phyletic hegemony, one in which all black or brown skinned folks may have felt a surging sense of unity against a common oppressor, our current social model may be operating in a different manner entirely. Decades of naturalization and shifting political climates, the same processes which facilitated the waning of white voters, have worked together in the formation of a modernized racial conceptualization. Though our society does indeed continue to perpetuate and build upon stereotypes and prejudices, perhaps we should take Trump’s voters of color as a lens through which to view just how those influences are interacting to create our current, American concept of race.
It is important to begin by establishing a firm view of what race is, exactly. For this analysis, I employ race as it is defined by sociologists Michael Omi and Howard Winant in their Racial Formation in the United States (1984). The two developed what is known as racial formation theory which, unlike preceding views that qualified race as a static component of identity, explores “the process by which social, economic and political forces determine the content and importance of racial categories, and by which they are in turn shaped by racial meanings,” (12). In short, Omi and Winant study race as affected by society; it is a pervasive force which can find its meanings and representations via “the shaping of individual racial identities [and] the structuring of collective political action,” (14). Through both macro and micro level social relationships, our collective understanding of race is fluid, a constantly changing hierarchical organization which lends insight to the unique conditions under which a specific society might be operating. Then, under this given racial context, it is valuable to analyze the ways in which Trump, as well as the society under his presidency, are working to form our specific understandings of race.
Yet before that can be done, it proves valuable to first define and qualify our current racial project as it stood in the times leading up to Trump. A racial project can be thought of as an interpretation of racial dynamics through which individual societies, by means of their symbolic universe, make sense of existing social structures. In other words, it is the specific criteria that dictate our patterns of racial organization, often legitimating a distribution of resources along social lines. Then let us name this distribution so that we might better understand the implications of the changes taking place.
As we trace the history of race back to the first distinction of superiority, we will find at its inception the European (white) enslavement over Negroes (black). Garnering justification from biblical interpretations, this racialized social order globalized by way of westernization, intrinsically unifying any constructed hierarchy to the total dehumanization of black folks. This “grand theory” of anti-blackness is explored heavily by sociologists, theorists, and activists alike (Goldberg, Dumas, Baldwin, etc.), though it is more recently- and perhaps most powerfully- done by Ta-Nehisi Coates (2015). In his book Between the World and Me, Coates weaves together history, narrative, and theory in order to argue on an American racial climate, one that will always be buoyed by anti-blackness:
“No one would be brought to account for this destruction, because my death would not be the fault of any human but the fault of some unfortunate but immutable fact of ‘race,’ imposed upon an innocent country by the inscrutable judgment of invisible gods…Enslavement was not destined to end, and it is wrong to proclaim our present circumstance—no matter how improved—as the redemption for the lives of people who never asked for the posthumous, untouchable glory of dying for their children,” (76).
This organizational pattern is, for all intents and purposes, the general formulation of race; it is the epitome of categorical thought. Despite the forging of nuances, be they improvements or otherwise, racial hierarchy exists so long as black folk exist on the bottom and white folk on the top. Therefore, we must assess whether or not it is under these conditions, anti-blackness and hierarchy, that this new, Trumpian racial formation attempts to takes place, thereby assessing its significance as such.
A Black racial formation
Though in terms of proportion, Trump’s appeal to black voters was smaller, it is still valuable to consider the racial nuances which divided the community and set forth a differing formation. Before accommodating our own perceptions of Trump’s platform into a racialized schema, it proves valuable to first engage in the testimonies of those Black folk who voted for Trump, as their narrative offers genuine insight to the community’s relationship to the rhetorical appeals. Below I recount two depositions that I feel accurately capture those key sentiments of the Black community that have significant repercussions on a societal racial formation (though this may not generalize to the community as the whole, the medial popularization of these positions is suggestive of a sociopolitical force which necessarily affects our racial project.):
-“I find that a lot of people in the black community want to be victims—I think people want to use this as an excuse…I just think America is shifting away from its core values, the old ‘pull yourself up by the bootstraps’ mindset. We live in a culture of lazy people.”
-“Now listen, he gon’ put that wall up! He gon’ build that wall! And he gon’ build it tall! And it’s gon’ protect us all! We don’t want this country to fall, do we?! Build that wall, Donald J. Trump!”
In exploring the ways in which Trump’s economic policy won over certain Black voters, the first quote, pulled from an article published by International Business Times, comes in response to one very popularized inquiry mentioned by IBT: “What the hell do you have to lose?” Through exploitation of the crime and poverty associated to Black communities, Trump’s appeal works to create a moral divide: the good black and the bad black.
As is often thrown around with little contextual support, there does exist statistically inferred associations between crime rates, poverty levels, and the Black community. In ignoring the other factors which have inarguably contributed to this phenomenon, an essentialist magnification arises, simultaneously reflecting and legitimating a notion that Black folks are inherently predisposed to lawlessness. This in turn leads to a politically based moral distinction; so long as Black politics rally around a platform of respectability in order to harness some political force from the dominant institution, it will separate itself from the deviant behaviors which tarnish that very respectability. “What do you have to lose?” Certainly, there may be much to be lost in way of solidarity, though Trump veils these stakes through his fabrication of something to gain.
As a historically oppressed group, Trump’s Black supporters discover an opportunity of alleviation in social opposition under a looming political institution. As opposed to fighting the trolls of oppression, Trump instead provides a door, on the other side of which there is chance for slight social mobility. Whereas they might be Black, a sort of social prescription for systemic dehumanization, individuals now have an advantageous grasp at power, even if regulated by the still dominant group. That’s to say, should we consider a Foucauldian idealization of power, we see the concept existing in relation to knowledge and truth. Hence, we take the regime of truth, the base of which statements can or cannot be falsified, and integrate its understanding with that of Trump’s platform. Whereas we could once consider our racial project to contain “All Black people inferior to nonblack people” as a socially imposed regime of truth, Trump seems to be brandishing a stipulation. We see this new regime of truth as ‘Low-class intercity Black people are inferior to nonblack people (as well as those Black people who appear to fall into a respectable class.)’ In that respect, this regime interacts with both a social knowledge base and power, allowing certain individuals and institutions access to the latter so long as they “pull [themselves] up by the bootstraps” and develop a normative form of behavior that is derivative of Eurocentric values.
This behavior is inextricably rooted in ideas of social class, though through a neo-Marxian analysis, we can see it being operationalized by way of race. In his theory of social class, Marx posits that society is built upon economic facts, thereby rooting the causality of any changes or movements within society to said facts. This doctrine, reductive in its scope of social understanding, was later modified by the Weberian theory of socioeconomic status. While still acknowledging the weight of one’s economic capital, it acknowledges the inescapable bond between that and one’s social capital. It is the latter of these resources that are determined by the institutions which Marx initially overlooked, namely race. Nevertheless, in his exploration of society through systemic hierarchies, Marx provides profound theoretical contributions, one of which is the understanding of false consciousness.
Though the terminology was not established by Marx himself, he originated an ideology which was later expanded upon by twentieth-century social theorists. In its inception, the theory postulates the presence of methodical misinterpretation of the relation between dominant and subordinate social classes. In Marx’s capitalistic framework, this manifested itself by way of the inherent conflict of material interests between the dominant and substandard organizations. As a product, there materializes various social agents which work to distort or otherwise reorganize the socially formulated consciousness of the lesser group (Little).
With this principle, we see the significance of those organizational elements that can be considered social, contributing to a system that begs to be viewed under a paradigm of socioeconomic relation. Though coined by falsity and explicated as a sort of social delusion, the palpability of this phenomenon should not be underestimated. Race, too, is a fallacious construction, yet the bulk of this essays aims to recount its very real reverberations. Therefore, we must come to face these cognitive distortions, that common sensism which relies on the racialized meanings which simultaneously reflect and legitimate a more forceful and coercive hierarchical structure. This false consciousness then accounts for the systemic conflation of race and class. Though rooted in economic technicalities, the socially imposed relation establishes fundamental implications within a racial formation perspective, thus necessarily binding the ideologies of class and race. Whether we choose to accredit any sort of discrimination to the basis of class or race changes not the fact that society is fain to perceive and schematize racial symbols, even under an already existing structure based upon economic distinctness.
Thus, we take once more this divide in the Black community. Class herein exists as a distinct force in qualifying race. Though a different ideological concept, its consequences are so deeply afflictive toward race that it thereby becomes a necessary process in determining a racial project. There is, in effect, an internal Black reproduction of hierarchy which, through an induced synthesis of social meanings of race and class, serves to further define and typify a modern racial formation.
Yet it is not only through internal struggle that we see Trump’s appeal to public consciousness affecting the formation of race. The second quote, passionately posited by one black woman who vehemently voiced her support of the GOP candidate at one televised rally, exhibits a need for differentiation between Black and Latinx folk in the analysis of a prevailing racial project. Much in the same way that Trump’s pseudo-invitation into a dominant power relation by means of racialized class performance, we can see a more purely racial division grow between these two marginalized groups.
False consciousness, though established as the fabrication of a confounding factor which distracts from a prevailing sense of organization, I would like to argue may also assert itself as the restructuring of factors within the prevailing organization. Specifically, Trump perpetuates a political scheme which allows Blacks not just to claim social respectability by appropriating high class values, but also by exploiting the negative attitudes toward Latinx folks. Though the specific implications of a new socialized Latinx position will be further explored in the proceeding section, simply consider the translation of observation. Whereas class based distinctions can have heavy consequences on racial formation, it should be easy to understand the ways in racial distinctions can affect race. The opportunity for Black power comes not only from avoidance of “ghetto” but also in the further disempowerment of Latinx folks. In this way, Trump’s racial appeals work to turn Black against Latinx in addition to Black against Black.
Beyond the practical power struggle, we can find significance even in the exit poll data themselves. As the Black community made up only 1% more of the popular electorate than Latinx folks, their respective proportion of Trump supporters can numerically transfer in near parallel. Thus, there is a statistically significant difference of communal Trump approval; his dogmatic appeals seemed to resonate more fully within the Latinx community than they did in the Black. This distinction, I believe, is further indicative of this conceptualization of anti-black hierarchical organization. Though the disparity in attitude between the Black and Latinx demographic by no means proves the theory, it offers much in way of support it. As the quintessence of racial formation, the location of Black at the categorical bottom necessitates a certain viscidity, a resistance to malleability. So far as Black operates as the polar to white, there shall be even less chance of mobility. Accordingly, racial divergence loses significance; fewer people are able to develop a consciousness which can rectify blackness through assimilation of class or status, thus less Black folk are able to acknowledge the variance in intraracial meanings proffered by Trump.
A Latinx racial formation
Before attempting to grasp the sociological significance of the Latinx community in its position with the Trump administration, there is a distinction to make in my choice of including Latinx as a racial category for the following analysis. Technically the pan-Latin identity exists as an ethnic category, comprised of a range of individuals hailing from unique backgrounds and cultures. Therefore, Latinx cannot be considered a race, as there is a separation of biology and culture. However, much how we considered an integration of class theory into our racial schema, we again synthesize this concept of ethnicity by understanding it as a product of how biology and culture interact.
Race is simply a social agreement, a mass of individuals sharing a collective meaning to those things which may in fact be biologically produced. This makes the very concept both unstable and de-centered; as an idea constantly being transformed by the bartering of social and political conflict, individuals are able to challenge the definition and implications of race (Omi, Winant 15). Thus, due to the lack of any intrinsic meaning in its ideology, race is often employed in a way which also captures ethnicity. As sociologist Jaqueline Crosse explains in her dissertation, the term Latinx has “slowly become an umbrella term for the racial and ethnic identities of people from over 20 different countries and cultural backgrounds. The amalgamation of these varying cultures and communities into a singular racial categorization results in a reductive framework.” Expressly, there is no denying the ethnic distinctions between those cultures which make up a pan-Latin identity, yet it has been deeply socially constructed so that the shared meaning of “Latinx” holds as much power as those of more “legitimate” racial categories (Black and Asian).
We can then analyze the relationship of the Latinx communities and Trump’s rhetorical platform in order to assess its possible repercussions over the formation our modern racial project. Operating under the paradigms of racial formation theory, we will consider Trump as both a social and political force. While before the election Trump’s platform existed as a sort of meso-level force that acted between national ideology and individual discourse, his subsequent victory and legislative pushes grew to the macro-level, suggesting the formation of a new Latinx racial theory. Thereby we must firstly consider the nuances of Trump’s tenet and the value of the racial meanings it proposes, consequently analyzing its effects on racial categorization and identification.
In one of many articles published within the Latino Voices section of the Huffington Post, editor Carolina Moreno offers “9 Outrageous Things Donald Trump Has Said About Latinos.” Below I have included a few of the given statements, including the one which opened this piece, in an attempt to qualify their significance of both interaction with and reflection of racial structure.
-“Sadly, the overwhelming amount of violent crime in our major cities is committed by blacks and hispanics-a tough subject-must be discussed.”
–“When Mexico sends its people over, they’re not sending the best… They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
–“The Mexican government is much smarter, much sharper, much more cunning. And they send the bad ones over because they don’t want to pay for them. They don’t want to take care of them.”
–“Jeb Bush is crazy, who cares that he speaks Mexican, this is America, English !!”
The breadth of these statements captures well the core of Trump’s ideology, allowing for the recognition of distinct, racial patterns. Particularly, there are two common discernments that are implied through Trump’s soapbox: naturalization and class. As for those Trump supporters who so often defend their president elect, there may in fact be some (misguided) merit to their contestation that Trump is not racist, but rather “protectionist.” Albeit there is no doubt that Trump’s platform is both offensive and harmful toward the Latinx community as a whole, his words seek specific targets within the community, drawing a thick line between those he means to desecrate and those to whom it might happen “accidentally.”
As for the first quote, its inclusion is meant to both reiterate and draw connections from the points posited in the preceding section on Black racial formation. The manner in which this morally based class division manifests itself within the Black community is analogous to that of the Latinx community. The caveat of the reflection rests in that this contrast operates not singularly, but alongside the second of the two discernments. To wit, class operates as a divisive agent to the same extent as the consciousness involving naturalization.
Note that Trump’s rhetoric is specific, usually framed to include Mexico and, more acutely, those immigrants (illegal or otherwise) to whom it exists as birthplace. This is seen most clearly through the two proceeding quotes, wherein Trump makes a clear demarcation that it is only the contemporary immigrant population which presents problem to American ideology. There is then room for a possible hierarchical division, should society assimilate this new meaning into their own racial schemas. Whereas a previously considered hierarchy may include Latinx as an individual conglomerate, dominated by the white racial category, Trump’s ascendance to national haranger brought possibility of refinement. A new racial line is being faintly painted within the community, distinguishing immigrant from native.
Again, this discernment is easy to conflate with ethnicity as the processes draw heavily from the establishment of ethnic background, namely Mexican. However, this base of discrimination is essentially rooted in the social organization of race, as its implications and consequences extend beyond ethnic boundaries. Though it’s conceptualization may root itself in prejudice toward Mexico, our tools for hierarchical differentiation work on a much more tangible level than one’s background. In other words, there needs to be a way to operationalize prejudice in the social world. Thus, much as one does for the analysis of race as a general concept, the actualizing of discrimination occurs through visual and auditory cues; skin color discerns black from white, but in what ways does one produce and perceive degrees of Americanization. One possible tool is made evident by the third of the above statements. In a snub at Jeb Bush’s immigrant wife, Trump employs language as a mode of oppression. There becomes a value placed on those Latinx folks who speak English, thereupon devaluing the members of the Latinx community who either can’t speak English or do so with little fluency. Should one need help of placing a Latinx person of color into the correct portion of Trump’s hierarchy, they need not do much more than listen to that person speak. In effect, whether that same individual hails from Mexico or Uruguay, they still run the risk of demonization should they lack in naturalization.
We can see this theory manifested through the Latinx folks who cast a GOP vote during the election, while we can see it legitimated through the legislation, successful and otherwise, pressed forward by Trump’s administration. In a photo essay released by BuzzFeed News, editor Gabriel H. Sanchez interviewed 15 members of the Latinx community who voiced support for Trump. While the testimonies of ethnic affiliation differed from person to person, there was one clear message that is summarized forthrightly by interviewee Francisco Rivera: “This is my country. This is my home.” An intense devotion to America is what united these 15 individuals, as well as the many others who have openly embraced Trump. Even for the first and second generation supporters, there seems to be a breastplate of nationalism that is admonished by Latinx folks who wish to separate themselves from those who Trump condemns. We can then regard these voters as the precipice of a changing Latinx racial formation, as any line Trump drew would be insignificant lest there are those who wish to honor it; those 29% of Latinx identifying folks found power not through their own racial hegemony, but in its own transference through a shifting racial hierarchy.
Thus from there, we shall utilize a Weberian understanding of power to explore how this interracial division gained legitimacy. The victory itself, in many ways, legitimated the racial meanings which composed Trump’s platform. Though many of his voters claim that they do not endorse his brand of bigotry, there is no denying that Trump’s victory was not also a victory of his rhetoric. Regardless of individualistic views, the regime of knowledge and truth which Trump’s ideology perpetuated was accepted (or not abhorred enough to be rejected) by society. So as Commander in Chief, generally one of the most socially legitimated positions, his knowledge and truth find new ways of interacting with power, simultaneously changing and reflecting our racial climate.
This system is perpetuated further by his subsequent legislation. Trump’s city executive order, which gives all law enforcement officials the rights granted to ICE officers under the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. A.C.T., serves to thicken the division within the Latinx community, reinforcing the inferiority of immigrant members. Even his much infamous wall, though eventually abandoned, asserts much about the status of specific Latinx folks.
So in Trump’s inauguration, the seed of racial agitation which he implanted into the Latinx community through his rhetorical platform was able to sprout. His proposed racial project, currently a macro-political force, might be named as such: A supplementary race line which, extended by the ideology of the dominant Caucasian, is growing to include Latinx folks within minor relations of power, wherein that power can only manifest in its oppression over other Latinx folks, such that the dominant individual be native born, well naturalized, fluent in English, nationalist in orientation, and otherwise fully Americanized. Then once more, akin to those processes which changed the racial project as it relates to the Black community, Trump also offers to the Latinx community an extensive list to aid in one’s perceptions of racialized meanings. These meanings in turn reproduce hierarchy, creating a schism within the Latinx community. The illusory offer of power, or more deeply the shedding of some oppressive force, disposes one to the desiring of the dominant position. We can again envision that pictorial door verb that offers precarious, if not nominal, status elevation. And though just under 30% of Latinx voters chose to walk through (there are undoubtedly numbers of Latinx nonvoters to whom this applies as well), the proportion may climb alongside Trump’s tenure.
Race’s formation is as much political as it is social, the two notions necessarily bound in reciprocity, and in many ways Trump is the front man of political force. Regardless of the checks and balances which may restrict his actual power, his ideals find a sort of validation simply in his nominal position. Over time, those ideals have the possibility of cementing themselves to solidify and perpetuate this complex, multi-caste racial formation.
By exploiting this conceit, we find the sociological foundations motivating the racial formations within and between the Black and Latinx community under Trump’s rhetorical reign. The class distinctions in both communities are the most obvious exemplars of Marxian theory, as the processes which facilitate these formations nearly mirror the early understanding of false consciousness. Yet we can come to understand the second acumen of our proposed Latinx racial project through this same lens. Naturalization is as much an agent of systemic misinterpretation; while subduing the awareness of the larger, effectual racial hierarchy, this basis of categorization emphasizes a different, less substantial social fabrication by which to determine societal position.
Interestingly, this new racial schema sits both comfortably and uneasily with the much-professed notion of “post-racialism.” Whereas in the racial formations under Trump, this opportunity of status mobility afforded to racial minorities might suggest a movement toward independence from the biological components which are so often used in the formation of race, the hierarchical reproductions also serve to validate the mechanisms of racial categorization. Yet to give in too much to the significance of the former process, that which satisfies the fantasy of post-racialism, is to deny the institution of race outright.
Despite its sociohistorical progressions, characterized by the development of complex nuances and ambiguities, race still functions as a central determinant of social organization. That is, the mobility incurred through the broadening of race still requires that concept of race for its own existence. This paradoxical “color-blind” racism, a system that perpetuates race so deeply as to erase the consciousness of the very idea, is the euphemistic trip of white supremacy.
Let us return to the earlier elaboration of anti-blackness as the more diffuse formula for ascribing racialized meanings. It is under these conditions that we have come to understand and subsequently assess the consequences of this new reformation of racial theory; one in which the impacts of racial division are so omnipresent as to impede a collective social conscious from meaningfully perceiving their materiality.
Without denying the effort and awareness of social justice allies and advocates, we must still appraise the full scope of racial truths, those whose consequences linger even deeper than our own cognition. Should we succumb to the delusory comfort offered by post-racialism, we fate ourselves to an inevitable cementation of this general, anti-black, euro-centric structure; as for there to be a project which reproduces divisional organization, there must first be some degree of cemented legitimacy within the initial structure which allows for this process. It is this phenomenon that I am choosing to call “neo-racialism.”
As I propose it to be imminent in the times of Trump, it denies not the dangers of post-racial thinking, but rather explicitly addresses their manifestations. A new formational system, there indeed exists the possibility for society not to be post-racial, but rather past racial. To a deeper degree, we face a push beyond the surface of the racial schema that asserts a hierarchy mapped by way of a scale from white to black. Instead we enter the bowels of race, starting anew the production of status groups within a racial sphere; this is neo-racialism.
And yet though the processes so far inspected serve as ideological foundations for this proposed racial formation under Trump, their general operationalization is not entirely novel. False consciousness is, after all, a Marxian principle that found its origins with social class theory in the early to mid 19th century. Nationalistic xenophobia is certainly as old as America itself. However, though toxic as the systems are, they were historically inconspicuous, only bubbling to the surface of social consciousness in the late 20th century through conceptualizations such as intersectionality, microagressions, etc. It took the swollen idiolect of Donald Trump, a demagogic revolutionary, to exploit those subtleties, making more influential as well as more volatile these schemas of racial categorization.
Yet some might still find the value of these constructions to be insignificant, an amalgam of theoretical propositions with little practical worth. So it is for the last time that I will pull from Omi and Winant to emphasize the significance, both in theory and practice, of a Trumpian credo penetrating and thereon determining our racial project: “The continuing persistence of racial ideology suggests that these racial myths and stereotypes cannot be exposed as such in the popular imagination. They are, we think, too essential, too integral, to the maintenance of the US social order,” (15).
The very institution of race, though often times unsettled, exhausted, or contested, exists as a core organizational pillar for society. Whether a biological instinct, a misguided impulse, or even a psychological phenomenon, human beings demonstrate a peculiar bureaucratic propensity; that is, we are inclined to hierarchical social-structures. Race, though ever changing in its repercussions, has long existed as the root of this structure. From the bottom up, race permeates through nearly every interaction, from micro to macro, from our first breath, the beginning of our socialization. Imbued with a consciousness that would fail to make sense of society without race, it actualizes itself in even the most minute of thoughts.
Take then a change in racial formation, be it the size of a pebble; that pebble exists not as its own unitary force, but rather a push, much like its own falling into a lake, that’s ripples travel as deep as they far. So perhaps it is more dangerous now than ever before to submit to the lures of an imposed false consciousness. With a racial project that simultaneously dismantles cultural identity yet emphasizes still values of racial distinctness, POC will only absorb the toxicity of hierarchical organization into their own racial categories, legitimizing their own oppression under Eurocentric ideology and thus failing to subvert it.
Another key interaction dignified by Omi and Winant was that which occurs between individual and structure; when considering the micro and macro levels of any given society, the former has the ability to organize in response to the latter, creating a racial social movement aimed toward justice. It is only through active resistance against both system and consciousness, a tireless barter as to the actuality of racial meanings, that we can avoid the impending path(s) set forth by Trump and his neo-racial dogma.
 POC is a term which usually includes all individuals who do not identify as white, though the specific groups of interest throughout the essay are limited to Black and Latinx folks.
 Latinx is a gender neutral generalization for an individual of Pan-Latin identification
 In a statistical, two proportion z test, in which it is null hypothesized that there is no difference in proportion of Trump supporters between the Black and Latinx voting communities, we obtain a p-value that is essentially 0.0 (4.2e-11), suggesting that there is in fact a significant difference between the two such that Blacks have a generally less supportive view (as calculated through exit poll statistics)