14 Trump Voters Have Gazillion Terrible Things To Say About George Floyd
The New York Times can't stop plumbing the depths of people who willingly voted for Donald Trump. The Times apparently finds their shallow, wading pool of bigotry endlessly fascinating.
This is the crap the paper of Robin Thicke records chose to run. Yes, it's real. No really.
Oh, for fuck's sakeThe New York Times
Deputy Opinion Page Editor Patrick Healy, a white man, had an extensive conversation with 14 people, most of them white, about the death of a Black man they don't care about. What's the supposed news value here? Black people aren't stupid. We already know Trump voters are racists, to some degree or another. We don't need another New York Times expose into their racism. That's space better used for more crossword puzzles or overpriced real estate listings.
Now, our friendly neighborhood white moderates will defend their friends and relatives and say, “C'mon, 74 million people can't all be racists! Maybe they voted for Trump for perfectly non-racist reasons, like ... uh ... the estate tax!" Well, sit back and behold the grossness.
As part of the relevant coverage surrounding tomorrow's anniversary of Floyd's murder, Healy thought he'd contribute irrelevant coverage, like when someone brings kale salad to a Black church potluck.
I wanted to see if some conservative voters had shifted their thinking on Mr. Floyd and the continuing racial justice movement ...
The article's a complete waste of your time, so I don't feel bad spoiling the ending here: Floyd's murder didn't change the Trump voters' repulsive views. Nothing will. Healy must've watched too much "West Wing" in his youth. Marvel movies provide a better foundation for covering conservative politics. You wouldn't bother asking Thanos a year after he wiped out half the universe's population if his thinking had shifted. Admittedly, that's not a fair comparison because Thanos is a relatively complex character.
As is customary in focus groups, my role was not to argue with or fact-check the speakers.
Wonderful. A celebrity interview on "The Late Late Show with James Corden" is more hard hitting.
Republican strategist Frank Luntz led the focus group with the 14 Trump voters, who were encouraged to "speak candidly." Although the Times prefers the euphemism “false claims," in reality, several of the focus group members straight-up lied. They lied about the results of the 2020 election, which wasn't stolen. They lied when they claimed Black Lives Matter is a violent hate group run by Marxists. They probably also lied if they said they knew what “Marxist" means.
Luntz wondered why the Trump voters could so easily respond to his questions about the one-term loser's election lies but struggled to come up with one word or phrase to describe George Floyd. Alex from Florida said this was because "[Trump's] much less of a controversial figure than George Floyd was."
Thirteen members of the focus group believed Floyd was responsible for his own death, even though Floyd wasn't a contortionist and couldn't physically press his knee into his own neck. They believed that allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 and "resisting" arrest while handcuffed were somehow capital offenses. Luntz didn't appear to ask the group their thoughts about the MAGA mob insurrection, which would've likely provided a telling contrast to their “law and order" stance.
Luntz asked the group why they thought Black people are so afraid of the police, and the responses didn't just lack empathy. They were utterly predictable. We heard this all before in the 1980s and 1990s when the “agitators" were Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton.
Ann, a former New York City police officer who now lives in South Carolina, dropped tired talking points about outside groups “stirring up trouble," because it takes a Marxist village to raise concerns when Black people are killed during routine encounters with the police. This rhetoric dates back to the conservative opposition to the Civil Rights Movement.
ANN: And it's all about the Benjamins. It's about the media selling their news stories and their papers. And it's about the agitators collecting more money in their bank account. And if you take that out of the equation, we would have far less problems.
No one really gets rich from protesting police violence, and the cops could always put the supposed “agitators" out of business if they could just stop killing Black people.
Ann insists that cops "don't put our uniforms on every day thinking, 'Hey, I'm going to go beat up a Black guy' or 'I'm going to shoot a Black guy.' No, that's not what we do." That's not how systemic racism or implicit bias works, though it wouldn't surprise me if some cops were that straightforward in their contempt for Black people.
After the 2020 election, I've spoken with white theatre artists who think we should provide a platform for Trump supporters. They're almost half the country, right? Maybe we need to tell “their" stories, as well. I want to just send them the following passage and say: “OK, fine, dramatize this!"
EVELYN: My first marriage was — I was married to a Black man. So my daughter is mixed. And we discuss these things quite often because she's kind of torn between being white — and I shouldn't say "torn between." But I know it's probably put her in a difficult position to be raised by me, but yet she's got darker skin.
Nancy is a 38-year-old Trump supporter who's terrified of bringing children into this world because “we're so divided." Another focus group member, Martha, is more optimistic: She thinks a “new leader would come out of all this," but I doubt she imagines the next Martin Luther King, Jr. The focus group laments the nation's division, yet they had their choice of two old white guys and picked the one who was objectively more divisive. But Trump voters don't exist in the same material world as everyone else. They see what they want to see, and they will never change.
Thanks, New York Times, that was terrible.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."