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The Aftermath Of Charlottesville: Can Trump Take Control Of Racial Divides?

By an Editorial Contributor

Wednesday, August 16, 2017.

No matter your views on Trump, it’s hard to deny that his election has started a hate rhetoric that’s worrying for minority groups everywhere. What’s worse than Trump himself is the freedom for hatred he has given the people of America. The tragic events in Charlottesville over the weekend are, in many ways, a crescendo that’s been building for a while. As anti-racism protesters protected their rights at a white nationalist rally, brawls broke out, and a car ploughed into the group.

In some ways, an event like this was Trump’s chance to stand up and prove that he has no racist leanings. He could have spoken out against the shocking violence. But, in a disappointing and frankly confusing first statement, he said only that the violence came from “many sides”. Given that the events he’s talking about resulted in one death and 19 injuries, the statement seems insensitive at best.

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There’s no denying that, even with President Obama in office, racial equality in the U.S. was a long way off. Tensions have been rising for a long time. Mainly, these issues are sparked by high profile police killings of many young black people over the years. But, Obama at least went some way towards dispelling divides. Nothing can overshadow the huge step America took in voting a black president.

Yet, the fallout couldn’t be worse. By undoing many of the things Obama worked hard for, there’s a worry that Trump is undoing the racial steps our country took. For example, Obama has elected a black U.S. attorney general for the past eight years. In his last nomination, he went further be appointing a black woman. Yet, Trump elected Jeff Sessions, and the move was supported by senators such as Mike Crapo, and many others. Of course, it’s too soon to see the results of this step. But, the breaking of a tradition promoting equality is enough to cause concern. Trump also appointed Steve Bannon, an openly racist individual, as his chief strategist and senior counsellor.

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And, the events in Charlottesville have only highlighted the problems. There’s no denying what the primary source of violence was over the weekend, and it’s hard to see where Trump is coming from on the matter. He’s even gone as far as to deny the car attack was an act of terrorism. Yet, to weather the backlash of his reaction, Trump said during a press conference, ‘hate and division must stop.’. He also spoke about how racial tension was strong in America before his presidency.

No one can deny the truth of that statement. But, Trump still failed to place the blame for events on white nationalists. Can he really expect divisions to stop if he doesn’t put a name to them? While some aspects of his speech sounded promising, it’s hard to see how he can overcome such divides without facing up to them. Worse, there’s the ever present risk that this lack of blame is giving the green light for future hatred.

The Aftermath Of Charlottesville: Can Trump Take Control Of Racial Divides?

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