I posted this on my personal facebook page earlier today, but as facebook is a bubble, I want it to get a wider audience. Also because facebook doesn’t allow links or citations, and as a physician and a scholar, I live for links and citations. This is the one and only time I’m going to mention politics on this blog. Discussion is welcome; rudeness is not.
So, I’ve been reading a lot lately about how poor little Trump voters are feeling harassed because everyone assumes they are racist and misogynists. I’ve been reading a lot about how the liberals and the women and the minorities need to stop being so condescending, to reach across the divide, to forgive these people for voting Trump. Because we’ve hurt their feelings by calling them names, and it’s up to us to apologize.
First of all, I’m sure people who voted for Trump don’t think of themselves as racist or misogynist. Very few people do, outside of the KKK and Steve Bannon (*cough*). But there have been a lot of studies looking at implicit bias and unconscious racism, both in HR decisions (which resume to pick up) and, hitting closer to home, in medical decision-making (undertreating pain). Unconscious racism is very much a thing, a pervasive, pernicious thing. Similarly, unconscious sexism or internalized misogyny; check out the Heidi-Howard story, for instance. I can quote this stuff to you all day long, because I have been guilty of this shit myself, have educated myself about it, and I am trying every. Single. Day to be aware of it and to do better.
But to the bigger point, that calling out someone’s unconscious bias, holding someone accountable for what they’ve condoned, is somehow worse than the bias itself.
Let’s remind ourselves that Trump’s views were never secret. At every one of his rallies and at every one of his debates, he made it clear that his was a campaign fired by stereotype and hatred — of women, of disabled people, of POWs, of Muslims, of Mexicans, of African Americans. (Remember that time he saw a black man at the town hall debate and immediately chanted “inner cities” about 25 times?)
Trump voters, you gave two thumbs up to a man who promised to recreate the Berlin Wall. You said sure no prob to calls for Muslim registries. You condoned talk of repealing marriage equality; you were fine with a return to the illegal abortion era when hundreds of thousands of women died of butchery. You were so short-sighted about your health insurance premium that you sold the country to a man who wants to dismantle the only protection you had against skyrocketing medical bills, not to mention flat-out denying coverage to your friends and neighbors who might have had a stroke, or multiple sclerosis, or any one of a number of “pre-existing conditions.” Perhaps most disturbingly, you voted into highest office a man who has called women pigs, who has felt up his own child, who has gloated about sexual assault, who has been accused of rape by a dozen women, one of whom was 13 years old at the time. If none of that was enough to make you vote for anyone else — Hillary, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Egg McMuffin, a god-damned yellow dog — you ARE racist and misogynist.
So Trump voters, I am sorry that your feelings have been hurt. I hope that at least some of you will participate in some good old-fashioned consciousness raising to learn some empathy for those who have been and will be directly harmed by your racist, sexist, selfish decision.
But I will NOT apologize for calling out hatred, and the effects of hatred, when I see it. And if that’s condescension, I’m the Queen of England.