Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Powerful, Eloquent Essay: Donald Trump Is the First White President

The foundation of Donald Trump’s presidency is the negation of Barack Obama’s legacy
Opinion • Views: 33,464

If you read one long-form essay today, or this month, or this year, make it this stunner by Ta-Nehisi Coates: Donald Trump Is the First White President.

SoundCloud

To Trump, whiteness is neither notional nor symbolic but is the very core of his power. In this, Trump is not singular. But whereas his forebears carried whiteness like an ancestral talisman, Trump cracked the glowing amulet open, releasing its eldritch energies. The repercussions are striking: Trump is the first president to have served in no public capacity before ascending to his perch. But more telling, Trump is also the first president to have publicly affirmed that his daughter is a “piece of ass.” The mind seizes trying to imagine a black man extolling the virtues of sexual assault on tape (“When you’re a star, they let you do it”), fending off multiple accusations of such assaults, immersed in multiple lawsuits for allegedly fraudulent business dealings, exhorting his followers to violence, and then strolling into the White House. But that is the point of white supremacy—to ensure that that which all others achieve with maximal effort, white people (particularly white men) achieve with minimal qualification. Barack Obama delivered to black people the hoary message that if they work twice as hard as white people, anything is possible. But Trump’s counter is persuasive: Work half as hard as black people, and even more is possible.

For Trump, it almost seems that the fact of Obama, the fact of a black president, insulted him personally. The insult intensified when Obama and Seth Meyers publicly humiliated him at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2011. But the bloody heirloom ensures the last laugh. Replacing Obama is not enough—Trump has made the negation of Obama’s legacy the foundation of his own. And this too is whiteness. “Race is an idea, not a fact,” the historian Nell Irvin Painter has written, and essential to the construct of a “white race” is the idea of not being a nigger. Before Barack Obama, niggers could be manufactured out of Sister Souljahs, Willie Hortons, and Dusky Sallys. But Donald Trump arrived in the wake of something more potent—an entire nigger presidency with nigger health care, nigger climate accords, and nigger justice reform, all of which could be targeted for destruction or redemption, thus reifying the idea of being white. Trump truly is something new—the first president whose entire political existence hinges on the fact of a black president. And so it will not suffice to say that Trump is a white man like all the others who rose to become president. He must be called by his rightful honorific—America’s first white president.

Jump to top

Create a PageThis is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.
Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.
Last updated: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST
LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds Tweet

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!Register and sign in to a free LGF account before subscribing, and your ad-free access will be automatically enabled.

Donate with
PayPal
Square Cash Shop at amazon
as an LGF Associate!
Recent PagesClick to refresh
James Bay - Pink Lemonade Pink Lemonade (Official Video)Song Available on the new album Electric Light (Pre-Order Today)jamesbay.lnk.to Connect With James Bay:jamesbay.com facebook.com instagram.com SoundCloud @JamesBayMusic Directed by Phil AndelmanProduced by Thalia MurrayEdited by Barney MillerFor Happy Street Entertainment “Pink Lemonade” Lyrics:Don’t fall into ...
Thanos
4 hours, 15 minutes ago
Views: 69 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Death Cab for Cutie - ‘I Dreamt We Spoke Again’ (Lyric Video) Official lyric video for Death Cab for Cutie "I Dreamt We Spoke Again". ‘Thank You for Today’ the new album from Death Cab for Cutie is out August 17th, 2018. lnk.to Live Dates: deathcabforcutie.comExclusive merchandise: smarturl.itSubscribe for more content: ...
Thanos
11 hours, 21 minutes ago
Views: 72 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
The Decemberists - Once in My Life Statement from Colin Meloy: We were searching for a video idea for “Once In My Life” that would somehow capture the spirit of the song. In my mind, the song is a meditation, a plea to the cosmos that ...
Thanos
11 hours, 26 minutes ago
Views: 65 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Lenny Kravitz - Low (Official Video)New Album RAISE VIBRATION Released September 7, 2018. Preorder Now: lennykravitz.lnk.to Directed by Jean Baptiste Mondino Follow Lenny:instagram.comfacebook.com@LennyKravitz vevo.ly
Thanos
11 hours, 43 minutes ago
Views: 74 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Marvel’s Iron Fist - Season 2 This isn't a fight. It’s just a warm-up. Season 2 of Marvel’s Iron Fist debuts exclusively on Netflix September 7, 2018. Watch Marvel's Iorn First on Netflix: netflix.com SUBSCRIBE: bit.ly About Netflix:Netflix is the world's leading internet entertainment service ...
Thanos
11 hours, 49 minutes ago
Views: 86 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Microsoft Reveals First Known Midterm Campaign Hacking Attempts Microsoft detected and helped block hacking attempts against three congressional candidates this year, a company executive said Thursday, marking the first known example of cyber interference in the midterm elections. “Earlier this year, we did discover that a fake ...
Thanos
12 hours, 12 minutes ago
Views: 88 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Center for Inquiry Sues CVS for Fraud Over Sale of Homeopathic Fake Medicine The Center for Inquiry has filed a lawsuit in the District of Columbia on behalf of the general public against drug retailer CVS for consumer fraud over its sale and marketing of useless homeopathic medicines. CFI, an organization advancing ...
Thanos
23 hours, 9 minutes ago
Views: 161 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
The Midnight Hour (Ali Shaheed Muhammad & Adrian Younge): Tiny Desk Concert : NPR This is a jazz fusion style that would have fit very well on any of the now departed "Quiet Storm" stations of the late '70's ( Quiet Storm - Wikipedia ) More: The Midnight Hour (Ali Shaheed Muhammad & ...
Thanos
2 days, 3 hours ago
Views: 181 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Portugal. The Man - Tidal Wave (Lyric Video)Portugal. the Man - TIdal Wave WOODSTOCK available now!atlantic.lnk.to Follow Portugal. The Manportugaltheman.comfacebook.com instagram.com@portugalthemanSoundCloudportugaltheman.tumblr.com Animations by Sam Binkowsammybinkow.cominstagram.com
Thanos
1 week, 5 days ago
Views: 729 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
The US Army Is Quietly Discharging Immigrant Recruits Martha Mendoza, Garance Burke, Associated Press SAN ANTONIO — Some immigrant U.S. Army reservists and recruits who enlisted in the military with a promised path to citizenship are being abruptly discharged, the Associated Press has learned. The AP was ...
Cheechako
2 weeks ago
Views: 657 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0