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: 30,701

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
Seth Meyers: Who the Hell Is Dana Rohrabacher?Seth takes a break from breaking news to check in on who Republican California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher is and why he was famously dubbed "Putin's favorite senator."
teleskiguy
4 hours, 57 minutes ago
Views: 107 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Mass Protest in Philippines Over Duterte ‘Dictatorship’ Opponents criticised Mr Duterte's open threat to reinstate martial law and his brutal war on drugs that has killed thousands. Thousands also attended rival pro-Duterte rallies. Mr Duterte's own son Paolo is facing allegations of drug trafficking. The president ...
Thanos
7 hours, 14 minutes ago
Views: 210 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
the Killers - Run for CoverArtists: The KillersDirected By: Tarik MikouCo-Directed By: Eric MorinWritten By: Flowers, Stoermer, Vannucci, Price, Cameron, Lee, MarleyProducers: Jacknife Lee, Daniel Jean, Olivier Picard, David Pierrat(C) 2017 Island Records, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc. vevo.ly
Thanos
2 days, 5 hours ago
Views: 331 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
(12) LATEST: 7.1 Magnitude Quake Kills 119 as Buildings Crumble in MexicoMexico’s federal government says the death toll in a magnitude 7.1 earthquake has risen to 119.
Thanos
2 days, 6 hours ago
Views: 354 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Exploring Child Marriage Around the World The age at which people first marry can have long-lasting implications for their physical, economic and social well-being -- particularly when marriage first happens at a young age. As part of our forthcoming global research on child marriage, we ...
Birth Control Works
2 days, 7 hours ago
Views: 313 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Failing Charter Schools Have a Reincarnation Plan — ProPublica This past June, Florida’s top education agency delivered a failing grade to the Orange Park Performing Arts Academy in suburban Jacksonville for the second year in a row. It designated the charter school for kindergarten through fifth grade as ...
Birth Control Works
2 days, 7 hours ago
Views: 340 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
How Renaissance Painting Smoldered With a Little Known Hallucinogen Bosch provides the most fertile ground for art lovers wanting to believe that hallucinogenic fungi may have a significant place in art history. This is partially because the painter has a special connection to Anthony, depicting the saint over ...
Birth Control Works
3 days, 18 hours ago
Views: 452 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Hillary Clinton’s ‘What Happened’ Says Something Revealing About America Later, Clinton brings a similar wistfulness to her account of the second debate with Trump, at which he stalked her on stage, seeking to intimidate her. “Do you stay calm,” she asks, referring to her options, “keep smiling and ...
Birth Control Works
3 days, 19 hours ago
Views: 402 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Honey Glazed Apple Strudel : Recipe INGREDIENTS1 package of frozen croissant dough (hey I'm in a wheelchair!)1/2 c. breadcrumbs1/2 c. (1/2 stick) butter or margarine8 Apples (4 Granny Smith & 4 Honeycrisp)1/2 c. dried Montmorency cherries (optional)2 Tbsp rum or kirschwasser (optional)1/2 c. sugar1/4 c. ...
The Vicious Babushka
3 days, 20 hours ago
Views: 504 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 4 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Study: 4,500 Deaths a Year From High Europe Diesel Emissions Remember that time Europe encouraged diesel vehicles because they were thought to be more environmentally friendly? Between black carbon climate effects and cancer deaths that claim turns out to be specious. BERLIN (AP) — Researchers say there have been ...
Thanos
3 days, 21 hours ago
Views: 344 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0