Despite all of their lamenting of how “overly sensitive” this new generation is, white conservatives are and have always been the most fragile people to walk this here Earth—and Donald Trump is their president. Oh, Trump may not be as smart as some of these ivy league Republicans wish he was, but he still represents their most treasured value: Protect whiteness at all cost.
Trump—whose answer to everything that displeases him is to threaten to “withhold funding” from said thing—is now going all defunder-in-chief on California schools because he heard they would be implementing the New York Times’ Pulitzer-Prize winning collection 1619 Project into their curriculum.
For those who don’t know, the 1619 Project is a project directed by Nikole Hannah-Jones that “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.”
On Sunday, the whiny white supremacist dipped in Tang that y’all call president responded to a random Twitter post claiming California “has implemented the 1619 [P]project into the public schools” and that “soon you won’t recognize [America],” by tweeting, “Department of Education is looking at this. if so, they will not be funded.”
I would go into a big thing about how conservative’s only real gripe against the project is that it’s a historical narrative that isn’t written and controlled by white people, but The Root’s Michael Harriot has already done a fine job of unpacking that here. Instead, I just want to point out that the 1619 Project, along with the general discussion on race in America—a thing Trump has such a big stick up his ass over that he ordered federal agencies to end anti-racism training which he calls “un-American propaganda”—reveals that white conservatives are every bit the overly sensitive, easily offended, perpetually triggered snowflakes they claim everyone else is.
The moves follow a pattern by the President of disparaging attempts to process or reckon with the country’s fraught racial history. In his convention acceptance speech, the President said “Americans are exhausted, trying to keep up with the latest lists of approved words and phrases, and the ever more restrictive political decrees. Many things have a different name now, and the rules are constantly changing.”
“We want our sons and daughters to know the truth,” Trump went on. “America is the greatest and most exceptional nation in the history of the world. Our country wasn’t built by cancel culture, speech codes, and crushing conformity. We are not a nation of timid spirits.”
The only difference between conservatives and progressives when it comes to being easily offended is the things we are offended by. Why us “anti-American” progressives are offended by racism, misogyny, homophobia and ableism, right-wingers are offended by anti-jingoism, criticism of Christianity and systemic racism talk. Why else would the same people who swear up and down that millennials and gen-Zers are too sensitive these days, get their white nationalist drawers all in a bunch over something as simple as some athletes silently kneeling during the national anthem? We’re in the streets protesting systemic racism in policing, they’re in the same streets protesting because they have to wear face masks.
Another difference is that, while the thing people call “cancel culture” is more myth than reality and exists almost entirely on social media, white people’s version off cancel culture has always had real consequences. They cancelled Black people from equality after the enslaved were freed and had the nerve to walk around unowned by white people. They cancelled a whole Black Wallstreet because they heard a single Black man assaulted a single white woman. They got so offended by Black people walking into diners through the front entrance and sitting down at the bar, that we needed a whole ass civil rights movement—a thing snowflake-ass white people overwhelmingly disapproved of—to rectify things.
As far as the teaching of the 1619 Project in schools goes, let’s not forget that the same people suddenly concerned about skewed versions of American history being taught in schools, never voiced any concern over generations of Black students being forced to hold their hands over their heart and chant “liberty and justice for all” in front of the flag every morning.