Quote of the Week
I’ve been processing the rise of Donald Trump along with everyone else and at first felt incredulity. Then surprise. Then disbelief. And now actual fear. Trump, the White Man’s last gasp, and the Resurrection by Christena Cleveland is fascinating and makes some sense of what is churning, in part, beneath the surface of his popularity.
But beyond emotional distress and cognitive disruption, shifts toward racial equality can incite existential terror in white men who are experiencing systemic vulnerability for the first time. No longer guaranteed to be on top, no longer guaranteed to be in the majority, no longer guaranteed to be at the center of all that is hip, innovative and relevant, white men are no longer an invincible social group. Social psychologists who study this type of existential terror have found that prejudice serves as a buffer and a way to manage the terror. When humans are feeling vulnerable (particularly about our own invincibility and mortality), we respond with prejudice towards those who are different. This makes us feel better.***
Enter Donald Trump. His screeching, taunting, immature words reveal the tantrums of a desperate man who is trying to manage the existential terror of white men.
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