“Divide, Divert, & Conquer” Deconstructing the Presidential Framing of White Supremacy in the COVID-19 Era
2. Literature Review
2.1. White Supremacy at Work: Racist Nativism and Nativist Racism in Perspective
2.2. The Interplay of Racist Nativism & Nativist Racism
3. Data and Methods
4.1. Trumpian White Supremacy in the COVID-19 Era
4.2. China as the External Enemy
4.2.1. Trade Threat & the Cause of America’s Pandemic Problems
We’re all in this together. It’s something that nobody expected. It came out of China, and it’s one of those things that happened. It’s nobody’s fault. We all—we all will solve this problem; we’ll solve it well.
4.2.2. The China Playbook: High Gear
We just got hit by a vicious virus that should have never been allowed to escape China. They should have stopped it at the source. They didn’t do that. A hundred and eighty-four countries have been devastated by it, including China, by the way.
4.2.3. China Blaming & Nativist Racism
I talk about the Chinese virus and—and I mean it. That’s where it came from. You know, if you look at Ebola, if you look at all—Lyme. Right? Lyme, Connecticut. You look at all these different, horrible diseases, they seem to come with a name with the location. And this was a Chinese virus.
4.3. Mexico as the External Enemy
4.3.1. Building the Wall: Keeping COVID-19 Carriers Away
Now, more than ever, we need the wall with China Virus spreading across the globe, the US stands a chance if we can control of our borders. President Trump is making it happen. I explain why this matter and & SO MUCH MORE.[sic]
Without these public health measures, the southern border would be a global epicenter of the viral transmission. And if you look at some of the towns on the other side of the wall—as an example, in California, we have a certain area that is heavily infected on the Mexico side. And if we didn’t have a border wall there, it would be a—it would be really a catastrophic situation.
Well, you have to see San Diego. So, on the other side of San Diego is a tremendously big problem with COVID and other things. And they wanted that wall so badly—they were calling. Everybody was calling—I won’t even tell. I won’t embarrass them by saying who called. But people that didn’t want the wall outside wanted the wall. […] And I built the wall, and it worked 100 percent. You know what I’m talking about. And then, I see one of the politicians two weeks later. “They should take down the wall”. By the way, it worked so well. But he was saying, “They should’ve taken down the wall”. But now they don’t even say that, because now it stopped COVID; it stopped everything. It stopped the whole deal.
4.3.2. Latino Detainees and Latino Workers: Unseen, Unprotected, and Unvalued
America owes our very hard-working food supply workers so much as they produce and deliver high quality food for us during this horrible COVID-19. Join me in thanking our Farmers, Ranchers, Processors, Distributors, and stores!@JohnBoozman
4.3.3. Framing the “Good” Versus the “Bad” Latinos
The Hispanic Americans courageously serving in our armed forces include the brave Hispanic Americans protecting our nation on the front lines as border agents. We have a lot of border agents doing a great job and we are actually up to mile 138 on the wall, they [Hispanic Americans] understand the border … You know who wants this more than anybody else? The Hispanics, because they get it! They are here, they want to be safe and they know that some of the people coming across are not the people you want to be with … And the Hispanics, they understand the border. A poll came out with very high numbers and people saying: ‘I can’t imagine why Hispanics like President Trump so much’ … Do you know why? Because they understand the border better than anybody else and they want a safe border … It is estimated that more than half of our nation border agents, even higher, are Hispanic Americans and they are doing an incredible job! We are immensely grateful for their amazing job in seizing drugs in stopping human trafficking, which is so terrible and ensuring a safe, human lawful system of immigration … The nation is grateful for their defending our American flag.
And you know, nobody understands the border better than Hispanics. They know what’s good, what’s bad. They don’t want bad people coming into our country, taking their jobs, taking their homes, causing crime. Hispanic Americans are the people who are the most in favor of what we’re doing at the border.
@realDonaldTrump is a champion for the American worker. Under his leadership, Hispanic unemployment reached a record low and median income for Hispanic households reached a historic high, surpassing $50K for the first time on record.
But he betrayed the Hispanic Americans. Prior to the China virus, the plague that came in from China, we achieve the lowest Hispanic American unemployment rate in history of our country ([…] It was six months ago we are building it up again you know make an America great again we say now make America great again. Make America great again because we did it. Now I have to do it again.
Conflicts of Interest
Despite these strides, President-Elect Joseph Biden is only the nation’s second Catholic head of state. There has not yet been a Jewish American president, and in 2020, the Anti Defamation League, which had been tracking reported incidents of anti-Semitism in the U.S. for 40 years then, reported that 2020 marked an all time high in reported incidents (J. Diaz 2020).
The representation of Latinos as forever foreigners has a particular poignancy for Mexican Americans, some whose ancestral roots predate the U.S.-Mexico War (1846–1848): “Mexicans and Chicanas/os are perceived as foreigners, ironically, in a land that once belonged to them” (Lima 2007, 2020; Huber et al. 2008, p. 46).
In 2017, Mexicans represented 47 percent of the nation’s undocumented immigrants, with Central Americans being another 18 percent, and Asians reaching nearly 14 percent (Kamarck and Stenglein 2019). This rise of the undocumented associated with Latin and Central America started in the wake of the Immigration Act of 1965, which, for the first time, limited immigration from countries in the Western Hemisphere (Passel and Cohn 2019).
In 2017 and 2018, Trump issued more than 6000 tweets, and in 2019 alone, more than 4800 (Kumar 2020).
As Alan Kraut notes in an interview, “victim-blaming” of diverse groups including Irish Catholic immigrants in the 1832 cholera epidemic, Eastern European Jews in the 19th century for tuberculosis, and free blacks in the antebellum American South all shifted attention “away from issues like clean water, good sewage, alleviating over-crowding” (Falk 2020).
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Louie, V.; Viladrich, A. “Divide, Divert, & Conquer” Deconstructing the Presidential Framing of White Supremacy in the COVID-19 Era. Soc. Sci. 2021, 10, 280. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10080280
Louie V, Viladrich A. “Divide, Divert, & Conquer” Deconstructing the Presidential Framing of White Supremacy in the COVID-19 Era. Social Sciences. 2021; 10(8):280. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10080280Chicago/Turabian Style
Louie, Vivian, and Anahí Viladrich. 2021. "“Divide, Divert, & Conquer” Deconstructing the Presidential Framing of White Supremacy in the COVID-19 Era" Social Sciences 10, no. 8: 280. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10080280