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Racism and narcissism: America's original sin

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10.08.2019

President Donald Trump is an unrepentant racist and a malignant narcissist, who also readily espouses Islamophobia, xenophobia, and misogyny. Evidence of his bigotry extends at least as far back as May 1989, when he placed a one-page ad in the New York Daily News calling on New York state to execute the Central Park Five - five black and Latino teens wrongfully accused of beating and raping a jogger.

As president, he has spewed so much hatred in his tweets and public speeches that white supremacists have felt emboldened and more comfortable publicly displaying and acting on their racist beliefs. This uncontrollable resurgence of nationalism has inspired various acts of racist aggression: from chants of "send her back" aimed at Congresswoman Ilhan Omar to mass shootings across the country, including most recently in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

So many in the US bend over backwards to separate Trump's supporters from their expressions of racism and their admiration for his narcissism. Others seek to present Trumpism as a new phenomenon or an exception in American political history. The truth is the American society has always been a racist and narcissistic one.

Perhaps the most serious effort to address the psychological impact of American racism on whites belongs to black sociologist and historian WEB Du Bois in his emblematic work Black Reconstruction. In his book, he observes the behaviour of southern plantations owners and the corrosive effect of slavery on their psyche, concluding the following:

"[It] tended to inflate the ego of most planters beyond all reason; they became arrogant, strutting, quarrelsome kinglets; they........

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