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So what if Trump plays the race card

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NEW YORK - Last week witnessed outrage over racism at the highest levels of government in Britain and the United States. The day after the U.S. Congress voted to condemn President Donald Trump’s attacks on four congresswomen of color, British Prime Minister Theresa May and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn accused each other of tolerating racism in their parties.

Such moral indignation might make racism seem a taboo and Trump a pariah. But this would ignore both the insidious nature of racism and its tenacity, not to mention the hypocrisy of those ostentatiously recoiling from it.

For instance, as Britain’s Home Secretary, May literally told refugees and illegal immigrants to “go home” — the message emblazoned on vans sent to ethnic neighborhoods — and presided over the deportation of elderly British citizens to where they had come from as young children: the Caribbean. With his policy of mass incarceration, Bill Clinton arguably did more than any Republican president to evict African Americans from public life.

British and American leaders may not have ever said, and might not even agree, that “the whole problem is really the blacks,” as former U.S. President Richard Nixon privately blurted out in the 1970s. Nevertheless, they have for decades composed an ascending scale of dog whistles,........

© The Japan Times