In a piece titled “Mourning For Whiteness” from the November 21 print issue of the New Yorker (published online Monday), the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist argues that Trump won due to the terror of privileged white men in the face of a rapidly diversifying country.
“Under slave laws, the necessity for color rankings was obvious, but in America today, post-civil-rights legislation, white people’s conviction of their natural superiority is being lost,” Morrison writes.
“There are ‘people of color’ everywhere, threatening to erase this long-understood definition of America. And what then? Another black President? A predominantly black Senate? Three black Supreme Court Justices? The threat is frightening.”
As Morrison explains it, the subconscious fear of losing the “comfort of being naturally better than,” the comfort of not being followed in a department store for instance, was a huge motivator for many White Americans.
Morrison argues that white Americans and particularly white men are so afraid of the collapse of white privilege that they “flocked to a political platform that supports and translates violence against the defenseless as strength.”