Are MAGA hats racist?

We have been talking about MAGA hats on several threads. Thought I would raise the question on a separate thread.

My thesis is MAGA caps in and of themselves are not racist, but there are a lot of racists who do. Consider this.

However, the Make America Great Again campaign does borrow from the Ku Klux Klan campaign of the 1920's. Here

Responses
Tagged:
«13

Comments

  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    ...Do you know why people think MAGA hats are a symbol of hatred? Because people wearing them keep doing hateful things. ...
    Exactamundo.

  • RussRuss Shipmate
    This is about who gets to define the meaning of a symbol.

  • Schroedingers CatSchroedingers Cat Shipmate, Waving not Drowning Host
    Are they racist? No
    Are they worn proudly by hateful racst scum? Yes.

    So those who wear them are either racist or happy to be associated with racists.
  • Sarah Churchwell's recent book (which I started but didn't finishes) is a forensic examination of the history of the phrases "America First" and the "American Dream". https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/07/books/review-behold-america-sarah-churchwell.html
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    Are they racist? No
    Are they worn proudly by hateful racst scum? Yes.

    So those who wear them are either racist or happy to be associated with racists.

    Or radically clueless. Or are so focused in on what they desperately hope T and/or the Republicans will get for them (e.g. jobs) that they really don't notice anything else.

  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    I haven't lived in the rust belt for many years. But, drawing on my knowledge of its denizens from then, my expectation is that many folks wearing MAGA hats do so because it pisses off the people that they hate. Minority discomfiture is collateral damage. ISTM that the beginning of finding common ground would start with trying to understand why someone as loving as yourself is so despised by so many people. But I haven't seen any real desire to find common ground, only rampant tribalism on all sides.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    There's nothing inherently racist about a swastika (Hindu symbol) or wearing a pillow case (it's just a piece of bedding).

    But we live in a world of context and meaning, and we can't unfreight the object from either. If racists adopt an object (Fred Perry polo shirts, Lonsdale sports gear) then other people will pick up on that use, and either decide to stop wearing the object, or that its continued use is worth more than any negative social effects (on the assumption that the wearer is not actually racist). This even goes for the English national flag - co-opted by racists as a sign for nativist English nationalism - where the only time it's usually flown by anyone who isn't a racist is during an international football competition.

    People who wear MAGA hats are either racists or don't care that other people think they're racists. But it wasn't the non- or anti-racists who decided it was a racist symbol - it was the racists who did and said racist things while wearing a MAGA hat that associated it with racism. It could have been anything.
  • jay_emmjay_emm Shipmate
    It's instantly pseudo-unpatriotic. That is to say that it's effectively saying "America is now not great". So there has to be an active reason for wearing the hat, it's not a hat you can just wear.

    There are of course perfectly patriotic reasons to say that. The East German anthem and Children's hymn are lovely (even if the regime was not) and basically boil down to "Make Germany acceptable again" (they also have a sense of progress being made). There are plenty of skeletons in the US & UK's recent cupboard too, and a bit of rebellious anti-patriotism is good counter to the forced patriotism "God save the Queen" and "God save the Queen".

    So it instantly raises the statement "I think there was something not great about Obama&the democrats" and (if worn at a Trump rally as an attender, or equivalent) "that doesn't apply to Trump & the republicans" and I'm sure there are lots of non-racist answers, but the ones Trump&the republicans have chosen are, and it's a reasonable assumption that you've listened to them.
  • The RogueThe Rogue Shipmate
    Speaking generally to lose an item of clothing because a group of nutters has taken it for their own is pretty unlucky. In this case it was designed to be a piece of abuse (Obama'a America is rubbish) so I'm not too upset that its use is running away from one ridiculous message to another.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    Of course Trump is racist, and of course many people who support him are motivated by conscious or unconscious racism. Our culture is saturated with racism. By 'our culture' I mean the culture of Europe, its colonialism and its products.

    The fight against racism in our culture started when? I don't know. the 1950's? Its hard to say. It kicked off good and proper with the Civil rights Movement, and that certainly impacted significantly in Australia with the Freedom Rides and struggle for the recognition of Indigenous Australians as people with rights. I also believe it sparked the most recent struggle for Catholic emancipation in Nothern Ireland. But I remember as I write the abolitionists, and I think there was a dust up internally in the 1860's. Like feminism, our struggles to free ourselves from our own racism proceeds in fits and starts. Its hard to remember in a historical sense just how far we have come.

    So as we condemn our neighbours for their hateful bigotry we would do well to remember why we are not sweeping out dirt floors like our recent ancestors, and just who is still sweeping dirt floors on this planet. The reason is that for the last 300 odd years our people having been fattening ourselves on the wealth of their people.

    Our racism is horrendous and deeply ingrained in us. We are in a multi-generational struggle for change. In that struggle, I think it is more important that we who actively support liberal change (shorthand) look to obtain and retain the levers of power as a first priority, but also seek to contribute to an environment where illiberal ideas are challenged, and to educating the next generation so that they have the tools to continue the struggle.

    People ought to be able to wear MAGA hats. Their freedom to do so is a sign that we too have the right to wear whatever we care to wear. Its a sign that political freedoms are alive in the USA. Of course we can approach these ignorants with a snarl and with bared teeth. We can abuse them if we wish, as long as we are keeping the peace. But should we? Is it smart? Is it going to have an effect on the struggle to unseat Trump?

    I who am terrible at keeping control of myself ask that you don't attack these people. Let them wear their stupid hats. Mutter and turn away. 2020 is coming. Gull them into a false sense of security while organising to ferry Democratic voters to the hustings.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    People who think the US was trash under the Obama administration, as if there was some kind of sea change on January 21, 2008, are in many cases motivated by racism one way or another. They couldn't handle having a black man be president.

    The MAGA hat is a racist symbol because making America white again is the cornerstone of ostensibly making it great again. It is the hat of Trumpism, and Trumpism is racist at its core. This is not a matter of interpretation. This is not some subtle thing that requires careful parsing. Trump was clear about his racism in all the years he was railing about Obama supposedly not being a natural-born citizen. Trump was clear about his racism when he announced his candidacy for president. If you wear his hat, you are endorsing racism.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    If the MAGA hat is a racist symbol, what about symbols representing the Republican Party, which has of course embraced and furthered the MAGA agenda? Are they racist symbols as well?
  • A Feminine ForceA Feminine Force Shipmate
    edited March 10
    Racists are humans.

    Hats are hats.

    Is every human who wears a MAGA hat a racist? Probably not.

    Are the majority of humans who wear MAGA hats racists? Impossible to know for certain until someone quantifies it.

    I'm a Baptist Christian. Many of my Southern Convention friends have expressed disbelief that I could be a Baptist or even a Christan. Many of my secular non religious friends have expressed the same disbelief.

    I say "If people like me don't claim the label then everyone else gets to define it for me."

    I think there are people who think like this, who wear the label, but who bear no resemblance in thought or deed with the group that defines it. But like me, they are probably in the minority.

    AFF
  • Wearing one of these hats in done contexts is definitely racial provocation. It could be done out of ignorance or intent. It's provocative nonetheless.
  • stetson wrote: »
    If the MAGA hat is a racist symbol, what about symbols representing the Republican Party, which has of course embraced and furthered the MAGA agenda? Are they racist symbols as well?

    Right now? Yes.

    Maybe they haven't always been. But the modern Republican party gets its votes by being "tough on crime" (but only certain kinds of crimes committed by certain colors of people) and "tough on immigration" (but only certain colors of immigrant). They may not want to think of themselves as racists, but if it walks like a racist and quacks like a racist...

    Let's not fall too easily into the Hillbilly Elegy "economic anxiety" explanation for people being Trump supporters. (I see someone has already brought up the Rust Belt on this thread.) Study after study has shown that Trump voters are more motivated by racial resentment or anxiety than economic issues.
  • romanlionromanlion Shipmate
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    Of course Trump is racist

    This guy?

  • romanlion wrote: »
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    Of course Trump is racist

    This guy?
    You do realise that it's possible to be a racist and also act to help people of other races? In the old days of the British Empire it was called "the white man's burden", that it was the duty of enlightened and civilised Europeans to help inferior races. There's a prevalent myth in some parts of the US (at least, as reported) that pre-civil war Southern plantation owners cared for their slaves and granted them a better life than they'd have experienced as free people, a variation on the same theme; one of the most popular American films of all time promotes that same myth (Gone With the Wind, if you hadn't guessed).
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    There's nothing inherently racist about a swastika (Hindu symbol) or wearing a pillow case (it's just a piece of bedding).

    Remember that a swastika can be clockwise or anti-clockwise. In either form, it was and still is used extensively in Jain and Hindu religions, perhaps others as well. The Nazis used the clockwise and found some Germanic history to support that usage.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Russ wrote: »
    This is about who gets to define the meaning of a symbol.
    It’s also about who gets to control interpretation of a symbol. It’s about denotation and connotation. I can say ‘til the cows come home that a particular symbol means x, but if that symbol widely carries a connotation of y, my insistence that it means x will likely be both technically correct and irrelevant.

  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    Let's not fall too easily into the Hillbilly Elegy "economic anxiety" explanation for people being Trump supporters.

    I agree, the connection between racism and economic anxiety can be overstated. I grew up in a boom/bust province where there was a real wave of anti-East Indian prejudice in the early 80s, and it didn't correspond to the busts. In fact, racism probably becaame less respectable after the boom, but only because it was becoming less respectable everywhere with the passage of time.

    That said, I do think that rust-belt votes, motivated possibly by economic concerns, played a role in pushing Trump over the top on Election Day, even though they were a fairly small portion of his voted overall. But they probably wouldn' t have had that influence without the distorting effect of the Electoral College.

  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    romanlion wrote: »
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    Of course Trump is racist

    This guy?

    Judging by the state of his hair, was that about the time that Trump was in league with organised criminals to such an extent that the NSW Government kicked him and his tender partners to the kerb when they bid to build and run a new Casino in Sydney? Here's a link about that from the Rupert Murdoch owned Australian.

    Trump is a racist, but racists shouldn't vote for him because he's more bent than a mountain road.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    romanlion wrote: »
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    Of course Trump is racist

    This guy?

    Great Tu Quoque Fallacy, Romanlion. However, we are talking about a hat, not Mr. Jackson, or not even Mr. Trump, for that matter.

    We are talking about how racists have gravitated to a symbol, and maybe why.
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    We are talking about how racists have gravitated to a symbol, and maybe why.

    Or maybe about how racists and non-racists have both gravitated to a slogan and whether it means different things to those two groups.



  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Russ wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    We are talking about how racists have gravitated to a symbol, and maybe why.
    Or maybe about how racists and non-racists have both gravitated to a slogan and whether it means different things to those two groups.

    The MAGA hat is not some long-standing item of multiple meanings. It's emblazoned with Donald Trump's 2016 campaign slogan and distributed as a campaign promotional item. It dates back only to 2015, which seems much too short a time for it to induce any kind of "gravitational" effect. It's basic meaning is "I support the Trump campaign" and, after November 8, 2016, "I support the Trump presidency*". That includes supporting (or not being bothered by) Trump's racist immigration policies and his basic contempt for anyone not white.

    Are we seriously having a discussion about whether or not wearing a candidate's campaign swag indicates support for that candidate?
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Russ wrote: »
    We are talking about how racists have gravitated to a symbol, and maybe why.

    Or maybe about how racists and non-racists have both gravitated to a slogan and whether it means different things to those two groups.



    I bet they said the same in 1935 about support for the Nazis.
  • LeRocLeRoc Shipmate
    I agree with people who say the MAGA hat is a racist symbol. If you're wearing it, you're signing up for the whole package. It's not as if the racism is hidden.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Recent events have provided an insight about views of Trump (and, by extension, his campaign gear like MAGA hats). From the manifesto of our newest politically-motivated mass murderer*:
    Were/are you a supporter of Donald Trump?
    As a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose? Sure. As a policy maker and leader? Dear god no.

    I'd be willing to classify "renewed white identity and common purpose" as racist (and fascist, for that matter).


    *Not a direct link to the manifesto because fk that guy.
  • AthrawesAthrawes Shipmate
    Thank you. We should not give him, or his ideology any oxygen at all. He set this up to gain media attention. We need to deny it to him.
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    Crœsos wrote: »
    It's basic meaning is "I support the Trump campaign" and, after November 8, 2016, "I support the Trump presidency*".

    Sure.

    And there are people who supported the Trump campaign for various reasons, not all of which have to do with race.

  • Russ wrote: »
    We are talking about how racists have gravitated to a symbol, and maybe why.

    Or maybe about how racists and non-racists have both gravitated to a slogan and whether it means different things to those two groups.

    Remember the maga guy's Muslim Ban and his Mexicans are rapists thing? And then there's this War On Terror thing which really means keep bombing Iraq and other middle eastern countries, which I guess is part of the Muslim Ban thing. And it means to sell war weapons. If maga-man isn't a racist let's see a real war on terror, against the real threat. If you don't understand that, probably hopeless.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    Russ wrote: »
    Crœsos wrote: »
    It's basic meaning is "I support the Trump campaign" and, after November 8, 2016, "I support the Trump presidency*".

    Sure.

    And there are people who supported the Trump campaign for various reasons, not all of which have to do with race.

    That was then. This is now. Nobody doesn't know his racism.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    Russ wrote: »
    And there are people who supported the Trump campaign for various reasons, not all of which have to do with race.

    If you support a racist because he makes the trains run on time, you are still supporting a racist and are thus condoning racism. If you vote for a racist because you think he will bring jobs to your town, you have decided that it is okay for black and brown people to get fucked over as long as your life gets better. That's racism.
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    And if you support a racist because he promises to appoint to the high court judges who will prevent women from making decisions about their own reproductive lives, you are condoning both racism and sexism.
  • The whole concept of MAGA is racist.
  • I object to the uncritical acceptance of the terms great and strong (and there variants) by the news media.

    What politicians tend to mean is, I want to increase our ability to use coercive power or I want to increase our ability to dominate something sufficiently that we do not need to listen to others.
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    Ruth wrote: »
    If you support a racist because he makes the trains run on time, you are still supporting a racist and are thus condoning racism. If you vote for a racist because you think he will bring jobs to your town, you have decided that it is okay for black and brown people to get fucked over as long as your life gets better. That's racism.

    You're confusing being a witch with supporting witchcraft with condoning witchcraft with not thinking the issue of witchcraft very important.
  • Not caring if people die reflects your view of the value of the lives of the people who are dying.

    If you think, for example, black lives are disposable so long as you get a tax cut - that is racist.
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    Thinking black lives matter less than white lives is racist whether you get a tax cut or not.

    Thinking that voting Republican is more likely to get you a tax cut and have no discernible impact on the number of lives lost isn't.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    Russ wrote: »
    Thinking black lives matter less than white lives is racist whether you get a tax cut or not.

    Thinking that voting Republican is more likely to get you a tax cut and have no discernible impact on the number of lives lost isn't.

    Anyone who thinks the latter is already on the purchase list for several bridges. Or is, in fact, lying to themselves about the former.
  • Russ, you will continue to lose this debate. Though that you may actually think done of this is concerning.

    You can't separate the man from his symbols.

    "Trump said Obama was born in Kenya; was open to shutting down mosques in US; called for a 'total shutdown' of Muslims; said Muslims in NJ celebrated 9/11; told fake story about bullets dipped in 'pigs blood' to stop terrorism.

    If that's not white nationalism, then what is?"
    Link to tweet
  • Russ wrote: »
    Thinking that voting Republican is more likely to get you a tax cut and have no discernible impact on the number of lives lost isn't.
    There are probably many people in the US who would vote Republican regardless of who the candidate is out of some sense of loyalty (they've always voted Republican) or the conception that Republicans represent their interests (eg: lower taxes, best handling of the economy) regardless of any evidence that their conceptions are right. It's certainly the case in the UK that there are plenty of people who will vote a particular way based on the colour of the rosette no matter how good or bad the candidate is.

    Though, I get the impression that MAGA hats are strongly associated with those who specifically support Trump, rather than Republican voters more generally.
  • LeRocLeRoc Shipmate
    I was hoping we could get Russ to spout his bullshit just on that one thread.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    The whole concept of MAGA is racist.

    As is all nationalism. Which is invariably anti-plural.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    Russ wrote: »
    ...Thinking that voting Republican is more likely to get you a tax cut and have no discernible impact on the number of lives lost isn't.
    Unfortunately (said one who was raised a Republican, and who voted that way against various corrupt Cook County Democrats for as long as I lived in the Chicago area), the various issues can't be separated. Mr. Trump does nothing good except for himself, his gene pool, and his billionaire buddies. I'm trying to think of anything he's done that doesn't qualify as either specifically racist or generally hurtful to the country as a whole. I'm sure there must be something, but it's not exactly springing to mind.

  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    Russ wrote: »
    Thinking that voting Republican is more likely to get you a tax cut and have no discernible impact on the number of lives lost isn't.

    But that's not what happened. Trump declared his racism again and again long before he ran for office, and he declared it again and again during his candidacy. Anyone who voted for him because they thought they'd get a tax cut decided that his racism is acceptable, and if you think racism is acceptable, you're a racist.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    edited March 19
    The question Russ seems to be pursing is in my opinion unimportant. Trump's a racist, we all agree. He has to be defeated, most of us agree. Analysing the inner thought process of his millions of supporters strikes me as an unnecessary distraction. Who gives a shit what they think? They support an evil and corrupt racist as President of the United States.

    The only possible benefit of understanding their inner thought processes is to peel them off the racist for the November 2020 poll. But I thought the main strategy was to get out the anti-Trump vote and keep the pro-Trump vote at home.

    Reconciliation efforts start the day Trump leaves the White House. We still have to live with the stupid bastards, some of us in quite close quarters.

    Idiot Wind just came on my u-tube playlist. Nice.
  • PigwidgeonPigwidgeon Shipmate
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    The only possible benefit of understanding their inner thought processes is to peel them off the racist for the November 2020 poll. But I thought the main strategy was to get out the anti-Trump vote and keep the pro-Trump vote at home.
    Only half right, IMHO. Certainly get out the anti-Trump vote, but I don't believe in voter suppression no mater who their idiot candidate is. I'd much rather try to win over the pro-Trump crowd. And I do have some hope, since even some of the Republicans in the House and Senate are beginning to resist him.

  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    Russ wrote: »
    Thinking black lives matter less than white lives is racist whether you get a tax cut or not.

    Thinking that voting Republican is more likely to get you a tax cut and have no discernible impact on the number of lives lost isn't.

    Anyone who thinks the latter is already on the purchase list for several bridges. Or is, in fact, lying to themselves about the former.

    This could be referred to as "the Autobahn Problem". Let's say someone is a big proponent of a particular initiative, like building a large system of high speed, limited access highways. To achieve this they lend their support to a political party with a strong commitment to building such roads, but which also has other, more problematic stances which may be a higher priority for them once they achieve power than building those roads. The problem is that handing someone power isn't an à la carte option. Not considering the whole agenda likely to be enacted by someone is a dereliction. Most of us would consider 'Ich habe mich nur für die Autobahnen angemeldet'* to be an inadequate justification of support.


    *I only signed up for the Autobahns.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    Pigwidgeon wrote: »
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    The only possible benefit of understanding their inner thought processes is to peel them off the racist for the November 2020 poll. But I thought the main strategy was to get out the anti-Trump vote and keep the pro-Trump vote at home.
    Only half right, IMHO. Certainly get out the anti-Trump vote, but I don't believe in voter suppression no mater who their idiot candidate is. I'd much rather try to win over the pro-Trump crowd. And I do have some hope, since even some of the Republicans in the House and Senate are beginning to resist him.

    not voter suppression so much as trying to avoid issues that will motivate them.
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    Ruth wrote: »
    Anyone who voted for him because they thought they'd get a tax cut decided that his racism is acceptable, and if you think racism is acceptable, you're a racist.

    This is the dynamic of the witch-hunt.

    Anyone less zealous than you are in rooting out witchcraft must be a witch. Obviously.
    You can't separate the man from his symbols.

    "Trump said Obama was born in Kenya; was open to shutting down mosques in US; called for a 'total shutdown' of Muslims; said Muslims in NJ celebrated 9/11; told fake story about bullets dipped in 'pigs blood' to stop terrorism.

    If that's not white nationalism, then what is?"

    If you say that Trump is a nationalist and those who wear MAGA hats are showing their support for his nationalism then I'd agree.

Sign In or Register to comment.