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White fear is not new. It enabled the rise of Donald Trump. It’s behind the recent flood of restrictive voting laws disproportionately impacting people of color. It’s why reactions to movements like Black Lives Matter and a football player taking a knee have been so negative and so strong.
For two centuries, the deep-seated fear that many white people feel—of losing power, of losing economic standing, of losing a particular “way of life”—has been the driving force behind American politics and culture. And as we approach a future where white people will become a racial the minority in the US, something estimated to occur as early as 2043, that fear is only intensifying, festering, and becoming more visible. Are we destined for a violent clash? What can we do to step into our country’s inevitable future, without tearing ourselves apart in the process?
Nationally renowned journalist and award-winning author Roland Martin has been sounding this alarm for more than a decade. In White Fear, he provides a primer on how white fear has shaped, and continues to shape, our democracy and our culture. He connects the separate puzzle pieces, from the Tea Party Movement and QAnon to the decline of white American optimism to the diminishing blue-collar workforce, to illuminate the larger picture of what will unfold in America over the next decade-plus, and offers a better way forward.
If we want to create the kind of country that we’re all welcome in and proud to live in, we can no longer ignore white fear. To neutralize it—in our country and, for white readers, ourselves—we must first understand it. Only then can we recognize and dismantle it.
And as the last few years have shown, we don’t have any time to lose.
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