Adapted from Jacques Rancière’s ‘Sept Règles’.1
1) TALK INCESSANTLY ABOUT DONALD TRUMP AND HIS RACIST POLICIES.
The only subject of conversation since the election is THIS apocalyptic nightmare. It is important to talk about it today and tomorrow, so that the main frame of what is seen and what is not seen is established. Read your Facebook feed, share articles produced by Slate and Salon, and center all conversation within a discourse driven by the agenda of Trump administration.
2) SHOW YOUR INDIGNATION THAT TRUMP IS DOING THIS OR THAT.
Your anger achieves a triple effect:
a) Makes racism banal by restricting it to one person.
Watch with delight Jon Oliver’s and Trevor Noah’s shows. Because Trump is the angry target of ridicule and laughter, you feel good and laugh. You feel angry. Now you are doing something. Trump embodies everything that is bad. Aid in making racism ubiquitous by ignoring the structures and discourses that produce THIS one person and his administration.
b) Disavows whiteness by taking pleasure in denouncing Trump.
Meet your white liberal friend and complain about Trump’s racism and xenophobia. What Trump is doing is truly reprehensible. Feel the frisson of pleasure from the position of non-risk that only whiteness allows you. Enjoy the scandal of the Trump administration’s anti-Black, anti-immigrant racism that can only come through denunciation.
c) Reproduces white supremacy through discussions about professionalism and empiricism.
Re-watch Jon Oliver’s show. Denounce conservative news as empirically false and categorize Trump as an exceptionally “crazy” and inarticulate president. You know the truth. Conservatives are liars. “Fake news” is factually untrue. Facts are irrefutable. Catch them with their lies. Once you have this valuable method you can show why Trump is unfit. He is crazy. It is evident. There is evidence. Facts and science cannot be racist, misogynistic, or classist. Neither can The New Yorker.
Re-watch Trevor Noah’s show. Feel shame about your president. By the way, shame can feel good. He, unlike Hillary Clinton and Benjamin Netanyahu, is not a “professional” and can barely speak. Center professionalism at the heart of your critique, and in the process consolidate elitist hierarchies about who speaks in public. Put white professionalism at the heart of your anger. Update CV.
3) TALK ABOUT “SERIOUSLY “ADDRESSING THE QUESTION OF IMMIGRANTS.
Meet your white friend. Tell them that you really hate Trump but that something needs to be done about immigration. Tell them that you believe we are “all immigrants” after all—except, oh yeah, indigenous people and the whole pipeline thing—and that something needs to be done. You sometimes believe the immigrant is a problem. Other times you love talking about immigrants as good, honest, hardworking people. There are “good” immigrants! And the children! Erase any histories of immigration and whiteness associated with it, primarily your role in benefiting from the immigrant scare. Consolidate the figure of “the immigrant.” Demonstrate to racists that you can not come up with a solution to address it. Sign petition for sanctuary status in your town or city.
4) INSIST THAT RACISM HAS A REAL BASE BECAUSE IT IS A PROBLEM OF GLOBALIZATION AND LACK OF JOBS.
Read The Economist and The New York Times. They are factual. They are right, you say, white nationalism is caused by white people living in poverty because of globalization. What do you do? Instead of thinking about how global exchanges of commodities and poverty benefit rich people, talk about how white racism is rooted in poverty and ignorance.
5) INSIST THAT RACISM DERIVES FROM THE LOWER CLASSES, OR BETTER, THAT IS THE PROBLEM OF THE WHITE WORKING CLASS THAT NEEDS TO BE HELPED.
You know what happened during the last elections. Ignorant people were ignorant but you have the right solution. You are going to educate them and help them overcome their racist impulses. This rule is helpful because it shows that the so-called “anti-racists” have the same reflexes as racists. They locate the problem with a category of people: the white working class. Consolidate the rooted alliances between liberal “anti-racists” and racists by turning discussions back to saving the white working class from itself. Boycott Walmart.
6) CALL FOR POLITICIANS TO DENOUNCE RACISM WITHOUT ANY AMBIGUITY.
Call on Democratic politicians to denounce Trump. Make Trump the honest voice, the one that tells the truth, by distinguishing him from the “real” and “normal” Republicans and Democrats. Help produce a right-wing that is the only force that can tell it “like it is” by exposing the motives of “real” politicians. Consolidate that distinction by asking good politicians to denounce racism because a denunciation of racism equates to its eradication.
It is important that Trump and Steve Bannon become exceptions to the consensus, the ones that are victims of a larger liberal conspiracy. That will give them the certificate of anti-racists that will allow them to put racist legislation in practice.
7) ASK FOR TOUGHER LEGISLATION TO BAN RACISTS.
Your anger about racism has reached the boiling point. Ask for punishments to ban racist speech. Consolidate racists as martyrs of liberty. Feel angry when actual people take risks and punch Nazis. They violate the decorum. They are extremists. The good fight is the one from a position of safety and control, when you can express your so-called “anti-racism” by distancing yourself from anything that is effective in anti-racist work.
How can you spread white nationalism in the US? Simply, denounce its vision at the rhetorical level so that racists become martyrs. Show that only the clean racists can help us save from dirty racists.
Jacques Rancière, “Sept règles pour aider à la diffusion des idées racistes en France”, Le Monde, March 21, 1997. ↩