By David Futrelle
Early in the Trump administration, amateur and professional White House watchers noticed something rather striking about the assorted photo ops that the new President and his handlers liked to stage for the press: they all seemed to feature gaggles of smug white dudes, with the occasional white woman added to the mix to provide a little bit of gender if not racial diversity.
While some considered this a public relations blunder, probably because the staff at the White House was so amateur it didn’t even realize how off-putting the optics of these all-white photo ops were to most Americans, others wondered if the Trumpies were doing it on purpose — offering a not-so-subtle wink to Trump’s racist fans, an assurance that, yes, white dudes were once again firmly in the saddle in the White House.
I think it’s pretty clear the cynics were right here. If you have any doubt, look at this official White House video of the recent Congressional Picnic held on the South Lawn of the White House. It’s possibly the whitest thing I’ve ever seen.
Seriously, I’ve watched this video five times and I’ve only spotted two people of color amidst the vast sea of white people on the South Lawn — a secret service agent and what appears to be a staffer involved in setting up the event.
And guess what? Trump’s most racist fans are receiving the message being sent here loud and clear. In a blog post yesterday (archived here), pickup artist turned white supremacist propagandist James “Heartiste” Weidmann hailed what he called “Trump’s Love Letter To Heritage America,” Heartiste’s pet term for what he sees as the golden age before the civil rights movement and the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965.
After posting the video above, Weidmann notes that the sheer overwhelming whiteness of the video is clearly “intentional” on Trump’s part.
Trump knows what he’s doing, and he knows the sides in this battle for the soul of America. His promos, visuals, and speeches are an extended play love letter to Heritage America. To White America, before it became a Dirt World Depot. If you doubt Trump’s loyalty to the cause, dispel your doubt. His heart is in it. He fights for you.
Weidmann’s fans were even more enthusiastic in their praise.
“[T]his is not just a love letter,” added plumpjack, “it’s a declaration of WAR.”
Hackett To Bits offered his own love letter to white “civilization.”
Message to the mud peoples of the world and their enablers: this is what ordered, civilized existence looks like, you should eat your hearts out.
Not everyone was so enthusiastic about the all-white optics. While conceding that (at least to a racist like him), “the video is beautiful. A breath of fresh air after 8 years of thug entertainers and muzzie dinners at the white house,” Alea Iacta Est worried that mere videos won’t be enough to stop
the primary trend. I’m doing my best. Voting and making white babeez, but my neighborhood pool is no fun any more. Its always being closed because noglets barf in it, and I look like the foreigner now. I don’t want white picnics on the south lawn. I want my country back.
Too bad for you, then, that “your country” is no more than a racist fantasy. America has never been as white as that picnic on the White House lawn.
Which brings us to the giant irony to Trump’s “love letter to White America” — the jazz music on the soundtrack. While the band featured in the video looks to be all or almost all-white, jazz music is, obviously, anything but. Originating in black America, jazz is an amalgam of African traditions and American innovation, and the most celebrated and influential Jazz musicians have of course almost always been black.
While the anodyne jazz featured on the White House video soundtrack may give racists warm fuzzies, here’s some jazz and jazz funk that will more likely give them heart attacks.