That’s one of the stronger quotes from Ta-Nehisi Coates’ piece on Clinton’s statement half of Trump’s supporters were motivated by bigotry, half by economic desperation. As he points out, multiple pundits have reacted in shock to Clinton’s suggestion — not shock that it’s true (which statistics bear out) or that we have that mass of bigots in our country to deal with, but that she’d say something so awful. Never mind whether it’s true she’s not supposed to say it! She’s a bigot for criticizing white voters!
This isn’t that unusual. Squealing with outrage about the slightest criticism and comparing it to censorship is what conservatives have been doing since at least Clinton got into office. Insisting that as they’re not saying anything about race (or religion or gender) they’re the ones who are free of bigotry (of course they talk a lot about race, religion and gender and how all the wrong ones are inferior). And they often get away with it because where black resentment is horrifying, white resentment is normal. Imagine if, like Sarah Palin’s husband, Michelle Obama had been part of a secessionist movement. Or if Ted Cruz’s father were black (instead of conservative Christian) and making statements about how his people need dominion over every part of American life.
As Coates says, “White racial grievance enjoys automatic credibility, and even when disproven, it is never disqualifying of its bearers. It is very difficult to imagine, for instance, a 9/11 truther, who happened to be black, becoming even a governor. And yet we live in an era in which the country’s leading birther might well be president. This fact certainly horrifies some of the same journalists who attacked Clinton this weekend. But what they have yet to come to grips with is that Donald Trump is a democratic phenomenon, and that there are actual people—not trolls under a bridge—whom he, and his prejudices against Latinos, Muslims, and blacks, represent.”