Donald Trump And The Radicalization Of Young White Men

by Eleonor Botoman

Photo via Instagram

We need to confront this reality: an overwhelming majority of white male America got Trump elected. They placed their own privilege, supremacy, and false dreams of economic growth (see: Trump’s long history as a failed businessman) over the lives of already vulnerable women, minorities, the disabled, and the LGBTQ community. It’s very easy to call them idiots, but CNN’s exit polls have shown that all of the white males who helped get Trump into office are far from stupid. 

54% of white college graduate men voted for him. 48% of white males from 18-29 voted for him. 72% of white non-college men, including those in high school or almost done with college, voted for him. The stereotype of the crusty, old uneducated white Trump supporter has been shattered time and time again over the course of this election. Look at videos of his rallies and you’ll see them – young, dressed in nice suits, with a “Make America Great Again” hat framing their smiling faces. They are in your classrooms, they’ll post questionable articles on Facebooks, or make questionable comments about affirmative action or pro-choice policy at parties or gatherings. 

If you called them racist, they would deny it to no end. They would say things like “I don’t agree with everything he stands for.” If you called them ignorant or privileged, they would accuse you of spreading “hate.” And yet, in that polling booth, they quietly sealed the fate of millions of Americans who did not look them, who were not straight white males. 

This silent majority of pro-Trump white, educated males exists. We know that now. But how did they get to this hateful ideology in the first place? Writer Siyanda Mohutsiwa took to Twitter to explain how this radical white male took the polls by storm:

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 All of these pro-Trump people suddenly posting on social media about their election victory? Not so surprising anymore. 

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 It’s easy to assume stereotypes, but never underestimate the power of a couple of angry white guys on the Internet. 

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The moment white masculinity is threatened by even the smallest progress made to help minorities from all groups, they react with fear and anger. They begin to play victim in a system that has benefited them for hundreds of years. 

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(PUA = pick up artist)

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Education does not make you immune to falling for false ideas that cater to your own benefit and privilege. 

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This kind of behavior is dangerous, and it is textbook radicalization in the 21st century. 

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This toxic ideology has spread like wildfire, across the Internet and in colleges and high schools. Contrary to what many of these young, male Trump supporters believe, they are not the victims here. Their silence because of fear of “hate” and “persecution” is misguided and ignorant. In the end, they are the ones with the most privilege in this country. They never faced the very real, institutional oppression minorities have to endure on a daily basis and yet they have been programmed to believe a fabricated victim mentality. 

For so many people, our country is now a place of fear and uncertainty. Young, educated white males are part of the reason why we are in this position. They chose to stay silent, but, on the ballot, they made their voices known. Now we are one step closer to understanding the complexities behind this Trump victory. 

(Screenshots via Twitter)

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