In an article published on The American Prospect website, UW Political Science Professor Christopher Parker addresses the question of whether Donald Trump's run for president is an opportunity for a more honest confrontation of race relations in the United States. Drawing upon the rich history of American race relations, Prof. Parker argues that “Trump is advancing the national conversation about race in ways that may actually be good for the United States.” He points out, however, that “this analysis only refers to Trump’s candidacy—not to a Trump presidency.” To make this case, Professor Parker explains:
It’s not a stretch to say that Trump’s candidacy could even do more to advance racial understanding than the election of Barack Obama as the nation’s first African American president. For all the talk that Obama’s election might usher in a post-racial society, the evidence suggests that race relations actually became more rancorous after his election, not less. For instance, Obama’s occupancy of the White House has increased antipathy toward blacks on the part of some whites who believe blacks have been slacking. Their reasoning: If a black man can become president, racism must no longer be a problem, if it ever were one.
Contrary to that assessment, “Trump’s clear bigotry,” Parker argues, “makes it impossible for whites to deny the existence of racism in America.” Thus, his candidacy for president “compels whites to honestly confront the persistence of racism.” Prof. Parker further underscores this argument by noting that presidential elections often put race relations on the frontline of national discourse.
The article entitled "Do Trump’s Racist Appeals Have a Silver Lining?"appeared on The American Prospect website on May 19, 2016.