I do think that might be part of it. Some of these people are ones who have grown older, and apparently more rotten. But, some of them are people I have known my whole life, like family members and long-time friends of the family and in them, I have seen a change. Like they’ve been given permission to say these things allowed in groups. And, when I’ve talked to my family about it they’ve also said that these kinds of comments have started in the past few years. I don’t think Trump made anyone racist. I think his rhetoric has made people feel like their beliefs are okay, and justified. Especially around other white people. The tone is often like, “Hey — aren’t you glad we can say this shit now?” It bothered me a lot and I asked a lot of people I know about it and it hasn’t just been in my family and circles. A lot of people have told me they’ve been experiencing similar changes in friends and family over the past couple of years. America had a racism problem long before Trump, but his rhetoric feels like a permission slip to every bigot in America.

Columnist and author. My writing is like a bunch of people at a party trying to tell different jokes at the same time. benjamindavis.substack.com

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