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This is the normalization of the most dangerous racism the United States has seen in a generation. “Unfortunate,” as Paul Ryan would mutter (again). Never “racist” — though it clearly is.
Most Americans are coming around to an understanding that normalizing sexual predation represents an existential threat to the nation. White supremacy is — we should know by now — no less threatening. The harms in each are eerily similar.
Both cause direct pain, either in the lives of women or people of color. The promise of equal dignity on which the republic stands has been qualified, discounted or, in many cases, repudiated altogether.
Then there are the larger structural effects of a system whose most powerful stewards can impose their hateful assumptions across all the institutions that matter — immigration policy, employment rules, pay standards. These institutions are the embodiment of larger ideas like access, control and equality; ideas we Americans like to lecture the world about.
If women can be casually and habitually objectified in the workplace, they will never challenge the norms of male power successfully. Male power will be rewarded and women will always have less than they deserve.
If people of color can be casually subordinated as coming from “shithole” cultures, neighborhoods, families or brains, they will never overcome a system of that offers them less.
Even if the harms of casual misogyny and racism are already known, what’s less clear is how they are perpetuated. Two powerful forces come to mind.