Detroit Today has been exploring what the next four years will hold for minority groups. Many racial, ethnic, and religious minorities fear Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric might translate to fewer protections under his administration. They are already seeing an increase in attacks and hateful speech directed their way.
Republicans have long claimed to embody the spirit of individual freedoms and constitutional limits on government power. But Trump ran on a platform of special protections — some say handouts — to his white base.
Who will be the “constitutional saviors” under a Trump administration? Shikha Dalmia, senior analyst for the libertarian think-tank Reason Foundation, says it will be minorities themselves.
Minorities have every reason to heighten their vigilance because they need the constitution’s protections. This is one reason why so many of them are out on the streets protesting Trump’s election. These protests will escalate if the Trump presidency unfolds as expected – as will lawsuits against his administration by civil libertarian outfits. In fact, we may be entering a new era of minority activism.
This is, in a way, in keeping with the constitutional design. The whole purpose of the constitution is to protect the most vulnerable groups from tyranny. The only foolishness is the right-wing fairytale that the abstract commitments of the white majority alone today could be a reliable custodian of America’s freedoms.
Dalmia joins Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to talk about her article.
“Self-interest is a huge driver of rights,” says Dalmia. “When you feel that your rights are being threatened, when you feel it in the gut, you have a different relationship to Lady Liberty than when you feel that it is just something you have to do out of altruism or for the sake of something else.”
“[White people] will march with minorities, but minorities will carry the baton because minorities are the ones that will be directly affected.”
Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.