“American Idol” alumnus Clay Aiken tweeted an apology Tuesday that was, frankly, too little and too late.
“Remember all those times I defended [Donald Trump] and believed he was not actually racist?” Aiken wrote. “Well ... I am a f*****g dumbass.”
The singer and actor’s apology came after the bizarre press conference in which President Donald Trump doubled down on his “both sides are to blame” rhetoric following violent white supremacist rallies held in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.
Many were shocked and appalled when the president maintained that there were “very fine people” on the side of the white supremacists, and called out what he described as the “alt-left” for being antagonistic toward literal neo-Nazis.
Because of this, Aiken, and certainly many other white people across the country who once refused to acknowledge Trump’s racism, finally saw the light.
While Aiken opposed Trump during his election campaign, he insisted last year in a Fox Business interview that accusations of Trump being racist and fascist simply went too far.
It’s convenient to ignore racism when you are not affected by it. It’s presumptuous to declare that something or someone is not racist when you have not experienced racism yourself.
This is Trump, the man who dismissed Mexican immigrants as rapists and thieves, who hesitated in disavowing support from former KKK leader David Duke during his campaign, who attacked the grieving parents of a slain Muslim U.S. Army officer, whose company was sued twice for refusing to rent to black people, who launched the birther movement, who stood by the belief that the Central Park Five were guilty (even after they were exonerated), and who condoned the beating of a Black Lives Matter protester at one of his campaign rallies. And that’s just a sampling of the anti-blackness, Islamophobia and tolerance for white supremacist ideology that Trump has continued to foster as president.
Trump would be the first to say that he is “the least racist person that you have ever met,” but whether or not his racism is subtle or overt, the very fact that he was willing to accept the support of white supremacists in exchange for political power is telling.
For the people of color who are directly affected by Trump’s actions and Trump’s rhetoric, who recognized all along that Trump has stoked dangerous ideological fires among white supremacists in America, the fact that some white people like Aiken are now just acknowledging this is incredibly frustrating.
It is, obviously, a good thing that Aiken has recognized he was wrong about Trump, and is willing to admit this in a public space. Few people are. But hopefully Aiken, and other white people who either supported, defended or voted for Trump in spite of his racist track record, will do more than just say they’re sorry ― they’ll make up for it by actively working to dismantle white supremacy.