The mockery and hatred in the 2016 Presidential Election has undoubtedly been pointed at Donald Trump, as far as the Republican party goes. His overtly sexist, racist com
ments constantly appear in the news. While I do agree that Trump’s proposed policies and statements have been extremely problematic, the candidate who actually scares me the most is Ted Cruz.
Cruz’s ideas and statements are just as racist and sexist as Trump’s; they are just covered up better so they remain hidden most of the time. Cruz wears what Eduardo Bonilla-Silva would call the perfectly sewn up coat of colorblind rhetoric. Bonilla-Silva explains that an ideology is similar to a garment of clothing. Garments are stitched together, sometimes neatly and tightly, and sometimes loosely. Using colorblind rhetoric in the most strategic way is like stitching up racist framework so well that people don’t even realize the statements are racist.
Cruz often discusses liberty and opportunity for Americans. This general, seemingly well intentioned statement masks the underlying racism that is evident after recognizing the hidden messages. For example, when speaking in Texas, he told his audience that it was nice to be back in America after spending time in Washington D.C. He continued to explain that liberals fear the “American people.” Although it does not seem obvious in the way he speaks, Cruz has associated American with White, and therefore liberties are associated with White liberties. By having this unspoken connection, he is able to express his racist ideology without actually sounding racist.
His immigrant policy is completely in line with Bonilla-Silva’s “Anything but Race” section of Chapter 3 from his book, Racism Without Racists (2010). When asked about immigrant policy, Cruz directed his answer to the idea of overpopulation, which could result in the lowering of wages. He avoids talking about race and instead speaks more about generally having too many people. Therefore, people are less likely to realize how prejudiced these statements are.
By mastering the colorblind rhetorical strategies, is Cruz actually a more harmful candidate than Trump? He avoids talking directly about race all together, which may be most insidious form of racism as it is much subtler and harder to pinpoint. After all, how can racism be dismantled if it can’t be detected?