Glaude is the William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African American Studies at Princeton University and the author ofDemocracy in Black.
In a recent viral video, an unidentified white woman in line at a grocery store in Oregon, dressed in a floral romper and black knee-high boots, overheard a black woman’s phone conversation. She believed this black woman was trying to sell food stamps illegally. The exchange became heated, and the white woman was told, in no uncertain terms, to mind her business. “Oh, it is my business,” the white woman responded. “Because I pay my taxes.” She then said something that, quite frankly, stunned me: “We’re going to build this wall.”
This was not an oddly timed statement about her views on immigration; it was a declaration of her whiteness and, by extension, her view of who belonged in this country. She might as well have called the black woman a nigger. She didn’t. She called the police instead.