CNN contributor Van Jones used the phrase “Whitelash” to describe Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election. What does the word Whitelash mean? Whitelash is a race-based term describing a counterattack against the loss of empowerment that middle and lower class whites — and even Western elites — feel in the wake of globalization and its effects at home and abroad.
Back in August Van Jones said that even if Donald Trump went away, you’d “still have this problem of Whitelash in the West.” He asked “What are you going to do about the sense of loss?” The sense of loss that triggers Whitelash is twofold: it strikes the disenfranchised Trump voters who feel their livelihoods threatened by the “other” — both within America (immigrants) and outside (i.e. Chinese factory workers who “steal” American jobs). Whitelash also describes the upending of American Exceptionalism — or Western Exceptionalism — that comes with the rise of China and other non-white global powers.