During the past six months, I've watched media outlets work themselves into a tizzy over the violence and hatred orchestrated by Donald Trump supporters. Commentators act like this is a relatively new phenomenon. But I know firsthand how any challenge to the nation's established racial order makes some white folks lose their minds and their decorum.
For more than a decade, I wrote a column in the Chicago Tribune that often focused on race. Before Trump gave his supporters license to give in to their lesser selves and convey their hatred in mixed company, they did so in my email box. They are part of a disaffected angry knot of Americans who feel as though they've been bruised by diversity.
My experience isn't unique. Any writer who has dared train a lens on race, women's issues, social justice issues, immigration, abortion, sexuality, you name it, has faced some of the most vile backlash around.
Once, my neighbor, a dear friend who happens to be a white Republican woman, said to me, "I don't know how you read the comments at the end of your column."