This summer, the world was shocked as white nationalists, neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan took to the streets in Charlottesville, Virginia to protest against the removal of a statue of confederate General Robert E. Lee. Just weeks before the violence erupts, journalist Gary Younge meets one of the speakers from the Charlottesville rallies, the self-styled leader of the alt-right Richard Spencer, and in an explosive exchange attempts to get under the skin of his controversial views.
It’s one of a series of telling encounters in Gary Younge’s journey across the United States a year after Donald Trump was elected. He explores how falling living standards, decreasing life expectancy and a demographic time-bomb that could see them become a minority within a generation, has sent some white Americans into angry retreat. Younge, an award-winning journalist, who spent 12 years living in and reporting on America, has a love-hate relationship with the country.
For decades, understanding race in America meant commentators focussed on black people. This time, Gary Younge flips the script and talks only to white Americans, as he drives from the whitest state in the union, Maine, to the blackest, Mississippi. He visits the northern communities of Johnstown, Pennsylvania and Portland, Maine – both cities left behind by disappearing jobs and epidemic levels of drug abuse – and hears how Trump’s emotional appeal to white people helped him secure victory in former democratic heartlands. In New Orleans, 200 years after the civil war that ended slavery, Gary finds Southern supporters of the Confederate leader, Robert E. Lee, interrogates their attitudes to the confederate flag and learns why Trump resonates with them.
Director: Jenny Ash
Executive Producer: Lucy Pilkington
Production Company: Sugar Films
Angry, White And American airs Thursday 9 November 2017 from 10.00pm-11.05pm on Channel 4.