"White power" flare-up in retirement haven reveals tensions

“It’s like a powder keg here,” said resident Alan Stone. “And Trump is just stirring the pot.”

In the past, when conflicting political views came up in The Villages, residents said it was best to say, “I disagree,” and quickly change the topic. But the emphasis on good manners has been tested like never before in recent months with the spread of the new coronavirus, the resulting stock market gyrations for a population that largely lives off retirement investments, the presidential race and the calls for racial justice following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police…

The Trump parade occurred June 14 in the planned community immediately after a vigil was held by an African American philanthropic group to honor Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement. Most of the attendees at the vigil had left by the start of the Trump parade, although a white woman wearing “Black Lives Matter” on her shirt shouted profanities at the Trump supporters as they drove by in golf carts. A man driving by in a golf car responded by shouting, “White Power,” a racist slogan associated with white supremacists.

“Most people, up until now, even if people felt that way, it was socially unacceptable to voice it,” Hardy said of the man’s remark. “The difference is under Trump, you can spew that hatred. What has changed is now it’s more acceptable.”