They welcomed him back because this is America. They felt no shame or hesitation in doing so because they know they can rely on the great American narrative about racism which goes something along the lines of: “S/he did/said that?! Well, that was a long time ago and things are different now.” Yep, this phrase has been around since the Emancipation, and will continue to be around until we recognize it for what it is — a feel-good immaturity which absolves us of all things racist. It works like this: All instances of present-day racism are denied as being racist (the fact of Trump being president, reactions to NFL players kneeling, mass incarceration, the bail system, police shootings, ad nauseum) and then later, in ten or 20 or 30 years, will be recognized as racist (with the comforting barrier of time allowing them to say “But that was so long ago”) followed up by “But things are different now.”
This is something every Black American is familiar with — white denial of racism except as something that occurred in the past — and the vast majority of white Americans deny. Yes, white Americans deny their denial. Keep your shirt in its bag and keep on writing and letting us know what’s up. You are appreciated.