Thanks for your very thorough and insightful comment. I think of 50 years ago being 1960 or so, but of course, it’s more like 60 years. I think you are spot on about the fear and also about wanting to live in a pre-Civil Rights (and also pre-women’s rights) era.
Conservatives want to conserve the way things have been. That’s a part of the origin of that term. They also tend to believe in the rightness of the dominance hierarchy and authoritarian structures. Within those frameworks, acknowledging fear or uncertainty is considered very weak, and liable to get you eaten by the next dog over in the dog-eat-dog world. They see it as only right to be able to dominate and abuse those below them on the pyramid or power, and in turn they will take domination from the richer, more powerful white men above them. For such people, that’s just the way of the world.
I don’t believe we will ever make any real headway on racism (or sexism or homophobia, etc.) until we address that social structure and instead move towards one that is more partnership-oriented.