Do you really think we are living in the ‘Post Racial Society’, as the many conservative talk show hosts and pundits would have us believe – and unabashedly spew forth each and every day? Well I don’t; but you have to give them credit for trying. It would be interesting, albeit disturbing, to open up their minds to see if they actually believe it themselves.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, and initial weeks of the Trump presidency, we’ve been treated to some real cretins who lack any social graces or guile and repeatedly spew vile bigotry into our homes through the airwaves. Since Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20th, reports of hate-fueled taunts and threats have surged. Swastikas and graffiti declaring “Sieg Heil 2016” were reportedly spray-painted in South Philadelphia. “Trump!” was scrawled on the door to a prayer room used by Muslim students at New York University. A gay pride flag was burned in Rochester, New York. And the apparent effigy of a black man was hanged above the entrance to a coffee shop in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, dangling from the end of a rope. Trump’s election has also emboldened Republican lawmakers to let loose with inflammatory racist comments. Rep. Steve King drew national attention when he tweeted “somebody else’s babies” can’t save Western civilization, which many interpreted as an endorsement of white nationalism. In January, Rep Mo Brooks said a “war on whites” was responsible for criticisms of then Sen. Jeff Sessions ahead of his confirmation vote for attorney general. In early February, Sen. Ted Cruz called Democrats the “party of the Ku Klux Klan” while defending a rebuke of Sen. Elizabeth Warren for criticizing Sessions; and Rick Santorum accused Obama of not commenting on “black-on-white” crime while he was president.
Back in May 2016, then presidential candidate Trump implied that Gonzalo Curiel, an American citizen born in Indiana and the federal judge presiding over a class action suit against the for-profit Trump University, could not fairly hear the case against him because of his Mexican heritage. “He’s a Mexican,” Trump told CNN. “We’re building a wall between here and Mexico. The answer is, he is giving us very unfair rulings — rulings that people can’t even believe.” In his first week in office, President Trump’s hastily drafted and prematurely implemented an executive order banning refugees and immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries, which led to the promulgation of a bevy of half-truths and outright lies.
Granted, Trump’s remark about Curiel and his executive order may arguably have nothing to do with the disturbing acts reported above – and their outcomes may not be comparable – but when taken collectively with many other such documented examples of tone-deaf racial comments – they prove beyond a doubt that we do not live in a Post Racial Society when it comes to Power, Politics and Legislation.
And let’s not forget Cliven Bundy, the cattle rancher from Bunkerville, Nevada that Fox, et. al. tried hard to turn into a folk hero in 2014, until he suggested that the ‘Negro’ was better off in slavery. Shock and awe – his words sent all his hero worshippers scurrying for cover. He said what they thought – well, damn it, why’d he have to go and do that? The truth is, all those folks in Congress and the talking heads on Fox didn’t simply latch onto good ole’ Cliven because he made “good sense” espousing the theory of Eminent Domain and that the Federal Government really didn’t exist. There was another reason, which I’ll get to in a minute.
Also, lets not forget the wonder of the 1%. Yes, I am talking about, Donald Sterling. He had his dirty laundry aired and it didn’t go over too well! Players took to Tweeter, along with many others who had something to say about his low and ugly comments regarding his ‘ownership’ of those that he contracted with to play ball for him. Of course, some came to his defense with cries of, ‘he was set up!’ and, ‘he shouldn’t be penalized for what was a private conversation!’ Power is a funny thing though; ultimately, money talks and he didn’t have enough to override the entire NBA and public opinion.
So you may ask, what do these two loud and proud members of the old school and their pronouncements have in common with President Trump and his merry band of cabinet appointees, or with what many think but don’t say aloud where others can hear?
- Wealth (Obscene to somewhat obscene)
- Age (Old)
- Ignorance (Absolute)
- Race (Caucasian)
Yes, they are all Rich, Old, Ignorant, White Men.
It is as simple as that. In my personal opinion, if we are going to achieve a ‘Post Racial’ society, it is up to those of us who enjoy the privilege of walking down streets, through stores and through life without worry for our lives or our freedom to undo Racism. The simple truth is only White people can teach the next generation about racism, bigotry and prejudice; thus only White people can undo social and institutional racism.
The victims of social and institutional racism can teach us about the harm it does; but they cannot undo the harm, as they are not in our homes teaching our children from an early age. Legislative remedies can go only so far in correcting institutional harm, what we see across our nation is proof of this truth. President Trump and supporters, Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling are examples of bad behaviors that lead to racist outcomes.
Another example is the reaction to our first Black President in the White House.
Asses have been up on shoulders ever since Obama won his first term as President. As much as there are those who say it is not about the half of Barack Obama that is Black, the simple truth is what other reason could it possibly be? This nation saw this man as a Black man, with a Black wife and Black children, move into the House that slaves built and, frankly, lost its collective mind. In an attempt to delegitimize Obama’s presidency, Trump led a nonstop birther movement with a vengeance, and only ended the charge recently with great reluctance and feeble acknowledgement that President Obama was born in the US. Never in the history of this nation has any President battled Congress for even the smallest of small steps toward compromise. Never in the history of this nation has any President faced a Congress that would rather see the nation fail than have a President succeed. Not Race? Please give us credit for not being complete idiots.
Now, back to old Cliven and Donald. What has happened to them?
Donald got some comeuppance. His money wasn’t enough in the face of what would be lost by the league if players wouldn’t play and sponsors wouldn’t pay. Banned for life from games and a paltry (in the face of the size of his bank account) fine. Other owners forced him to sell his team, and succeeded.
As for good ole’ boy Cliven, well all his friends at Fox and in Congress, they deserted him like rats from a sinking ship and were quick to let all know that they disagreed with his ‘Negro’ comments. Who didn’t disagree? Well let’s see, how about all those great patriots with their guns? You know, the ‘Militia’, the ones who drew down on government officials trying to do their jobs, who put women out in front as targets. Yeah those ones. They camped out on the side of the roads, fighting each other and terrorizing the locals with their roadblocks until they finally disbanded. Good old Cliven, he still owes the Government $1M plus still stands in front of the American Flag (of the government he doesn’t believe in) and fails miserably to understand what he did was so wrong.
Cliven lost his sponsors, Fox News, Donald Trump and his supporters. Cliven should have gone to jail, along with his little buddies the militia. Donald didn’t do anything illegal (this time), simply chose to act immorally and unethically.
An interesting read I borrowed from Frank of A Frank Angle fame, shows perhaps why some are so terribly fearful of their place in this ever changing world, http://www.pewresearch.org/next-america/#The-New-Us
The moral? Yes, there is a moral. We do not live in a post-racial society, not by a very long shot. We are getting there albeit slowly. The next generation, for the most part, are beginning to say, “no more”. Society is changing; our outlooks and views are changing. The younger generations are beginning to question the ignorance and intolerance of those who came before them. Is it fast enough to undo the harm that is being done today?
Not in my opinion. From my perspective, there are still too few of us who feel the way I do to make a profound difference. What can you do? Speak out! Be part of the growing resistance and start teaching your children what is right, stop ignorance now.