“Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition.” – Isaac Asimov
To think there are some who believe journalists who write about racism in America somehow get a kick out of it. As if our fervor, passion and commitment to call out the country of our origin for maleficence and hypocrisy is anything less than a holy calling.
Indeed, for many who cover race in America on a regular basis, it is a source of constant stress and sleepless nights, not to mention being mostly thankless. To many, we’re a part of the problem, as if pointing out racism is complicit in actual racism. The angst of a million mourners, the weight of information is heavy upon the hearts of many in the Black Media.
When unpacking America’s current situation, nerds of history can easily trace our current situation back to the years that immediately followed the Reconstruction Era. The American white supremacy virus that lives in her central nervous system immediately reacts whenever the country moves closer to true equality and representation for people of color. The Reconstruction Era officially ended in 1877 when the last of federal troops withdrew to the North.
Black interests were compromised as the Republicans abandoned Black survivors to be terrorized by their former white oppressors, free of government intervention. Is it a coincidence that the lynchings of African Americans increased after Reconstruction?
In 1882 there were more Whites being lynched in America than Blacks and it remained that way until 1886, the first year on record where the number of Blacks who were murdered in this manner surpassed the White tally. By 1968, according to numbers from Tuskegee Institute, there were only 1,297 Whites lynched compared to 3,445 Blacks. Years and years of political, social and economic countermeasures in support of America’s original sin have resulted in very little change since Reconstruction. For every check, there is a racist counter that locks into place like the gears to a great mechanism.
In 2016, the ambivalence of 62,979,879 Americans is as apparent as our countrymen’s fear of progressive measures. That’s the number of individuals who voted for reigning President Donald J. Trump, whose authoritarian measures have even horrified some of his supporters.
He’s taking measures to build a wall on the border with Mexico, has enacted what is loosely being called a “Muslim Ban”, which actually is only a band against seven Muslim nations and bypasses nations in which he has business interests, and has placed Breibart website owner Stephen Bannon on the National Security Council, in effect demoting seasoned veterans with experience. His site was known for spreading fake news and is loved by white nationalists, anti-globalists and rabid conspiracy theorists. He has zero government experience and zero intelligence experience.
The nation is aghast at the circumstances that are unfolding in the country within the first week of Trump’s presidency. As much as we prayed otherwise over New Year’s Eve cocktails and cigars, this year is starting to make 2016 look like a warm-up to Armageddon.
White liberals are like ‘This is un-American’ as Trump signs measure after measure restricting civil liberties, but many Black folks are looking like ‘Shoooot, this is kinda, sorta, really American. As American as it gets.”
The same America that decimated the Native population, used slaves to accelerate its economic growth, forbade women to vote until 1919, still attempts to sabotage black voter rights, and refuses to come to a consensus on women’s reproductive rights. An America that wants to be all up in our bedrooms and policing what we watch on television. The same America that allegedly became involved in the drug trade in order to fund the Contras in the ’80s.
The same America in which a White woman can allege a 14-year-old Black boy accosted her, resulting in his brutal, senseless death, only to admit to her lie six decades later? That America? The same America that elected a president that’s trying to confirm Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, a known racist, as a viable candidate for Attorney General? The same Jeff Sessions that once proposed state legislation to execute twice convicted marijuana dealers while Attorney General of Alabama? That dude?
By the way, the mass deportations and fortifying the Mexican border are not new ideas and were first presented by former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan. During his run, he proposed militarizing the United States border with Mexico. But many conveniently forget that Senator Obama supported a border fence in 2006 and presided over the largest deportation numbers in U.S. history as President.
So, keep telling yourself otherwise, but all this depressing crap you see on your TV screen, and in your history book, is not from an extremist fringe, but it is extremely American. Of course it’s not the entire country that wants these things, but the way democracy is set up, we all are complicit when authoritarian measures are allowed to slip through the democratic process.
But there is hope because protest is American, too.
Protests are what started the American Revolution and free speech is the First Amendment of the Constitution. Free speech came into play over the past three days as protests rage across the nation over Trump’s Executive Orders against immigration at JFK airport and Battery Park in New York City, as well as at airports in San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston and others.
Just days ago, Judge Ann M. Donnelly of Federal District Court in Brooklyn ruled that Trump’s order to send refugees trapped at various US airports back to their countries of origin would cause them ‘Irreparable harm’.
She further stated the government was ‘enjoined and restrained from, in any manner and by any means, removing individuals” would arrived in the United States with valid visas or refugee status.This never would have happened if it were not for the American Civil Liberties Union’s lawsuit in defense of those trapped. But this is only the first salvo in what is sure to be a drawn out and barbarous war.
While Donald J. Trump’s policies are deplorable, and his decisions dangerous, there are signs that he will not be allowed to do simply do whatever he wishes. Yes, there are great indicators that those who still practice in democracy will continue the good fight, as well as signs that the mainstream media is beginning to correct the dire mistake of legitimizing racists, by challenging him. I wish they had done so prior to the election.
But, I guess, it’s all about the process. Checks and balances, right? (fingers crossed).
However, at times I imagine I wouldn’t mind an authoritarian hand in favor of abolishing white supremacy instead of being in favor of maintaining it. Then I come to my senses. Unlike Trump and like-minded individuals, I don’t need to step on the throats of others to validate my existence no matter what I’ve gone through or the moral crimes that are still being visited upon individuals with which I share a genetic, economic and cultural background.