A hypothetical situation: if a white man was asked about his reaction to the murders of black men and women at the hands of law enforcement, and responded: “That’s terrible. So are white people. So are white people.” And what would you say if that same person, when asked about the Confederate flag and its recent removal from NASCAR, responded: “I know people that like the Confederate flag, and they’re not thinking about slavery,” the president said. “I look at NASCAR. You go to NASCAR. You had those flags all over the place. They stopped it. I just think it’s freedom of speech, whether it’s Confederate flags or Black Lives Matter or anything else you want to talk about. It’s freedom of speech?”
Would you think that this man was a white supremacist and supported slavery? I couldn’t blame you: so do I. Every black man, woman, and child in America understands what it means to have a history of slavery in their past, or if not from Africa suffered treatment as second-class citizens by white men and women.
I’m not playing games; this is just another piece of evidence that Trump is America’s leading racist and the protector of fascist hate groups around the world. His devotion to Vladimir Putin offers confirmation that he is an ignorant, arrogant, would-be dictator.
Imagine if you were a member of the KKK, the Proud boys, the Aryan Brotherhood, the Boogaloo Bois, or others and you had been hiding beneath the slime in swamps and cesspools for years, and all of a sudden the most powerful man in the world protected and even praised you for your beliefs in white supremacy, while justifying your hatred for people of color? How would you feel? You would be elated. You had a true leader in a position of great power.
Those of us who have followed Trump’s pitiful life for decades were aware of his racist beliefs. We have known what and who he is for many years. So, when he spoke to the press after the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August of 2017, and claimed that “there were good people on both sides,” I and many others were not surprised. It’s what we expected.
Since the beginning of his campaign in June of 2015 it was obvious that he harbored enormous hatred for Hispanics. His family history is filled with acts of racism and bigotry. From his grandfather Friedrich, and his father Fred, he learned to hate everyone who was not pure white. I have no doubt that he passed this on to his Klan. We may find more information about this probability when Mary Trump’s book is released today.
Trump continues to deny that systemic racism exists in America’s law enforcement. His denial will not make it go away. Efforts to downplay the degree of racism in law enforcement are also failing. The murder of George Floyd was the catalyst which began today’s movement, and it will not end this time until something is done to change the system.
I grew up white in America with white privilege. I believed that the police were the ‘good guys;’ the men in blue depicted by the artist Norman Rockwell. How naive was I? Only when I left private school and went to a public high school for two years did I learn about the fact that there are two Americas: one for whites and one for minorities.
Since 1619, when the first slaves from Africa stepped onto the soil of the “new world,” black men and women have been treated as lesser than equals by the majority of white men and women.
Racism and bigotry are the reasons our nation has never been “great.” Trump’s ridiculous red hats refer to our nation’s dark past when his family and millions of others were proud that black Americans were refused their Constitutional rights. This is the true meaning of “make America great again.”
Op-ed by James Turnage
My eight novels, including “Sheena, Queen of the Streets,” are available on Amazon’s free Kindle app