Observing Van Jones cry on CNN, Twitter posts of #thisisnotus and other well-meaning folks cry and wring their hands because the president has exposed the real U.S., is an indication of self-deception.
Jones and folks who share his affinities had convinced themselves that this is not a racist nation. Yet the evidence, recent and not so recent, along with the country’s past indicate the opposite.
The U.S. has been organized around white supremacy since the first settlers set foot on the land. Yet folks are surprised that a rich white guy, Donald Trump has ascended to the presidency who is sympathetic to white supremacy.
Those in doubt should have had it removed by his recent actions and remarks. Trump not only doubled down on the idea that those standing against racism and intolerance in Charlottesville were equally as bad as the racist mob, but he identified himself as one of the racist mob. “What about the alt left that came charging at U.S.,” he asked during his latest press conference on the issue. Freudian slip indeed!
Trump received the best Eurocentric education in multicultural, multi-ethnic North America that money could buy. The entire education system is based on the glories and wonders of Western European history and culture. Yes, subtle white supremacy begins in the schools.
The current president joins a long and distinguished list of white supremacists to occupy the highest office in the land, including Andrew Johnson, Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson with the most notable being Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.
Known as the great emancipator, Lincoln was an ardent emigrationist because he didn’t think Black people had the capacity of white people and would probably be better off in their own country.
In one of his famous debates with Sen. Stephen Douglas, Lincoln explained to the crowd, “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races … I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races from living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be a position of superior and inferior and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”
Oh yeah, white supremacy is U.S.
If it appears an exaggeration, folks should remind themselves that the Settlers spent the first 300 years of the republic pillaging and pilfering Native American and Mexican land in the name of Manifest Destiny. Enslavement of Africans to benefit the rich white population was the order of the day and even after its end, it was replaced by a racial caste system, Jim Crow segregation. The young country also limited immigration by Asians, Africans, Jews and even some European immigrants who weren’t considered “white enough.”
Even its early foreign policy had a white supremacist tinge as U.S. aggression led to interference in Cuba, the Philippines and Haiti and other Third World countries inhabited by people of color.
Moreover, U.S. interventions overseas have occurred primarily in countries populated by people of color.
Even U.S. sports are not immune. NFL owners are clearly working to keep Colin Kaepernick out of their league, not because he has broken any laws but because he wants an end to racism and police brutality. Imagine that blackballed for standing up for what’s right in the good old USA.
Ironically, fellow citizens continue to acknowledge his right to protest without acknowledging the legitimacy of his protest. And since he too is supposedly a citizen, he doesn’t need their affirmation because as they admit, it is his damned right.
Still ironically, these folks go on and on complaining about his sitting while preaching about the virtues the flag and national anthem represent, like freedom, justice for all, equality under the law and due process of law, but yet are unwilling stand up for them in real life.
If Black citizens aren’t allowed to enjoy the same freedoms as other citizens including freedom from police violence and racism, then that flag is just a rag!
And consider the fact that the mainstream media presents people bent on hatred, intolerance and the destruction of an entire race with the benign moniker, the “alt- right.” If “alt” is slang for “alternative,” and option is a synonym of alternative, then is the MSM implying that far right racists and neo-Nazi’s are an option? Imagine that!
If there was any doubt about who is considered priority and who is not, we need look no further than recent Lansing water crisis. No one doubts that it would not have occurred in a middle-class white community.
Better yet next week marks the 12th anniversary Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans, in particular, its Ninth Ward, which has still not fully recovered, nor has the federal government sought to help rebuild it. The disaster remains one of the most shameful chapters in more recent US history. Folks should recall that during that disaster US citizens; homeless and starving, fleeing the disaster were called looters, refugees and sometimes " N--rs."
And people seem to forget that when organized white supremacy was overt and in full swing, the country wasn’t divided about it. Only a minuscule section of the country’s white citizens actively opposed the lynching and racial terror visited upon their Black sisters and brothers both North and South.
In fact, the system of de facto and de jure segregation (which incidentally fit neatly into US capitalism), was brought down primarily with the initiative of the victims of the system.
No one should lose sight of the fact that Donald Trump didn’t elect himself, large numbers of people voted for him despite his racist and jackass behavior.
And this is the same country in which David Duke received 58,000 votes in his Louisiana run for the U.S. Senate.
Make no mistake this is the U.S.
I suspect that much of the weeping and wailing is a result of the fact that people can no longer hide behind the fairy tale. The whole damned system is not only guilty as hell but rotten to its core. Folks are crying because if this is indeed who “we” are then they will either have to ACTIVELY work to change this system which offers some of them privileges, good benefits and a large measure of creature comforts; or make peace with it. What I suspect Jones and others like him are bemoaning, is that Trump is making it more difficult to sit on the fence.
Folks are going to eventually have to face the ugly truth and take sides, one way or another.
Malcolm X predicted this when he said, “I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those who do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the system of exploitation."
Justice then peace.
First published in Fight the Power Journal on Aug. 18, 2017.