While delivering the eulogy for Reverend/State Senator Clementa Pinckney in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015, President Obama said, “None of us can or should expect a transformation in race relations overnight. Every time something like this happens, somebody says, ‘We have to have a conversation about race.’ We talk a lot about race.”
He added, “There’s no shortcut. We don’t need more talk…Once the eulogies have been delivered, once the TV cameras move on, to go back to business as usual. That’s what we so often do to avoid uncomfortable truths about the prejudice that still infects our society.”
Race relations in America continue to be a wound that refuses to heal, despite the time that has passed since slavery and segregation. From police brutality to candidates for President stoking in the flames of bigotry and continually reinforcing racial stereotypes, progress seems to be slowly stalling.
It’s extremely difficult to comprehend how or why we are still dealing with so many racial issues in 2016. What is even crazier is last month’s Presidential election. Based on exit polling from several sources, it appears that Blacks and Hispanics voted for Trump at a higher percentage than they voted for Mitt Romney in 2012.
What the hell is going on? That means that Donald Trump, the man who called Mexicans “rapists” and “killers” and promised to build a wall keeping them out of the U.S. garnered more support from Hispanics than a moderate Republican like Romney.
According to an NBC exit poll, Trump received 29 percent of the Hispanic vote compared to Romney’s 27 percent in 2012.
We are truly in Bizarro World and the Matrix at the same time. And some Black folk have clearly lost their minds as well. African Americans certainly didn’t turn out in big numbers for Trump, but the percentage is still surprising. The same NBC exit poll claims that Trump captured 8 percent of the Black vote compared to the previous Republican nominee’s 6 percent.
Eight percent of African Americans voted for a man that constantly said during speeches that minority neighborhoods are like war zones and you cannot walk down the streets without getting shot. Clearly Mr. Trump has no understanding or respect for Blacks. Excuse me Sir, but all Black folk don’t live in violent poverty stricken communities, In fact, some of us are doing quite well.
OK, I know that the election is over or maybe it’s not with these Russian tampering allegations flying around, but here’s the question at hand – will race relations get better or worse under a Trump administration?
The biggest challenge that minorities will face is the fact that President Elect Trump has placated to white supremacists and those who feel that minorities have had too many gains in America. You may recall that the recurring theme is “Take our country back.”
I remember two election cycles ago, Presidential hopeful and conservative wacko Pat Buchanan wrote an article where he totally disregarded the legitimacy of racism and discrimination in America. In response to Obama’s race relations’ speech, he wrote, “First, America has been the best country on earth for Black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity they have ever known.”
Wow. Yes, America is the greatest country on earth, but it certainly has not been the greatest country for Black folk throughout its history. Buchanan simplified slavery and evilness of enslaving a race by plainly stating that 600,000 black people were brought from Africa as it we were on the Love Boat or some Carnival Cruise.
Well thank you Master. He also obviously feels that we should be thanking the slave masters for our Christian salvation. It is definitely true that many black slaves were introduced to Christianity during slavery, but let’s be real about it.
Slave owners were more interested in using religion as a control mechanism versus trying to save souls.
There is a reason why black folks have a love/hate relationship with America. We love the country and the opportunities that it has provided, but we resent the struggles to simply reach equality – not to have an advantage over anyone, but just to reach equilibrium.
Here is what is scary about the shootings in Charleston, SC church shooting in 2015 – the shooter is not some isolated nut. There are probably thousands of young people who think the same way, but he was fanatical enough to grab a gun and act on his misguided beliefs.
James Baldwin once said, “Color is not a human or a personal reality; it is political reality.” It is that same political reality that Barack Obama has dealt with during his tenure. It’s the same political reality that Pat Buchanan was talking about. We can’t ignore race.
We must embrace our differences and recognize that those differences are what make us such a great nation.
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced,” proclaimed by James Baldwin.
Signing off from Trump Tower, well the alley behind the building,