If anyone takes the time out of their Independence Day celebrations to read this, I will likely not make any friends. It is even more likely that I could lose some. But, then those wouldn’t be real friends anyway, right?
America, the beautiful … land of the free … from sea to shining sea …I am here to inform all of you that on this day when many people in our country celebrate the day settler colonialists broke free from their mother land – we – as a nation of awkwardly free people, must give thanks to the one Donald Trump. It seems such a dumb thing to do – to give an absolute narcissist great praise for being an idiot – but this, we all must do.
Let me tell you why.
In our country, that we love, one of the most difficult conversations to have surrounds race, racism, their institutionalization and the degrees to which people of color have to suffer as they navigate a highly racialized social system. Many good hearted humans, even the white liberals who I am about to throw some shade on, have tried to help people understand how pervasive racism is. Some of these people – blinded by effectively orchestrated propaganda – would tell us how delusional we were and how much progress we have made since the civil rights era. Their knee-jerk denials would shut down in attempt to truly understand how racism operates.
It was those times like when Trayvon Martin got killed; when Michael Brown got killed; when Eric Garner got choked to death on camera; when Sandra Bland ended up dead after a failure to signal; when Obama was being called a Muslim, telling us we were drinking the “Kool-Aid” and wanting to see his birth certificate; when Sonia Sotomayor was being nominated for the Supreme Court; when Dylan Roof killed innocent church goers; when another known white supremacist went to a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and killed 7 people; it was times like these when people of color (and many white liberals) would try to help people understand the depths and extents of internalized, systemic, racism and its operation within our common world that people went into deep denial or simply ignored us or avoided conversation about this deadly killer.
Because many people, some white liberals included, told us to give cops the benefit of the doubt when Michael Brown got shot in the head with his hands raised in the air. Some people actually rationalized that Darren Wilson – the same height and size of Michael Brown – was somehow so afraid of this unarmed teenager that he had to kill him. They did the same thing with George Zimmerman – but we have all come to know that he is absolutely out of his mind. But, the system sure did make him look oh so white and innocent didn’t they? He even got hundreds of thousands of dollars of support.
Many of these same people would shoot down conversations about race/racism because, “Look, there’s a black President. That’s proof that there is less racism now than there ever was.” We would refer them to statistics that revealed the unemployment rate for black men, but, there was still no ability to truly come to grips with the facts of how deeply embedded racism is in the fabric of our society.
See, after the Civil Rights Movement, racism went deeply covert. Overt practices of sicking dogs on people, publicly lynching them without consequence, and denying baseball players/entertainers hotel rooms because of segregation while enjoying their music and hoping they win you a World Series – had to fall deeper into the shadows of the American unconscious psyche. This gave rise to more covert practices such as the War on Drugs, (while the CIA was pumping drugs into the inner-city) which led to heightened criminalization of black bodies, inflated the prison-industrial complex, while increasing black on black violence – especially as it was related to competition over drug operations (this is also the case with Latino urban communities as well).
People who are aware of these things, tried to help those who are unaware understand these covert practices. But, denial is a difficult thing to break through. Thus, let us take this time to thank Donald Trump for poking into the eyes of your denial.
In this country that we love we have an out-of-the-closet racist, sexist, xenophobe as the Republican nominee to become President of the United States. Because of this, I believe that it becomes harder and harder to deny the deadly reality of systemic racism. This is not solely based on his ascendancy to a step away from the War Room, this is based in the hundreds of thousands (millions?) of supporters he has. These supporters are everyday people, from everyday walks of life, that believe in and throw their money behind his fascist campaign.
This is why I believe that Donald Trump places more fear in the white liberal than he does in people who are knowledgeable about how history has played out. It is my contention that many of these folks that are on the “Defeat Trump” ticket are some of the people who have lived in denial for so long and wish America’s ugly history of racist brutality would just go away. It is like Donald Trump is a horrible nightmare that they wish they could wake up from so we can put back on the rose colored glasses and live in denial about the very fundamental realities of systemic racism (sexism, etc. but – focusing on racism here). But, the thing is … you can’t wish racism away. You will have to deal with it – directly.
The Carpet Bombing Trump is less of a nightmare, I believe, to people who understand history. Did we already forget Hurrican Katrina? Obama has deported more immigrants than any other president in history. Reagan, Bush, Sr. and Bill Clinton incarcerated millions of black and brown people in the War on Drugs. We shouldn’t have to recount anything pre-Civil Rights Era. Bush Jr. and Obama (with Hillary’s help) have led the killing of over 2 million Muslim people since 9/11. Why should we be MORE afraid of Trump?
Donald Trump’s rise is not a wake up call as much as it is a clear manifestation of the dark evils of our country coming out of the dark into the light of day. Thank you, Donald. I thank Donald Drumpf because these issues that he embodies and galvanizes support around have hid in the shadows for too long and if we want to heal the ways in which racism has fractured our humanity and the communities we share, then it is absolutely imperative that we know and see exactly what we are up against. It has to come to the light.
The final note: it is likely that the Donald will lose the election. But, then we may also lose an opportunity to really understand and wrestle with how racism is deeply embedded in our psycho-social body politic. Because here’s the thing: Donald Trump may lose and go back to his mansions and billions. But, all of his supporters will go back to teaching in the classroom, roaming our streets in police cars, making important political decisions as elected officials, sitting on the bench as judges, or having the power to hire you – or not.
These are the basic realities of systemic racism and thanks to Donald Trump we get to look at it (them) up close and very directly. Denial is deadly, but indifference is deadlier.