I have always heard that America was a dangerous place for non-whites, but thought that with the election of Barack Obama the country was on its way to redemption.
Then along came Donald J Trump.
When he said “Make America Great Again”, Trump knew full well that it had never been great for non-white people, but that did not matter as that sector had never been important to him. You see, racism is in his DNA.
This he made abundantly clear when his regime used brutal methods on even babies, coming from south of the border while ruing the fact that more people from Norway were not migrating to the USA! This was quickly followed by his charges that Haitians and Nigerians were from “sh.. hole” countries.
I suppose even these types of racist remarks should not have been surprising since he had become the de facto leader of white supremacists from 2014, when he led the charge to try and discredit Obama through the “birther conspiracy”.
Oh no, I would never claim Trump is the father of white supremacy in the USA, but he certainly gave it legitimacy when he, as president, described Klan members, neo-nazis, and other white supremacists who demonstrated in Charlottesville in 2017, as very good people. Despite all this and the number of cruel murders and lynchings of blacks by the white establishment, amazingly those seeking justice remained very patient until May 2020.
It took a chilling video of Derek Chauvin, a white policeman in Minnesota, murdering George Floyd in plain view and in slow motion, with his hand nonchalantly in his pocket, for the bubble to burst. And this was over a $20 bill which they claimed was fake, but which turned out to be real!
This event followed closely on the heels of a series of blatant, racist events, also in full colour, which would have aroused even the angels in heaven.
Among the incidents which immediately preceded this horrific murder were the video widely circulated on social media, in which a woman is heard questioning her baby daughter who is clearly just learning to speak, about where her snacks were. The child replied “a black man stole them” and the mother laughed in approval, for her child had certainly learned her lesson well; the news of a Georgia pastor, claiming he had been robbed and abducted by black men to cover up the fact that he was spending the time he could not be found in a hotel with a man he met in Craigslist; the news of the mother in Florida claiming her son was abducted by black men when the truth was she had killed her own child by drowning him; the situation in Georgia, where the authorities had, for 74 days, (from February to May) refused to arrest the father and son team of white supremacists — Gregory and Travis McMichael — who had murdered an unarmed black jogger, Ahmaud Arbery; andthe clear expectation by the lying Amy Cooper that she could get a policeman to come to brutalize or kill an Afro-American bird-watcher in Central Park for allegedly threatening her, when indeed all he had done was to tell her to obey the law and leash her dog!
The straw, however, was the brutal murder, in slow motion, of George Floyd.
While, thanks to cellphone users, there have been regular videos of the racist police and white supremacists murdering unarmed black people all over the USA, they have been getting away with it because only 1% of the police has ever been convicted for such murders. Before this, the white establishment always claimed such incidents were isolated events. In May 2020 however, the truth about systemic, dangerous racism in the USA was exposed for the entire world to see, and millions said “No more”.
While some of the peaceful demonstrations against the murders and injustice in the USA have been marred by criminals, white racists, and other agent provocateurs infiltrating the demonstrations to try and discredit them, they have failed. It is now clear that some of the agent provocateurs had hoped their actions would provide their leader with a reason to bring soldiers into the streets to kill peaceful demonstrators. Happily, that too failed.
What has been particularly inspiring over these last few days is the vast number of white people, predominantly the young, who have joined in the cry for justice throughout the world. They are consciously putting their lives in danger for the cause, knowing they face the possibility of becoming infected by the killer coronavirus. With the extent of media coverage (even Fox news covered them impartially), it appears that for the first time a large sector of white America now realizes how oppressive the system has been to black citizens, and that must change.
As Al Sharpton said most appropriately, for centuries, the establishment has kept their knees on the necks of minorities, and the message finally seems to be getting through. This is borne out by the ABC poll of June 5, which found that 74% of Americans now recognize that systemic racism is a problem.
However, the bad news is, more than 25% refuse to accept this and this amounts to around 80 million people, many of whom are in influential positions. This is why those calling for people to make sure that real progress is made by voting are on target.
Yes, it is clear that if equality is ever to be achieved, Trump has to go. But he is only the tip of the iceberg, for, while some things can be corrected at the federal level, it is at local government that real reform will be meaningful.
Take the case of police forces clearly having a significant number of recruits drawn from organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan and other racist groups, that can only be dealt with at the local level. At the local level too, many district attorneys are elected and that is also where you find influential political idiots like Cynthia Brehm, a GOP chairwoman in Texas, who said in a tweet, that George Floyd’s murder was staged! The system at the local level is rife with powerful people like her.
Yes, peaceful demonstrations have their role, but until the systemic problems at the local level which have led to numerous injustices like: 50% of non-whites being unemployed while only 21% are employed; outright bias in the sentencing of non-whites in the courts; unfair and murderous treatment by the police: chronic underfunding of schools in black areas and the poor health care for minorities which has led to the coronavirus wreaking havoc, George Floyd’s death and the death of so many other innocents, will have been in vain for very little will change for the minorities.
And without real change at the legislative level in local government, racist presidents like Trump will continue to stand in the way of progress.