The economic and social oppression of people of color.
Pundits keep saying, “We are better than this,” that what we are seeing Over and over, individuals on cable news programs have been asked, “Is Donald Trump a racist?” And over and over, they have, for the most part, demurred, not answered at all or deflected to another subject.
We hear, “The president is not a racist.” We hear other lawmakers say that not only is the president not a racist, but neither are they.
And just this morning, the president, who played the race card from the beginning of his run for the presidency, said that the “Democrats always play the race card” when things are not going their way, according to USA Today.
The New York Times wrote that Trump is using race as a political tool to win the 2020 election. It is something, says the newspaper, he has frequently used.
What is troubling is that all of these White lawmakers are refusing to admit their own racism, even as they cower in fear of the president. And what we do not own, we cannot heal.
It is clear that many Whites in power feel that they have the right to ignore sacred texts – i.e., the Bible, in which the God of the Hebrew scriptures and Jesus the Christ repeats that we are to “love our neighbor as ourselves.”
In history, in order to justify ignoring the scripture, White preachers, theologians and scientists taught that African-born were not fully human, and therefore, they were not required to love them. One could only love another human being.
And as concerns the words of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, Whites sidestepped what was written. Preachers, legislators and even presidents said that it was foolish to believe Jefferson’s words that “all men are created equal.” President Woodrow Wilson, who was unashamedly racist, said, “We are not bound to adhere to the doctrines held by the signers of the Declaration of Independence,” and said that if Americans wanted to honor the Declaration, they should replace it.
Americans ignored the mandate given in Brown v. Board of Education to integrate schools “with all deliberate speed.” There is a group of people in this nation who feel entitled to ignore the Bible, the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Constitution in their quest to hold onto white supremacy. In ignoring the Bible, a book they proclaim to respect, they are in effect ignoring God, and in ignoring the Supreme Court and the Constitution, they are ignoring the “rule of law,” which they also claim to respect.
In spite of the ongoing racist attacks by the president, his colleagues and his followers will not admit it. Their disavowal of racism begs the question: To them, what is racism?
That’s one question. But a second question is equally as important: What is the strategy that can be used by those who are bothered by the racism that is bubbling to the top to stop it, to stop the president in his tracks and pull the country away from the brink of racial violence because of the rhetoric?
It is significant that the president is in fact “draining the swamp” – i.e., getting rid of all that were mainstays of the government and replacing the swamp with loyalists. He will use the word “socialism” to fight his opponents, but what he is putting in place is a totalitarian government, where racism, it seems, will be allowed to flourish.
The policies he will put in place, and for which he is putting people in place to form and enact, will disproportionately adversely affect people of color. He has said that if reelected, there will be significant budget cuts – and those cuts will presumably come in the areas of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
NPR reported that funding for food stamps for the poor is being cut, which will adversely affect an estimated 3 million people. Policies being put in place, or desired, are policies that will only augment tg is “not America.” But it is. America was born in white supremacy and has always lived in it, but people will not admit it. Even as they say the most racist things, they will not admit it.
And as that is the case, the sad truth is that America will never heal.
It’s worth repeating: What we will not admit we cannot eradicate. If America does not own her racism – something that has been studied by cultures all over the world – America will never heal.
Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith is the founder and director of Crazy Faith Ministries. She is available for speaking. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her latest book, Rest for the Justice-Seeking Soul, is now available for preorder through Barnes and Noble at http://bit.ly/ RESTBN or through Amazon at http://bit.ly/RESTAmazon.