The Never-Ending Anger of White People

It seems that the anger of white people in this country has been an issue for almost as long as this country has been in existence.

That, in spite of the fact that their very whiteness has provided them free reign to commit crimes against black people and also has provided them protection against being called into accountability for their crimes. Black people, because of angry white people and a pliant political and judicial system, have never been able to get justice, something which all human beings desire and deserve. And yet, it is the white people who are always angry.

The eruption of white anger is never far from us. It was present in Charlottesville, Virginia when whites marched through the streets voicing their determination that they would not be “replaced.” Their anger resulted in the murder of Heather Heyer, run down by a car driven by an angry white man. Their anger erupted after the Civil War when black people were given the right to live like human beings; their anger led and inspired them to lynch literally thousands of black people just because they could and get away with it.

Their anger erupted when black servicemen and women returned to this country after fighting in wars to preserve this nation’s democracy. Had blacks refused to fight they would have been castigated and probably arrested or worse, but their fighting did not make whites like them or respect them any more. If anything, it made them more angry because whites perceived that blacks had become “uppity.” Whites killed many blacks while they were still in uniform. (https://eji.org/reports/online/lynching-in-america-targeting-black-veterans)

White anger erupted when black people, in spite of all that was done to try to keep them “in their place” went ahead and prospered in spite of those barriers. The infamous massacre of black people by angry whites in Tulsa, Oklahoma is an episode of American history hardly even whispered about. (https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/21/us/tulsa-race-riot-black-wall-street-watchmen-trnd/index.html) Whenever and wherever blacks fought for economic justice, they were often opposed and too often murdered because they dared fight for what was rightfully theirs. (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/death-hundreds-elaine-massacre-led-supreme-court-take-major-step-toward-equal-justice-african-americans-180969863/)

Whites have always been angry about black people being in this country, though it was white people who brought us here. White people tolerated black people as they built this country and once their usefulness was no longer needed, many just wanted us to go away.

There has been no single entity that has protected black people or insured that they get justice. The fact that the police officer who shot and killed Botham Jean in his own house only received a sentence of 10 years in prison, while a young man who missed jury duty got 10 days in jail plus a host of other punitive actions still causes the soreness caused by ongoing racism to smart all the more. In history, not even the United States Supreme Court could be counted on to make sure that black people got justice. (https://www.npr.org/2011/02/24/133960082/the-supreme-courts-failure-to-protect-civil-rights).

But in spite of black people being violated, challenged, discriminated against, and killed by people who killed them just because they could, it is white people who are always angry. Black people are expected to be quiet and not be angry at all while this system walks over them and causes them undue pain and misery, even while denying them justice and a level playing field. From those who were angry at the murder of Emmett Till to those who are insulted that Colin Kaepernick would dare “take a knee” to protest police brutality against black people, blacks who express anger are criticized and mocked. (https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/02/19/587097707/laura-ingraham-told-lebron-james-to-shutup-and-dribble-he-went-to-the-hoop).

To make matters worse, too many white people have relied on their religion – their version of Christianity – to justify their treatment of not only blacks, but poor whites, people with HIV/AIDS, and Muslims, for starters. As the country has had to absorb the painful loss of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Baltimore), one white religious talk show is saying that Mr. Cummings’ death was (is) “God’s revenge for taking on Trump.” (https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/we-know-the-bible-far-right-conspiracy-theorist-says-elijah-cummings-death-was-gods-revenge-for-taking-on-trump).

White anger is irrational. It is disgusting. And it is misplaced.

But it is a mainstay of America. And it is eroding whatever capacity for decency this country has ever had. In spite of this irrational and ongoing anger, black people in this country have been able to endure and prosper, but every now and then, the souls of black folk rise up, asking God, in the words found in the Bible, read by black people and by angry whites alike, a book they claim to love, “How long, Lord?”

It seems that that answer is yet to be cemented in the fabric of America. White anger is a pandemic, and going untreated and ignored, is only getting worse.

The President Without a Soul

Today, White House Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly spoke before cameras. He assured reporters that he was not going to quit his job and also that, as far as he knew, he was not about to be fired.

 

Donald Trump

            He said that what the president said about FEMA and the military  not being in Puerto Rico forever was precise – but he said that only after he assured the people of Puerto Rico that FEMA would be there for as long as it needed to get the ravaged island back on its feet.

He was clear; when there is a disaster, he said, organizations like FEMA and the military “work very hard to get themselves out of a job.” That is true. Organizations like those mentioned do have a specific job and those jobs are temporary. Everyone understands that.

But the difference in what Gen. Kelly did and said, and what this president has done  and said, represents the difference between having a soul with the capacity to emit and share compassion, and not having a soul.

The president, in my opinion, has shown far too many times that he has no soul, or at least has a soul that is full of holes. He has a personality and a demeanor which is mean and heartless. He is unabashed in showing his favoritism of some people, or groups of people, over others, and his lack of sensitivity, caring and compassion is heartbreaking.

This president may not consider himself to be a racist, but his actions and lack of actions at times say something different. He took two weeks to visit Puerto Rico. He “joked” that their dire situation was affecting the American economy – apparently forgetting or choosing to forget that Puerto Ricans are Americans. He gave no heartfelt promise that the mainland would do all it could to make sure the Puerto Ricans got the food, water and help in rebuilding that they need. Instead, he made crude statements. He attacked the mayor of San Juan because she criticized America for not doing more, sooner, and he ignored her when she approached him in San Juan.

And then he threw paper towels to a crowd of Puerto Ricans – claiming later that “they loved it.” The optic was horrible. He looked like a spectator in a zoo, throwing peanuts to animals in cages, and he sounded like slave masters and white supremacists in general who claimed that the “nigras loved” slavery.

He has no soul, not when it comes to black people specifically, and people of color in general.

He called white supremacists who stormed Charlottesville, Virginia carrying weapons and torched “very fine people,” and completely ignored what their presence and their methods said to a people who have been fighting for dignity and rights in this country for generations. He has turned the “take a knee” silent protest being engaged in by players in the National Football League (NFL) and now, other organizations, into a phony campaign which he says represents a lack of patriotism, forgetting, or probably never knowing that African Americans have fought in every war this country has fought, only to be treated like second-class citizens once they returned home.

He is playing the American media and the American people like a fiddle. Running this country is a joke to him. He is putting the lives of people in this country and around the world by playing little boy macho games with North Korean President Kim Jung Un. He seems unaware of what he is doing and what his words have the capacity to cause. A nuclear war – the possibility of which is what he is dancing with – would destroy the world.

But he doesn’t care. He has no soul.

His attacks, his name-calling, his sanction of  and often dog-whistle use  of white supremacist rhetoric shows that he only cares about his “base.” He didn’t get the memo that says that, once elected president, that individual is to be the president of all of the people.

Not him.

His heartless policies are dismantling the work not only of President Obama, but also of women, black and brown people, environmentalists and those in the federal government who have worked to keep the world intact. In his quest for a victory as concerns the “repeal and replace’ saga of the Affordable Care Act, he has shown that he doesn’t care at all about the millions of people who, under the ACA could get health care, and who will lose that care if what he wants finally gets passed into law.

He is intentionally working to sabotage the ACA. The only thing that counts is himself and his relationship with his “base.”

Many, many American people are supporting this man. Neither do they care about the masses, but they were not elected to care about them. The president was. The job of the president is to see and hear everyone, but this president does not, will not, and doesn’t care who criticizes him about the way he governs.

Some say he is mentally ill; others say he is unfit to be president. The GOP has shown its cowardice and says little overall. The legislative branch of this American government is letting this spoiled brat, this rich bully, have his way, without much resistance at all.

America was great, I am told, because of its democracy which insured freedoms, which this president seems not to care about except for the Second Amendment. The man who vowed to “protect and uphold the Constitution of the United States” has had the gall to suggest that freedom of the press should be curtailed. He forgets, or perhaps he just doesn’t care, that it has been our democracy which has made us the most admired nation in the world –a democracy with flaws, to be sure, but a democracy nonetheless.

He doesn’t care about democracy. He wants to be a dictator and he wants us to take whatever he dishes out.

He has no soul and this country of cowardly lawmakers and “angry white people” are working very hard to make sure this country as we have known it becomes a speck, a memory. If they have their way, this country will be no better than the dictatorships it has criticized over the decades.

He has no soul. He does not care.

A candid observation …

The Cowardice of Racists

The unfortunate and tragic events of Charlottesville revealed again that white supremacists live in their hatred but are wont to expose themselves as such.

Charlottesville was different from white hate activities in the past where participants terrorized people of color usually at night, brandishing torches and covering themselves with white sheets so nobody could see who they were.

The participants on Friday night and Saturday were bold and let their faces be shown, partially because they feel empowered and emboldened by the current US president.

But the cowardice pushed through in the violence they committed. Being violent is an easy way out. Trying to kill what you do not understand is an act of cowardice because it keeps one from doing the work of being a human being. It is easy to proclaim hatred for something which one has objectified because it forms Buber’s  classic I-it relationship. Such relationships are not “relationships” in the classic sense at all, but rather creates an environment where the object is considered to be non-human and therefore, not worth the time to getting to know and understand.

If I do not regard you as a human being, I cannot empathize with you…and I will not.

That is a cowardly way to live because it gives an excuse for not examining one’s own feelings, and why they are as they are. Racists almost never come face to face with themselves and are therefore capable of destroying the “objects” of their hatred with not a whisk of emotion. That’s why racists in our history were able to lynch black people on, say, a Saturday night and go to church and either take or distribute Holy Communion. In their minds, there is no disconnect. They cannot acknowledge that they are wrong because they do not believe they are wrong.

This was evident in the “statement” given by the president. There was absolutely no compassion, no passion, no anger, no rage – nothing – as he uttered his prepared statement. This from a man who has publicly flogged his attorney general and the former head of the FBI; this from a man who nearly blew his top when acts of terrorism were committed in other countries. But on this occasion, the president was bland and disconnected from the pain and the terror displayed by angry white men who say they are on the road to making America “great again.”

He could show no passion because he has no passion when it comes to racism. His actions to date have indicated that he believes in white supremacy, and the policies coming from his administration indicate that he wants to put it back into its rightful place.

He was being “politically correct” to the likes of David Duke in his statement. He does not want to lose the support of whites who, like him, believe in white supremacy.

And so he buckled under the pressure. He gave a perfunctory statement and seemed uncomfortable doing so. He showed that he is more afraid of the David Dukes of the world than he is of a man like Kim Jong Un or Vladimir Putin. He did not, could not dare to threaten his white supremacist supporters, keeping true to his tradition of threatening and bullying people with whom he disagrees or who disappoint him.

He agrees with what was done yesterday. And they did not disappoint him.

It is ironic that many of this president’s supporters say they like him because he “tells it like it is.” They say he is “strong,” I guess equating bullying with being strong.

But he doesn’t have the strength to “tell it like it is” when it comes to racism. Few racists do. The white nationalist culture is a tough one and will excommunicate those who fall out of line, if the stories I’ve heard about what happens to those who “defect” are true.

The president showed the cowardly underbelly of the sickness called white supremacy.

He is not strong at all, but as a leader, is about as weak as they come.

A candid observation …