Black People and Women, Supporting Trump

donald-trump-comments-about-women-excuses

It makes no sense to me at all.

Donald Trump, the GOP nominee for president of the United States, has shown himself to be racist and sexist, not to mention xenophobic. Though he visited a black church and participated in worship, he has not shown any real compassion for black lives. He has said he will bring jobs to the inner city, but he has not said how he will do that. He has said that black people have little to lose by supporting him, saying “your schools are lousy,” lifting up the high unemployment rate among black people, and saying that black people cannot walk in their neighborhoods without getting shot. He has said little to nothing about excessive police violence meted out against unarmed black people, resulting in their deaths with police officers not being held accountable. He has not come across as a friend to black people in the United States.

Likewise, he has shown an incredible lack of respect for women since he began his campaign. He bristled and rebelled when Megyn Kelly of Fox News called him on his name calling of women in the first GOP primary debate, and has consistently said that he deeply respects women. But his language and, apparently, his actions in the past and the not so past, have indicated differently. This is a man who has objectified and disrespected both black people and women, and yet, people in both those demographics support him, some vehemently so.

Trump’s racism and sexism seem not to matter, including his sexual advances and indiscretions toward women. His bullying of anyone who has challenged him…seems not to matter. His name-calling seems not to matter. His mocking of people with disabilities seems not to matter. For his core, nothing matters, and it rocks me to my core.

It is inconceivable to me how any woman, and any black person, can support and believe in this man. His words and his actions have opened a door for people to go backwards. His definition of making America “great again” seems to be going back to America’s sexist and racist roots. He comes off as a privileged, selfish white man who never grew up, a bully by whom many people have always wanted to be called “friend.” Black people in this country have always wanted to be a part of the “in crowd” of white people, a group of people many of whom will never accept blacks as being equal to whites. And I can recall women in college who gravitated to the “jocks” because they were popular, because they had money and because they, too, wanted to be a part of the “in crowd.”

Trump has gotten away with his behavior for years, with people giggling and acting like he is OK. He hasn’t changed, as his surrogates have asserted. He is 70 years old. He has not changed and will not. He has been disrespectful toward blacks and women and many other white males his whole life.

In true form, he, an undeniable bully, cannot take what he gives out. He is the ultimate whiner; everybody is doing him wrong; the name-calling and cruelty he began he and his surrogates blame on everybody else.

He is a classic narcissist and bully, and yet, people support him for the office of president of the United States.

I am not so concerned with Donald Trump. He is who he is and has always been and will always be. Those saying that he has changed, that he has “confessed the Lord Jesus” and has truly changed, have their heads in the sand. Trump would turn against Jesus if he heard Jesus call him on his shortcomings. He’s that arrogant.

What I am concerned with is the mass of Americans, blacks and women particularly, who follow him, who adore him, who desire to get close to him and be a part of his inner circle. I find myself wondering what they do, the women, if and when males accost or insult their daughters. Are they silent? Do they encourage their daughters to just shut up and take it? And I wonder what blacks who support him tell their children and their congregations about how to deal with racism. Do they tell them that it’s not so bad, that “by and by,” when they get to heaven, it’ll all be all right?

Such denial of this man’s decadence is unacceptable. He is grooming a whole new generation of racists and sexists and bullies. America is going backwards to a degree that is scary and troubling. Trump’s damage is deep and will not go away if he doesn’t win the White House. There has been unleashed the arrogance of America’s past, when white men and women felt no compunction at all about racist and sexist behavior; some of his supporters reportedly have said they want to repeal the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote because they are incensed that women may swing the vote away from their beloved candidate.

Does that bother anyone but me? Is America in real trouble? Has the self-hatred carried by blacks and women come to a dangerous day of reckoning?  Has the work toward getting rid of these two “isms,” written into the Constitution, been for nothing?

The more things change, the more they remain the same. This country has been forever changed because of Donald Trump, and two demographics which should have run from him as fast as possible. They did not. They gravitated toward him, and in so doing, unleashed a demon I am afraid will be very difficult to quash.

This country isn’t so democratic. It isn’t so moral. It isn’t so ideal. It’s much like many countries which this country has denounced because of their human rights violations.

Land of the free and home of the brave? Not so much.

A candid observation …

Wanting America Back

I was in a high-end restaurant, waiting to have a meeting with a friend, and arrived before he did. I was led to our table, which had already been reserved.

Our table was next to one at which four white women were already sitting. They were older, looking to be in their late 70s and/or early 80s. It felt like they were engaging in a “girl’s day out” kind of time. They were laughing and sharing, talking about their husbands, their children and grandchildren, their charity work, and their professions, from which they had all retired.

I couldn’t help but hear everything they were talking about, and found myself chuckling from time to time at some of the things they shared. Privacy was not an option or a concern for them.

So, when they started talking about politics and the current slate of GOP candidates, the fact that they were sharing their views for all to hear was not surprising. They were Republicans, committed Republicans, that was for certain, because they said so, out loud.
The GOP candidates were interesting, they said. Carly “what’s her name? Is she still in the race?” Fiorina didn’t impress any of them, nor did Jeb Bush. They never mentioned Ben Carson, and kind of skated through their opinions of the candidates who have now left the race, including Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, and Rand Paul.

But then they got to the meat of their discussion: the top three candidates, according to the polls, plus Chris Christie. Trump, they said, was OK. Rubio was not; he was in favor of “bringing all those immigrants, or letting all those immigrants” come into or stay in this country. “Oh no, no immigrants,” said three of the women in response to the now-emerged spokeswoman for the group. One woman weakly tried to say that the immigrants who have been working here should be allowed to become citizens, but she was shut down.

Chris Christie should not be president, said the “louder-than-the-rest” woman because “he hugged Obama. That did it for me. He hugged Obama after Hurricane Sandy.” She said it in such a way which indicated she wanted everyone to know that yes, she said it, and yes, she absolutely meant it.

Obama, she said, was evil. Someone mentioned that Obama had visited a mosque, and had reported that Muslims were “good people.”

“Of course,” the ringleader said, “he would say that because he is a Muslim. Everyone knows that. He doesn’t go to church. He…is…a…Muslim.”

There was a pregnant pause while everyone pondered her pronouncement of “truth.,” but then the women got back to the other GOP candidates. With Trump being a little too over the top, and Rubio being in favor of keeping immigrants here and letting more come in, the only viable candidate, said the ringleader, with the other three women nodding their heads in agreement, was Ted Cruz.

“He is honest and loving and believes in the Constitution,” said Ringleader. “He is our only hope.” And then she said, quietly, “We have lost our beloved America. Our children’s children will never know the America we knew.”

Ah, the “give us our country back” sentiment took center stage. If Cruz could help bring sexism and racism back, and put all of the “isms” back in their places on the shelves of  American values, then he would have to be elected president. If Cruz could get rid of Obamacare with no thought of how millions who now have health care would feel or survive, then he would have to be elected president. If Cruz could make it so that police could have free reign with arresting and brutalizing people, then he would have to be president. If Cruz could get the military up and running like a good American military should run, and “bomb the hell out of ISIS,” as Donald Trump has said, then Cruz would have to be elected president.

I sat there, not surprised at what I was hearing, but a tad irritated that they talked so loudly so that everyone would have to hear their political discourses. They were bemoaning the threat they and many white Americans feel from forces larger than them and their remembrance of an America where bigotry and privilege went unchallenged. They were bemoaning the fact that being “politically correct” means respecting people of different religions (Islam) and colors and nationalities. They were tired of it. They wanted the voices of white people to be heard again, loudly and clearly, putting everyone and everything that wasn’t white in their proper places.

To heck with this being the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” They were not interested in living into that pronouncement and they sure were not interested in nurturing the American value called pluralism.

I heard that in their discourse. I don’t think I was wrong. I wish I were…

A candid observation…

A Short Conversation with God

God, what were you thinking?

You are the creator of all of us humans. YOU created us. Black and white, Native American, African and Irish, Palestinian, Jewish and Christian and Muslim and Buddhist, male and female.

And I presume that You made us on purpose; I presume you assumed we would get along and make this earth, this world a better place in which to live. I presume that you thought we would help “thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven” our reality.

Well, you were wrong.

We don’t get along, not any of us.

How in the world did you create a people who would and could be sexist, racist, imperialistic, materialistic, homophobic. What did you put into the creative process that made us critters with sorely schizophrenic spirits – saying we love You in one breath and hating everything and everyone You created with another?

What were You thinking when you wired us such that we could kill each other because we just could and because we didn’t like who You made someone else to be? Why is it that you made it easy for white people to kill black people physically, spiritually and emotionally …not just in the United States, but all over the world? Why is it that You made us so that we actually work to extinguish each other. The Turks joined with the Kurds to get rid of the Armenians. Jews have been “cleansed” from Spain, France, Lithuania, Hungary, Cracow, Portugal and England, for starters. Protestants have sought to get rid of Catholics, Christians have sought to get rid of Muslims and visa versa, the Tutsis sought to exterminate the Hutus …

We don’t get along.

If the Bible is to believed, the ethnic cleansing …the extreme of not getting along – went on even “back in the day” when people were closer to You in terms of the time of Creation. Tiglath –  Pileser III, an Assyrian leader we read about in the Bible, practiced ethnic cleansing ; he made forced resettlement a state policy. Why in the world did You allow that? And why do You allow us to carry on as we do today?

I am writing this because I am sad. I don’t think racism is going to go away. Have You listened to Bill O’Reilly or David Duke or Rush Limbaugh?  Have You seen the racial injustice that has been the norm in this country …from our beginning? Do You hear the racially coded language politicians use on a regular basis? Do You hear people plotting against each other, ready and eager to take the other “out?”

During the Christmas season, all of the lovely songs say that Jesus came to bring peace to the world. I don’t know what lovely lyrics Jewish and Muslim and other religions use …but I would bet that almost all of the religions intimate that You …want peace and harmony in this world?

So, why did You make us apparently unable to bring peace and harmony in this world?

I am deeply bothered. I keep asking myself what You were thinking when You put us in this world. Why would you ask us to pray for “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” when humans, as you have made us, seem completely unable (or unwilling) to do that?

What were You thinking? Something is very, very wrong.

A candid observation …

 

The President’s Moral Authority

Official photographic portrait of US President...
Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I expected a slew of criticism about President Obama’s commencement address to the graduates of  Morehouse College this weekend, but I was taken aback by Boyce Watkins‘ statement that President Obama had “no moral authority” to say some of the words he spoke.

Citing what he says is the president’s failure to enact effective policy to help black people, Boyce wrote, “Hence, this lopsided approach to racial inequality does not give Barack Obama the moral authority to come into a room full of black people and talk about what’s wrong with us. Chris Rock, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan and Harry Belafonte could make these very same statements and have credibility because they are not afraid to speak the same way to whites.” (http://www.blackbluedog.com/2013/05/news/dr-boyce-president-obama-lacks-the-moral-authority-to-give-his-lopsided-speech-at-morehouse/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dr-boyce-president-obama-lacks-the-moral-authority-to-give-his-lopsided-speech-at-morehouse)

In his article, Dr. Boyce states that black people are “happy when the president berates us. We like being told that we don’t try hard enough and that the reason so many of us struggle is because we have come to embrace an inferior set of habits and cultural norms.”  Boyce cites what he calls the president’s “significant, even embarrassing lack of action to help alleviate the clearly documented, undeniable, legislatively enforced poison of racial inequality that continues to impact our society.”  He says that the president tends to be more conservative when he talks to black audiences than he is when he talks to white ones, and he is critical of that.

But as I read through the president’s address, I failed to see where he was talking in a way that was offensive to African-Americans. Yes, he spoke about the need for these African-American men not to make excuses: “I’m sure every one of you has a grandma, an uncle or a parent who’s told you at some point in life that, as an African-American, you have to work twice as hard as anyone else if you want to get by. I think President (Benjamin) Mays put it even better: “Whatever you do, strive to do it so well that no man living and no man dead, and no man yet to be born can do it any better.” I promise you, what was needed in Dr. Mays’ time, that spirit of excellence and hard work and dedication, is needed now more than ever. If you think you can get over in this economy just because you have a Morehouse degree, you are in for a rude awakening. But if you stay hungry, keep hustling, keep on your grind and get other folks to do the same – nobody can stop you.”  (http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/prepared-text-for-president-obamas-speech-at-moreh/nXwk2/)

The president cited “a common fraternity creed here at Morehouse: ‘excuses are tools of the incompetent, used to build bridges to nowhere and monuments to nothingness.'” What President Obama said is certainly what I heard in my house growing up; it had something to do with race, yes, but it had more to do with being an individual. Excuses, my mother would say, won’t work “out there. Nobody cares in the real world what your issues are. They just want to get things done.” She was right. She said to us all, yes, that as African-Americans, and, to me and my sisters, that as women, we would have to do better than our white sisters and brothers. It was a valuable lesson. Nobody caters to those who make excuses, she said. In fact, those who make excuses get passed by. S0, what the president said on that subject was not problematic to me.

What IS problematic, however, is that many, too many young African-Americans, both male and female, hear nothing about how important it is to forge ahead, to confront walls in front of them. Too many of them hear that the world owes them something because they are African-American, or poor, or female. Too many women still think men are supposed to do something FOR them. Too many African-Americans still want to blame the society for their ills.

Society for sure has been unfair and unkind to minorities; that is undeniable; it always has, and it still is. I think that the Congress has been largely responsible for President Obama not having been able to pass more policies that will make the playing field more even for the oppressed; it seems the Congress has been hell-bent on opposing almost everything the president has proposed.

But this message about not using this racist (and sexist and homophobic) society as an excuse is a viable and important lesson for these new graduates to hear. Just because they have a Morehouse degree does not mean they will have an easy time; Langston Hughes wrote that “life ain’t been no crystal stair.” It isn’t and it will not be. “Out there,” the ones who succeed are the ones who take the unfairness and the meanness on the chin, maybe get knocked down, but refuse to be knocked out.  The president’s message to the graduates that they have a responsibility to teach that lesson to the young kids who are coming along …is vital. The president said, “Be a good role model and set a good example for that young brother coming up. If you know someone who isn’t on point, go back and bring that brother along. The brothers who have been left behind – and who haven’t had the same opportunities we have – they need to hear from us. We’ve got to be in the barber shops with them, at church with them, spending time and energy with them, spending time and energy and presence, helping pull them up, exposing them to new opportunities and supporting their dreams. We have to teach them what it means to be a man …”  Quoting W.E.B. DuBois, he said they are called to be a “class of highly educated, socially conscious leaders in the black community.”

Yes, yes, and yes.

President Obama may not have come up with enough policies to help “the least of these,” but he probably has done as much as he can, given the political climate in Washington. The unemployment rate for black people is still too high; the rate of incarceration for black people is so disproportionately high that it is unconscionable, but he has begun to chip away at the thick walls of oppression that have for too long been characteristic of American democracy.  His charge to the Morehouse grads to take up the baton and build on what he has begun was not ill-spoken; he knows the struggles of being African-American even though, as Dr. Boyce points out, he is “half white.”  I don’t see where that matters all that much. In the eyes of the world, he is the “first African-American president.” Nobody cares about his white blood much; the color of his skin is the telling feature of who he is to the world, not the color of his mother.

That being said, he knows enough about being black in America to have the moral authority to say what he said. Even more, he has the responsibility to say what he said…and hopefully what he said will be taken to kids who never hear words of encouragement, and lessons on how not to use excuses as they live their lives. The more kids who hear it – black , white, Hispanic and any other color or ethnicity, the better equipped they will be to handle this disease called oppression which unfortunately in America is still too often connected to the color of one’s skin.

A candid observation …