Tag Archives: racism

Here is why early voting sucks

A major Texas newspaper has just validated my reasons for hating early voting.

The Dallas Morning News has rescinded an editorial endorsement it had made because a candidate for a Dallas County Commissioners Court seat was revealed to have set up a trust fund for his children if they married white people.

The candidate is Republican Vickers Cunningham. The revelation came to light on the eve of the runoff election for the commissioners court seat. The Dallas Morning News was so incensed at the racially loaded matter that it pulled its endorsement.

This is what I’m talking about! I have said for many years that — banning my actual absence from my voting precinct on Election Day — I always choose to vote on that day. Why? Because I hate being surprised by learning something terrible about my candidate after voting for him or her.

The matter involving Vickers Cunningham falls into that category of unwelcome surprise.

The Morning News said it backed Cunningham because of his experience as a district court judge. It didn’t know about the compact he made with his children until “the final days of this campaign.”

I know that Election Day voting doesn’t prevent such surprises. I merely want to minimize to the best of my ability the impact of such a surprise by waiting until the last day of an election campaign to exercise my right as a citizen.

‘Obligation,’ no; prerogative, yes!

CNN anchor Don Lemon is not among my favorite TV journalists/talking heads.

He is the one who once asked — reportedly in all seriousness — whether the Malaysian Airlines jetliner that disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing had been swallowed up by a “black hole,” apparently not realizing that such an event would have consumed the entire solar system.

I got that out of the way.

Now we hear that Lemon says it is his “obligation” to refer to Donald J. Trump as a “racist.”

According to The Hill: “Critical thinking is important as a journalist. If you cannot surmise that this president — if he’s not racist, he’s certainly racist-adjacent,” Lemon told an audience as the keynote speaker at Variety’s Entertainment & Technology NYC Summit. “We have come to a consensus in our society that facts matter. I feel like it’s my obligation to say that.”

I beg to differ, young man.

It’s not your “obligation,” although it is your “prerogative” to say what you want about how you perceive the president’s point of view. His obligation as a journalist requires fairness and accuracy.

I am quick to agree that Donald Trump has provided plenty of evidence of racist tendencies. I keep turning to the lie he fomented about Barack Obama place of birth, as he kept alive the slanderous accusation that the first African-American president was born in Africa and was constitutionally ineligible to serve in the office to which he was elected twice.

And, yes, there was that hideous assertion that there were good people “on both sides” of the riot that erupted in Charlottesville, Va., between counterprotesters and Klansmen, neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

Lemon’s “obligation” only is to report what Trump has said; he should let his viewers make the determination as to whether the president is a racist.

The U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, of course, doesn’t prevent him from hanging the “racist” label on Trump. Indeed, it allows Lemon to say it, but it damn sure doesn’t require it.

Can this school board revisit a tough issue?

I haven’t seen every scrap of social media chatter bouncing around Amarillo, Texas during the past couple of days.

What I have seen regarding an Amarillo Independent School District board non-decision has been — shall we say — less than flattering toward most of the board members.

The AISD board voted 4-3 the other night to “change” the name of Robert E.  Lee Elementary School to Lee Elementary School.

I believe Amarillo has just witnessed the unveiling of a profile in timidity, if not outright cowardice.

The school in question sits smack in the middle of a community that serves a significant population of African-Americans. Children attend a school that is named after a man — Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee — who led a military effort to defeat the United States in a war that began over whether states could allow the ownership of slaves.

Gen. Lee’s name has been in the news of late. Communities have sought to remove statues commemorating this man who I and others consider to be a traitor to the United States of America. They rioted in Virginia because white supremacists, KKK’men and neo-Nazis protested attempts to remove a Robert E. Lee statue from a public park; the riot killed a young woman and injured scores of others. Moreover, it prompted an intense national discussion about how we commemorate the Confederate States of America.

AISD board members agreed to discuss and consider changing the name of the school. Then they choked. They fumbled. They missed their chance to send a powerful statement that this community would take a proactive step that removes the name of a national enemy from one of its public buildings.

“Lee Elementary” does not do a single thing to promote that notion.

So … here’s a thought. The AISD board represents a constituency that appears to oppose the non-decision the board made on the naming of a public school.

Perhaps the AISD board members can reflect just a bit on the nutty notion they thought would eliminate a community controversy.

This so-called “name change” didn’t do anything of the kind.

There’s not a single thing wrong with acknowledging a mistake, AISD trustees. Nor is there anything wrong with taking measures to repairing it.

AISD chokes when given a chance to make a big statement

I had high hope that Amarillo’s elected school board of trustees would do the right thing when it decided to consider changing the name of one of their elementary schools.

Then a slim majority of the board dashed my hope. Sigh!

The Amarillo Independent School District board voted 4-3 to alter the name of Robert E. Lee Elementary School to, um, Lee Elementary School.

There had been considerable community chatter about a school that serves a large African-American student base carrying the name of a Confederate army general who led forces seeking to allow states to retain the enslavement of human beings.

Many of those voices came to the school board meeting Monday night to be heard. They spoke out. A large majority of the voices gathered in a packed AISD administration building meeting room spoke against “Robert E. Lee Elementary School.”

The non-decision by the AISD board is disappointing. It borders on shameful.

Trustee James Allen — the lone African-American on the board — had pitched a perfectly reasonable option: Change the name to Park Hills Elementary School, which would be consistent with AISD’s current building-naming policy of identifying schools with the community they serve.

Did the board follow Allen’s lead? Nope. They wanted to “compromise” by dropping the Confederate traitor, er, general’s first name and middle initial from the building’s name.

As if that would wipe away the connection between a local school and the darkest, bloodiest period in our nation’s history? Please.

The national discussion about these name changes had found its way to Amarillo. I hoped our community’s elected school board would take up the cudgel and declare that it, too, would stand on the right side of history.

Sadly, AISD did nothing of the sort. Its board choked.

I’m out!

What would MLK Jr. think?

The hour is late on this day of national remembrance.

The nation has recognized the 89th birthday of one of the 20th century’s greatest men. Martin Luther King Jr. left a gigantic legacy that reverberates to this very day, this very moment.

I am left to ponder: What would the great Dr. King think of the national mood today?

Others have spoken to this question already. U.S. Rep. John Lewis, one of Dr. King’s key lieutenants back in the day, said he believes MLK would be appalled at the national mood. He wouldn’t approve in any sense of the rhetoric coming from the White House these days. Rep. Lewis believes Dr. King would follow the lead of other contemporary African-American leaders and wouldn’t speak openly to the president of the United States, Donald Trump.

I believe differently. Dr. King made a point of speaking of peace with his foes. His non-violent approach to disobedience became a universal mantra for protesting what many Americans believed were injustices being brought on vast segments of our society.

I just cannot believe that King would snub those with whom he had significant differences.

Of course, we cannot know how history would be different if great leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. had lived. We play the hand we’re dealt. The hand we got in April 1968 — I cannot quite fathom that it was 50 years ago! — came from a rifle shot in Memphis, Tenn. that felled Dr. King.

He died, but his struggle lived on. It lives on to this very day.

I want to believe we have made great strides toward achieving the kind of world that Dr. King envisioned. Sadly, I hear rhetoric that comes from certain national leaders and I worry we have regressed.

My hope springs eternal. Dr. King’s soaring message still resonates. May it continue to remind us of the hope this American titan sought to imbue on us all.

John Lewis reminded us today that Dr. King knew that “we are one family.” To that end, family members shouldn’t turn their back on each other. That is what I hope — and at some level believe — Martin Luther King Jr. would say.

‘I am not a racist’ Oh, really?

Donald J. Trump says it clearly and with seeming conviction.

“I am not a racist. I am the least racist person you’ve ever interviewed,” said the president of the United States.

OK, then. That settles it, right? Trump isn’t a racist. He didn’t actually question Barack Obama’s place of birth and his legitimacy as president; he didn’t actually call those countries in Africa, as well as Haiti and El Salvador “sh**holes”; he didn’t actually say an Indiana-born federal judge couldn’t decide a case involving Trump University because “he’s a Mexican.”

Well, I believe the president’s denial of racist leanings reminds many of us the time President Nixon told us “I am not a crook.” We know how that turned out in the 1970s, yes?

Trump has taken a tremendous amount of criticism for his sh**hole comment, which he reportedly made during a White House meeting on immigration.

This blog has used the “racist” term, too, to describe the president’s leanings. Indeed, the record that includes a large body of demonstrable evidence of racial bias can be used as a counterweight to the president’s assertion that he doesn’t harbor bias against people who don’t look like him.

The sh**hole comment about nations that produce immigrants to the United States — coupled with an assertion that the United States needs to encourage more immigration from “countries like Norway” — only fuels the fire that’s burning close the White House.

Donald Trump can tell us all he wants that he is not a racist. The lengthy record of previous pronouncements, though, tells us something quite different.

Trump cements a racist pattern

OK — and if you’ll pardon me for saying this — let’s “tell it like it is.”

Donald John Trump has exhibited a clear pattern of racist views.

The president today said the United States needs to curb immigration from “s***hole countries” such as Haiti and those in Africa. He then said we need to encourage immigrants from, oh, Norway.

We are witnessing yet another demonstration that the president of the United States has racist thoughts. He has revealed yet again what lurks in what passes for this man’s heart.

It fits a pattern.

  • He called white supremacists, Klansmen and Nazis “fine people” after the Charlottesville, Va., riot this past summer.
  • Trump insisted for years that the nation’s first African-American president was born abroad and wasn’t legally entitled to campaign for, let alone, occupy the office to which he was elected twice.
  • When he announced his campaign for president, Trump said Mexican immigrants were rapists, murderers and drug dealers.
  • The five young black men who were acquitted of raping a white woman in Central Park many years ago should be executed for a crime they never committed, Trump said; he’s never apologized for that statement.
  • The professional football players who kneeled prior to games to protest police conduct against black Americans are “sons of b******,” Trump said.
  • Trump has said Haitians “all have AIDS,” and said Nigerians live “in huts.”

This is the man elected president of the United States? This individual is supposed to represent the very best of the greatest nation on Earth?

I am tired of dancing around the issue. It’s time to call this man what he is. He’s not just a pathological liar. He is a racist.

He’s also a disgrace.

Wondering about POTUS’s stated anger at NFL players

Donald J. Trump stood before an Alabama political rally crowd and called professional players “sons of b******” if they don’t stand while they play the National Anthem at the start of a game.

He got big cheers. He lapped it up.

But when white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen marched in Charlottesville, Va., provoking a conflict earlier this year with counter protestors, he said “both sides” were responsible for the violence and that “very fine people” were among those who marched with the KKK, Nazis and white supremacists.

He talked in Alabama this weekend about “disrespecting” Old Glory and “The Star Spangled Banner.” He didn’t talk at all about flying the Confederate flag — which is an enduring symbol of a 19th-century movement to destroy the United States of America.

Trump talks about standing up for our democratic principles. But he hasn’t yet condemned the Russians for hacking into our electoral process — a virtual “act of war” against those very principles he now defends against professional athletes who are protesting police policies as they relate to African-American citizens.

It needs to be said that the bulk of the protests over the Anthem are coming from African-American athletes.

The president of the United States then calls them “sons of b******” because they are engaging in a peaceful protest of a government policy.

Is this argument being waged along racial lines? Donald Trump today said “no!” He said he’s never raised the issue of race. It’s about respecting the symbols of our “great country.”

Someone will have to explain to me in language I can understand just how all of this is not related to the racial makeup of those who are protesting.

Alt-right = white supremacists

This well might be the final time I’ll refer to the term “alt-right” in a manner other than to quote someone else’s statement about it.

You may count me, therefore, as one who wants to cease euphemizing what I believe the term really means: white supremacists, racist, bigots.

It has emerged in recent years as a term to define those on the far-right fringe of the political/ideological spectrum. As the events in Charlottesville, Va. — not to mention other communities that have been victimized by spasms of race-related violence — have shown us, the term “alt-right” has focused on a specific brand of political protest.

It has come to represent the views of those who support racist, bigoted ideologies. The term “far right” has taken on an ugly, evil identity. Perhaps it’s because what we used to know as the “conservative movement” has itself moved far past the midway point. To be called a conservative these days seems to mean something different than it did during the day of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.

Donald J. Trump used the term “alt-right” to turn on what he called the “alt-left,” the counter protesters who clashed in Charlottesville with the neo-Nazis and KKK members who gathered to protest the taking down of that statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Here again, we saw the president seek to place the hate groups on equal footing with those who protested against them.

As for the term “alt-right,” consider me to be among those who no longer prefers to see it used other than to make sure we know what it represents.

It represents hatred and bigotry.

There. I’m done with that word.

‘Alt-right’ becomes euphemism for something ugly

‘Free’ speech gets drowned out … good!

They called themselves the “Free Speech Movement.” They planned to stage a big rally in Boston, but got drowned out by others who were having none of what this movement had to say.

The “Free Speech” folks said they disavowed the hate speech that’s become the talk of the nation. But thousands of counter protesters showed up to swallow up the “Free Speech” crowd.

It appears that advance knowledge of some of the speakers slated to talk alarmed community residents, which triggered the big counter protest. They were concerned about what they considered to be “veiled bigotry.” One big difference between this gathering and the one that erupted in Charlottesville this past weekend is that no one got hurt; there was no riot.

This all sounds familiar to yours truly.

In 2006, the Ku Klux Klan came to Amarillo to have a rally in front of City Hall. The city granted the KKK the permit they needed. The police came out in force. Amarillo PD deployed many officers, as did the Potter County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety. The police set up an effective barrier that kept the crowd of onlookers away from the Klansmen.

At the moment the Klan leaders were set to start addressing the gathering in front of City Hall, a parade of counter protesters came marching onto the parking lot. They were loud, man! They were banging cymbals, blowing horns, beating drums, yelling at the top of their lungs.

I don’t recall, 11 years later, what the Klan’s message was on that warm summer day. The haters couldn’t get a word in edgewise.

I couldn’t have been prouder of the way our community reacted to the Klan’s presence in our midst.

The most fascinating encounter I witnessed occurred right next to me. It involved then-Amarillo Police Chief Jerry Neal and a Klan member. Neal was there in full cop regalia: dress blues and all the hardware that beat cops wear when they’re on patrol … if you get my drift. The Klansman asked the chief, “Can I ask you something?”

Neal’s response was brusque and right to the point: “No. You can’t. Now, get away from me.”

What happened today in Boston had plenty of precedent. It should continue for as long as hate groups — or those aligned with them — believe they have license to spread their bigoted message.