Tag Archives: racism

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.

Call out the president by name, GOP leaders

We’ve heard a lot of chatter about the responsibility of leaders to name their adversaries by name, to call out those who act irresponsibly or reprehensibly.

Republicans implored Democratic President Barack Obama to label international terrorists as “radical Muslims.” Obama declined during his time in the White House, saying we must not suggest the terrorists are associated with a great religion.

Just recently, we heard others say that a Republican president must call out the instigators in the Charlottesville riot by their names: white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen. Donald Trump at first declined to do so, then he did.

Today, though, he reverted back to his initial response to the violence in Virginia, blaming it on “both sides.” He sought to attach some sort of moral equivalency between the racists who were protesting the removal of a Confederate statue with the counter protesters.

The president put on a shameful display today at Trump Tower.

So it now falls on Republicans across the land to call out the president — a fellow Republican — by name. There’s been a lot of social media chatter from GOP leaders about how we must not tolerate hate groups, racists, bigotry, anti-Semitism. It’s no longer enough to denounce these hideous groups. It’s time to denounce the president who today demonstrated what he truly believes about these hate mongers.

They now need to take the next step. These Republican leaders — including members of Congress — need to say: Donald Trump, you are consorting with hate groups and we will not tolerate such disgraceful behavior from the president of the United States.

I mean, c’mon. Are they going to seriously tolerate a word of good cheer for the president’s performance today from David Duke … of all people?

Trump finally says what he should’ve said the first time

That wasn’t so painful, was it, Mr. President?

Donald J. Trump returned to the White House — aka “a real dump” — to sign an executive order and then deliver some remarks about the “criminals and thugs” who instigated the deadly race riot in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend. He had been facing immense pressure from, um, “many sides” as a result of his initial response to the violence.

The president said what he needed to say at the outset. The Klan, neo-Nazis and assorted white supremacist groups provoked a riot while protesting the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. It went bad bigly.

Trump has condemned racism and bigotry and called out the white supremacists and Nazis as “criminals and thugs.” He called them what they are. Trump said “racism is evil” and said hate groups such as neo-Nazis and white supremacists “are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

How far will his remarks go in healing the damage that already has been done by his initial remarks in which he blamed “many sides” for the violence that erupted? Time will tell.

If he had asked for my opinion, I would have preferred that the president atone more directly for his error of omission. He should have acknowledged publicly in the White House that he erred in failing to respond appropriately.

Moreover, he could have said categorically that he does not welcome the overt political support of individuals such as one-time Ku Klux Klan grand dragon/lizard David Duke, who over the weekend invoked Trump’s name. Duke said he wants to “take our country back” and said “that’s why we voted for Donald Trump.”

He didn’t do those things. The president did say the right words — today! I still have to ask: Did they come from his heart, his soul?

Please demonstrate that they did, Mr. President.

Not all Trumps are as clueless as POTUS

What do you know about this?

First daughter Ivanka Trump has said something Dad couldn’t bring himself to say, which is to condemn white nationalists, and neo-Nazis.

Ivanka fired off a tweet that said: “There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis.”

The young woman just took several giant steps beyond what her father, the president of the United States, said rather meekly about the Charlottesville, Va., riot that resulted in the death of a counter protester.

It all started when a group of white supremacists and Nazi sympathizers protested the decision to take down a state of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. It went downhill from the get-go.

The president then blamed “many sides” for the violence, refusing to call out the hate groups that provoked the riot in the first place. The president seeks to portray himself as a strong man. He instead comes off as a weakling, a wimp.

So now Ivanka has entered the discussion with a patently reasonable and well-aimed statement that should have come from the president of the United States.

‘I don’t like the racism and name-calling’

Mr. President, many millions of other Americans don’t like any of it either.

George W. Bush is speaking out more forcefully about one of the men who has succeeded him as president of the United States.

Will the object of President Bush’s critique, Donald John Trump, listen to what No. 43 has to say? I rather doubt it.

Still, the message needs to be delivered. And the former president is doing so in a measured, but unambiguous manner.

Bush spoke with People magazine about his post-presidential hobby, painting, and also about Trump and the new president’s rocky first month in office.

Despite his critique of Trump, Bush remains an optimist. According to People: Bush called the political climate in Trump’s Washington “pretty ugly” (“I’m not going back nowhere!” he added for emphasis), but said he isn’t feeling anxious about the direction of the country. “Not really. I’m optimistic about where we’ll end up. … We’ve been through these periods before and we’ve always had a way to come out of it. I’m more optimistic than some.”

The ex-president was adamant about refraining from criticizing his immediate successor, Barack Obama. Not so, apparently, with Obama’s immediate successor.

I want to share in President Bush’s optimism. Sadly, I cannot.

However, I do share Bush’s view of what he’s heard coming from the nation’s capital in this still-new Trump era: “I don’t like the racism and I don’t like the name-calling and I don’t like the people feeling alienated,”

If only Donald Trump would listen. If only …