Harmful Warnings, Witch Hunts & Hoaxes
I have always loved words. From the moment they taught me “Dick” and “Jane” in first grade, collections of letters into words, words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs have always fascinated me. In any language, the meanings are propelled by how those words are spoken. From facial expressions to inflections to volume, we take more than a modicum of meaning from sounds.
How many times has Donald Trump said something and within the hour, his staff had to “clarify” or “explain” what he “really” meant? It’s too easy for me to say. He’s a lousy communicator, yet, people believe him. When Republican Senators and Representatives in Congress run away from reporters, so they don’t have to answer a question about what Trump said about racism, what they are really saying is Trump’s tweets aren’t important to them. REALLY? He’s their party leader.
Most intelligent politicians openly condemn racism, but now run away from the truth and don’t want to comment on how Trump handles the subject. They are more afraid of Donald Trump than the COVID-19 virus. Sure, Trump says OPEN, and they say NOW! What a foolish set of self-absorbed careless money grabbing grifters. Stronger description to follow.
What is Racism? First, you must decide where you belong. According to the anthropologist Carleton S. Coon, humans are a member of one of these five: Negroid (Black), Australoid (Australian Aborigine and Papuan), Capoid (Bushmen/Hottentots), Mongoloid (Oriental/Amerindian) or Caucasoid (White). In America, we focus on our populations of Black, Brown, Asian and White human beings.
Although we are pretty much the same biologically, there are differences in appearance from hair, to eyes, to the color of our skin. The things that might be not be so evident are certain diseases, ailments and disorders, which can be more likely the providence of one race. But as we meld into one human race, those traits can be eradicated by mix race births, medical advancements, better diets and the environment. We are more alike than ever.
Trump mostly focuses on some imaginary voter who he thinks is just like him. During a meeting with faith leaders in Dallas yesterday, Trump warned against labeling “tens of millions of decent Americans as racist or bigots.” Not sure why this was said during a discussion on justice disparities, but Trump’s “causes” here is slightly out of sync with 75% of the citizenry. I am never sure if the Donald really understands complicated words, like racism and bigotry. It’s almost as if he thinks someone has to stick up for white people.
We know a racist is person who holds some prejudice, uses or endorses discrimination, or embraces some antagonism toward someone of a different race. Although they may not admit it, they base their racism on the belief their own race is superior.
One of my favorite books is Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Stanford University professor Robert M Sapolsky. In his work, Sapolsky cites tests when certain pictures of people of different races were shown to participants. Scientists could see that brain waves reacted to certain races of people doing a variety of activities in the pictures. This kind of “systemic” and biological reaction to how we view people based solely on visual cues and skin color is real. People judge people and their brains react chemically.
One of the most absurd questions TV interviewers keep asking people on camera is, “Do you think there is systemic racism in police departments?” The answer is predictable. If the person is from the Trump administration, they will quickly answer “No!” If you are talking to someone who has been working to end police brutality in America, they will say, “Yes!” You cannot say that racism exists but declare our police departments as NOT systemically racist. People are confusing the meaning of systemic; it doesn’t mean everyone in the department is racist, it means that the system of policing provides a place where racism can grow unchecked. Pretty much what we have. Consider the facts (Stastita.com): “The rate of fatal police shootings among Black Americans was much higher than that for any other ethnicity, standing at 30 fatal shootings per million of the population as of June 2020.”
Trump isn’t trying to protect tens of millions of Americans from a “racist” or “bigot” label, he’s doing a preemptive strike against those who will call him a racist. He’s worried more about what people think about him and refuses to really comprehend the reasons behind inequality. One of the great online reference sites I use is the Urban Dictionary. I go there to decipher not only black culture and speech, but also to pick up on youth patois.
Urban Dictionary says a “witch hunt” is when a person decides to target another person for reasons which may or may not be obvious. It’s when someone decides to undermine and belittle a person. I guess to them, the head witch hunter is Donald Trump. The same site does a good job with racism, “It’s Stupid, we are all amazing so chill.”
Human beings are amazing. The war cry of “Black Lives Matter” mostly bothers people who just might have a little sense of embedded white privilege in them. That slogan has never bothered me, and it’s not because I dismiss the importance of all lives. It’s because I get the deeper meaning of the statement.
When the Selma and Birmingham, Alabama sanitation workers went on strike for better wages in 1968, they held up signs that read, “I AM A MAN.” White people in the south never really understood what they were saying, but it was a brilliant slogan.
In 1787, the US government wanted to determine the percentage of tax each state would pay, a major argument broke out. The 100% WHITE founding fathers argued whether a state’s slave population be considered in the calculation. What they came up with was called the “Three-Fifths Compromise.” It codified into law that a black man was only worth three-fifths of a white man of America. When the African American workers in Alabama marched holding signs that declared, “I AM A MAN” they were not only reacting to the “original sin” of slavery, but also the dehumanizing Three-Fifths Compromise found in Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution. They weren’t just on strike; they were protesting racism.
I feel sorry for Donald Trump. Here’s a man who was born in 1946 but holds the same bigoted attitudes and beliefs of someone from the antebellum south. Trump might see himself as a character in the movie Gone With The Wind, but he fails to see what actually happened then and what is happening now.
In that classic movie, Scarlett O’Hara, played by Vivian Leigh, asks her leading man, Rhett Butler, played by Clark Cable, “Where shall I go?” and Rhett says dramatically, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!” That is why I feel sad and disappointed, because the answer to systemic racism is not to call it a hoax, or witch hunt, but understand how dangerously harmful it is. Part of the First Amendment is my right to call things out. Trump is a bigot and racist. It’s not my fault he doesn’t know it. And would someone in the White House tell him that all those Confederate leaders riding horses on those statues, LOST THE WAR! They are losers, I thought Trump only like winners.
If you read this book, you can see why all this happened to us.
The book that tells it like it is…
Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs If you only read one chapter of this book, it’s called, Take a Knee for America and thought about this never-ending conflict between minorities and the police. It’s not really taking a stand I’m asking you to do, but having a real frank conversation about why some people think they way they do would be productive right now. It’s a book for the moment and starts the conservation of peace. And if you are worried about social media, check out the chapter called Social Media Menace.