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Est. April 5, 2002
January 18, 2018 - Issue 725

More Racist and Xenophobic Rhetoric
from our
Mentally Unhinged President

By Dr. Elwood Watson, PhD
"The Congressional Black Caucus and a
number of Democratic senators have proposed
a resolution censuring the president for
his atrocious and arguably sinister remarks.

Last week, a number of journalists, radio hosts, pundits and ordinary folk worked themselves into an understandable frenzy over President Donald Trump’s reference to the specific nations of Haiti, Nigeria, El Salvador and other third world nations as “shithole” nations. He did not stop there. He argued that the nation should make an effort to recruit immigrants from Norway and other European nations. Just think about it! The statement alone speaks volumes. It is the most blatant and arrogant form of racism.

A few of the several congressmen who attended the meeting, such as Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, confirmed in no uncertain terms that the president did indeed make such odious remarks. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham stated that he “spoke to the Trump directly about his disturbing comments.” On the contrary, the majority of GOP senators have made it clear that they do not recall hearing such comments being made. Others who were reportedly in attendance remained disturbingly silent while Georgia Senator David Perdue took to the Sunday morning talk shows, adamantly defending Trump and arguing that the President’s remarks were taken out of context. The silence and in some cases, defiant denials by a number of Republican lawmakers (many of whom were present when the remarks were made) all but confirm the validity of what was reported by the media. The fact that the White House didn’t even try to deny that Trump had used the slur, rather instead reinforcing the president’s actions with a lengthy statement declaring Trump’s support for the American people, was downright arrogant and appalling.

The deafening level of silence among large swaths of the GOP (save for Republican Congresswoman Mia Love of Utah whose parents come from Haiti, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s tepid denunciation etc...) is very troubling in and of itself and speaks volumes of either unspoken support or a submission to cowardice. I guess it is hard to defend the indefensible. To add insult to injury, according to some media accounts, President Trump was/is secretly delighted about the controversy his racially charged remarks caused. This should not be all that surprising. There is no doubt that Trump views such controversy as pacifying his political base – one that is largely nationalistic and xenophobic. This was evident when far-right and white supremacist websites such as The Daily Stormer, Breitbart and Stormfront praised and saluted his comments.

Understandably, the fallout was swift. On the January 11, 2018, edition of CNN Tonight, host Don Lemon was on fire and took no prisoners when he tore into the president and his supporters/defenders, ripping them to shreds for refusing to call out the comments for what were undeniably racist and deeply entrenched with white supremacist sentiments. Lemon went so far as to dismiss one of his panelists, former Virginia Trump campaign co-chairman, John Fredericks (he later bought him back,) and demand an apology from the conservative radio host. The Congressional Black Caucus and a number of Democratic senators have proposed a resolution censuring the president for his atrocious and arguably sinister remarks. The fallout has been intense.

The fact is that for all those men and women who express shock, whether genuine or feigned, at Trump’s routine racist outbursts, such a reaction is getting old and tired. As columnists Jamiles Lartey of The Guardian and D. Watkins of have skillfully and candidly expressed , anyone with a reasonable amount of intellectual acumen and intelligence should be well aware of Trump’s penchant and long history of racial invective. Examples abound among them being:

  • Calling Mexican immigrants rapists and declaring his intention to build a wall

  • His ongoing attacks on the Central Park Five despite their proven innocence

  • Birther conspiracy questioning the legitimacy of the nation’s first black president

  • Muslim ban on all people of middle eastern descent

  • Saluting and defending white supremacists in Charlottesville

  • Stating that blacks had a predisposition to laziness

  • Picking a fight with black NFL players for refusing to salute the flag

  • Declaring African and Latino countries are “shithole” nations

  • Declaring Norway and similar European countries as desirable nations

The list goes on and on. The message Trump was not so subtly sending to everyone, supporters and detractors alike, was that white people are his preferred group of immigrants. Black, latino and other non-white immigrants are not welcomed.

Those who argue that the reason for Trump’s popularity is largely based on economic issues are being intellectually dishonest. The evidence speaks otherwise and points directly to race. If you do indeed fall into this category, you need to cut to the chase, stop the bullshit and call out Trump and his comments for what they are - vile, undiluted racism! It is the red meat, cat nip, ambrosia etc... he feeds to his reactionary and racist followers who long for or rather envision, a return to a pre-1960s (and for some of his deeply unhinged followers, 1860s) American utopia that never existed. To put it bluntly, Trump is the most overtly racist president since Woodrow Wilson.

To blame Trump for the evolution of racism would be dishonest. He has had plenty of forebears. However, it would be spot on to make the case that he has done everything he can to manipulate, divide and tear us further apart. Such behavior from a commander-in-chief is nothing short of well … deplorable. Guest Commentator, Dr. Elwood Watson, PhD is Professor of History, African American Studies and Gender Studies at East Tennessee State University. He is the co-author of Violence Against Black Bodies: An Intersectional Analysis of How Black Lives Continue to Matter (New Critical Viewpoints on Society Series). Contact Dr.Watson.




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Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
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Peter Gamble

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