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Est. April 5, 2002
May 23, 2019 - Issue 790

Harassment of Black Americans
in the
Trump Era of White Supremacy

"Donald Trump’s election to the presidency enables
haters within the borders and 'beyond' because no
sovereign nation in Africa or Asia, in the Caribbeans
or South America, is really beyond the watchful gaze
of white supremacy. No sovereign land in worlds
consisting of majority black or Brown, Indigenous or
Asian is really safe from an unleashing of fear and hatred."

To her surprise, she found she could not rent a building in which

she proposed to have Negro aides unless they were servants!

Ida B. Wells, Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells

Most of us have experienced the bad neighbor—the couldn’t-care-less-about-you-or-anyone-else neighbor. It’s nothing personal. Just self-centered. Rude.

In the best of situations, a knock on the neighbor’s door brings him or her back to reality: There are other people living here!

In the best of situations, the neighbor becomes a friend or, at least, someone you can borrow the proverbial cup of sugar from.

Not so much today. The old wounds have re-surfaced. Again.

I was thinking about the opening of old wounds, our current state of affairs in the US, while reading Hiroshima, the late journalist John Hersey account of the immediate moments and days after the dropping of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. Through the eyes of six survivors, at least two of whom are physicians, tell of witnessing survivors heal from their wounds only to return to the hospital with the same wounds re-opened only a few days later. What could account for such a bizarre occurrence?

It’s only later that doctors, and everyone else for that matter, learn “radiation sickness.” One such symptom is the closing and re-opening of old wounds, with the re-opening worse, as in larger and more life-threatening than the original wound.

In the US, we are bombarded with images of white college students and politicians in black face. Old slaveholders in modern garb wishing for the old days. If mass incarceration is waning, how about shooting? Shooting to kill? And yet, there are Americans arming and training themselves in the use of high-teach weaponry. The rhetoric of hate offers these advocates of white supremacy the guiding principle without there can be no re-opening of old wounds.

We were “conscious” back in the day. Politically conscious. Culturally conscious. Today, among the young adults, being black is being “woke.” Conscious or woke, being black is to be aware of the historical injustice of white supremacy. Return with the ancestors to the Western shores of Africa, to infamous caves and European and American ships. It’s to return to remembering through the eyes of survivors a continent struggling to free itself from the injustices of capitalism, plundering still its resources and re-enslaving blacks, luring them, that is, to the “good” life, there for the taking as long as there’s faith in the dollar. My generation might hail the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, but we still recognize the first layer of those old wounds.

Most blacks know the personal struggle is linked to the survival of not just African Americans, but anyone who truly believes that inequality, in terms of healthy food, decent and affordable housing, complete health care coverage, and education, threatens the survival of this nation itself.

The larger narrative, as it concerns itself with blacks at all, concerns itself with the revolving door: Some are let in while others are not.

It’s not that whites only signs are visible over the entrances of apartment complexes in towns that are predominantly white in our most northern states. But more often now, these managements, wanting to maintain a “whites only” building or complex, need only be on guard for the perceived “uppity” black, the too black, all too aware of just why white supremacy lives within these gates and security entrances). Just keep that element of the population out and all within are safe in the illusion of white supremacy. In the meantime, while the manager or owner often lives well beyond these locations in even more “secured” communities, the black new comer is left to fearful and sometimes angry white tenants who discover difference in their midst. If not armed with guns, white America is certainly armed with enough of the rhetoric of hate so as to take up the cause of maintaining white residents in what they perceive to be not just a white place to live in safety but also a white town.

N-----s are not wanted!

Whites only!

Keep the subject to what whites are conscious of—not the black experience which they fear hearing anything about. There are black neighbors that are bad because black people are bad people. There are bad schools because black children are bad. Few blacks work downtown or on campus or at the hospital (other than in housekeeping) because blacks don’t qualify to work downtown in an office not to blacks have the credentials to teach on campus or serve as a physician or administrator at the hospital. If blacks are keep out, it would appear that the inadequacy of blacks is the root cause of their invisibility.

In white’s only territory, blacks, acquiescent to the premise of white supremacy, even if begrudgingly, whisper in corners about they way in which blacks are treated…

Be content within white dominance.

It seems, in the end, aboveboard. Progress. The sprinkling of black (that is, a selected few) in white homes and in white neighborhoods, like the maid or gardener, images embedded in American culture as acceptable for its semblance of inclusion.

But for blacks not afraid to be aware of that history of foundational violence, the sprinkling is superficial if not a controlled experiment for whites to show themselves that all is well and they are progressive. A persisting sickness for sure.

Harassment is a given under these circumstance. Any why not?

I heard this story recently: Returning home from work, to her apartment, a black woman, a physician, turned on Spotify. There was the familiar music she recalled from her youth. Rappers including Notorious B.I.G. It’s a Saturday evening—she continued to listen. An hour later, when she had turned off the music, there’s a knock on her door. It’s the police. Apparently, a neighbor called them. Apparently the music was alarming. That’s the kind of music he or she heard alarmed the neighbor. That kind of music from the “doctor’s” apartment. The physician reveals an old wound. Yet who is punished for this egregious offense? Who’s targeted to alleviate the neighbors of their fear?

How did the neighbors forget that the good doctor wasn’t white, after all?

I can identify with this story because earlier this year, I returned to listening to Reggae, via You Tube. Although not a Rastafarian, I have dreads, and for whites only informed by the rhetoric of white supremacy, dreads represents some message about something, hard to decipher. “Trouble,” as one old white male tenant came up to tell me back in March. Anything I listen to about Black Lives Matter is perceived, I’m sure, by eavesdroppers to be “anti-American.” Right up there with anti-capitalism!

My news sources—not the enabler Fox News but rather strange programs—the Democracy Now! The Mike Malloy Show, and Economic Update—allow the neighbors to divide and conquer. My daring to be non-Christian and Socialist too, lights the fuse of dynamite, and the war is on. But more on this story in another article.

The harassment of blacks has intensified over the last few years. And while some Americans believed that the election of a black president would remove the tarnished history of the enslavement of blacks and Jim Crow, at least, initiating a new beginning, too many of us know it just doesn’t work this way at all. Never has. As a particular tool of white supremacy, harassment operates with impunity: no one claims to see it happening. And yet, where is America without the harassment of black Americans? The hanging of nooses at workplaces, the Birther and Tea Party movements, in an American where the open wounds represent a backlash that just won’t quit.

And “uppity” blacks aware of America’s foundation in violence are perceived as annoying conscious in the same way an Ida B. Wells crusaded against the practice of lynching. The threat is that awareness. It’s an awareness that speaks to our knowledge of the lingering violence that is America’s reality. African Americans have been victims along with the mass majority of the world’s co-oppressed people. We’ve been required to play dead or come out. Stay silent or reveal the wound as open—as never having been healed but allowed to fester deep in our soil.

Donald Trump’s election to the presidency enables haters within the borders and “beyond” because no sovereign nation in Africa or Asia, in the Caribbeans or South America, is really beyond the watchful gaze of white supremacy. No sovereign land in worlds consisting of majority black or Brown, Indigenous or Asian is really safe from an unleashing of fear and hatred.

While not the origins of our current cultural atmosphere of intensified hate, Trump’s a perfect cheerleader. Out the woodwork come the harassers to do their thing. We shouldn’t be surprised at all, as painful as this is to say, let alone experience.

Whether or not law enforcement acknowledges this particular expression of hate against blacks in their own homes, regardless of retaliation from white managers or landlords, the reality of white supremacy will continue to fester, if not called out—and now! Editorial Board member and Columnist, Lenore Jean Daniels, PhD, has a Doctorate in Modern American Literature/Cultural Theory. Contact Dr. Daniels.




is published every Thursday
Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield, MBA
Peter Gamble

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