THE RACIST IN CHIEF

I would like to plead with every journalist, pundit, and talk show guest to never again ask whether or not Donald Trump is a racist. For those who still had their doubts, he just answered the question in his latest tweets. Anyone who tells people of color to go back to where they came from is a racist. No one but a racist says things like that. And he’s right about one thing — there are people in this country who agree with him. Donald Trump has been a darling of the white supremacist movement from the moment he descended the escalator in Trump Tower and began calling Mexicans rapists and criminals. White nationalists are thrilled by his latest messages. To state the obvious, anyone who is not a racist would be horrified by the news that white nationalists are high-fiveing them.

The worst thing that could happen right now is silence from the millions of citizens who do not believe that America’s greatness is defined by its whiteness. Silence is the breeding ground for the toxic belief system personified by this president. The news moves fast these days; stories fall off the radar. The Trump administration counts on that — careening from one drama to the next — but we must not forget this moment. Of all the racist statements this president has made, this is the clearest. And our voices need to rise up in concert to say, This is not the America we want.

Years ago, in the 90’s, when I was living in New York, my mother used to fly into the city sometimes to visit friends. She very graciously included me in dinner invitations, and I would find myself in elegant east-side apartments at sit-down dinners where finger bowls were part of the place-settings and the women set tiny purses on the table next to their wine glasses so they could touch up their lipstick. Feeling a bit out of place, I did my best to be unobtrusive. At one of these dinners, I was seated next to a somewhat well-known man, a fixture of east side social gatherings. I can’t recall what we were talking about, but it must have been something that touched on race because suddenly he used the n-word. It exploded into the air between us.  I froze in shock. Amused that he had stunned me, he said it again, and then proceeded to say that he could use the word because he “had some black friends.” My first instinct was to get up, leave the table, and exit the apartment. But I knew it would be very dramatic, I would be perceived as rude, and I would probably never hear the end of it from my mother. So I stayed, turned silent, and turned my back on this man to talk to the person on the other side of me.

I wish now I had left — consequences be damned. I wish I had said, I don’t associate with people who use that word…on my way out the door.

I think about that event now as a lesson in how bruising silence can be. That man won — he used a vile word, bullied me into keeping quiet, and I meekly went along with it. It’s a memory that still hurts when I touch it. But it gave me a resolve to never again be silent in the presence of racism. There are dark forces in this country, and Donald Trump has given them permission to come out of the shadows, raise their fists, and march through our streets. But they are not the majority. There is only one way that Donald Trump’s racism can win — if the majority of us, who are appalled by it, stay silent.

 

6 Responses to THE RACIST IN CHIEF

  1. Debra Shelton says:

    You nailed it, Patti. My FIL used the “N” word in my house, and my husband nearly died. He told his dad that was unacceptable in our home. My FIL told my husband he’d like to explain to me the difference between good blacks and bad ones. Needless to say, this conversation never took place and never will. No surprise, he’s a staunch Trump supporter.

  2. Chet Yoakum says:

    Thanks for sharing, Patty. It’s timely, and extremely easy for most of us to say, yeah, me too! We must all stand up against the rampant bigotry and racism in our once great country.

  3. Deborah Caplan says:

    After reading your comments I wrote Debbie Dingell – My representative in Michigan.
    Also watched the news conference with the 4 young congress women- I am a baby boomer – but I marvel at how these women speak truth to power – Trump needs to go
    I hope impeachment proceedings start ASAP

  4. Rodney Wilson says:

    I’ve never been more disheartened but I’m trying to stay abreast of latest events and trying to continue speaking out against Trumpism.

  5. Jeff Egerton says:

    “Power lies in reason, resolution, and truth. No matter how long the tyrant endures, he will be the loser at the end.”

    – Khalil Gibran, Your Thought and Mine

    We, as Americans, as humans, need to gather our voices, no matter our race or background, and stop this tyrant and his incessant ignorant and dangerous rhetoric and deeds.
    Thank you, Patti, for your words and your voice.

  6. Bill Webb says:

    Well said. Ma’am. Too bad his supporters have the kind of deep-seated beliefs that won’t be changed by any sane declarations.

    And on a similar topic:I don’t think your dad’s were, either. It’s a shame that liberals (and I are one) seem in many cases to show the same sorts of knee-jerk reaction based on one use of a word in a private phone call to a man who was in no sense his peer.

    I didn’t vote for President Reagan due to political differences, but I had no doubt – then or since – that he was not a good man and I will never believe that he was a racist.

    Sorry you and your family have to put up with the current p. c. b. s.

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