First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me – and there was no one to speak for me. – Pastor Martin Niemoller
America is in a dangerous place. The President of the United States is preaching hatred and white supremacy from his microphone. He has endangered America and granted permission to the white supremacists to engage in negative, racist behavior, including murder.
Donald Trump is the president who speaks and spreads racism out loud. In his speeches he says the Latino immigrants have “invaded” America.
As I have read about the Holocaust, I have wondered why the Jews didn’t do something in the beginning. Who didn’t speak up? How did Hitler execute his plan? How did he isolate the Jews and knock on doors and place them on trains to the gas chambers?
Where were the clergy, the politicians, the teachers, etc.? Where were the good, responsible people as Hitler went about addressing the “Jewish problem” with his “final solution”?
But then you turn around and ask, how in America’s past did white supremacists kill so many Black people? How did they execute a people that were quiet and docile as they addressed what they called the “Negro problem”?
White Supremacy, as common to America as apple pie, used lynchings as a means of social and racial control. Lynchings were the origin of what is now called “domestic terrorism”.
Approximately 5,000 Blacks were lynched and terrorized in the United States from the 1860s through the 1950s. Strangely, no one knew who did it, yet everyone knew who did it.
How did white people hang Negroes from trees and burn property and place a burning cross on the lawn as white men covered their faces in white hoods and robes and rode through the streets on horses, killing and threatening people as they dared to vote or walk on the sidewalk or look a white man in the eye?
How did white people hate so much and then go back to work with normalcy after a Sunday afternoon lynching with entire families looking on after church, children included?
Make no mistake, these lynchings, this domestic terrorism, was state-sanctioned. Between the 1860s and 1908, when they were banned, the U.S. Post Office allowed post cards to be mailed with pictures of lynchings on them.
And there were some famous public lynchings, including that of Allen Brooks, a 65-year-old Black man accused of molesting a three-year-old white girl. The mob didn’t wait for his trial to end; they rushed the courthouse, threw Brooks headfirst out the second floor window, then beat, stabbed and hung him in front of a crowd of 5,000 people in broad daylight in Dallas, Texas on March 3, 1910.
In Duluth, Minnesota, in 1920, a mob of more than 1,000 lynched three Black circus workers accused of robbery and rape – of which a doctor could find no evidence. The photo of the mob surrounding one of the bodies became a post card.
Probably the most famous post card depicts the lynching of 17-year-old Jesse Washington in May 1916. One of the cards has been preserved. On one side is the burned corpse of Washington hanging from a pole. The other side contains a handwritten note reading: “This is the barbecue we had last night. My picture is to the left with a cross over it. Your son, Joe.”
As Trump spews his inflammatory rhetoric about immigrants – Mexicans being rapist and criminals, etc. – it’s worth noting that the largest mass lynching in America was not of Blacks, but of Italians.
It happened in New Orleans in 1911 when a mob stormed a jail and took out, shot and lynched 11 Sicilian immigrants accused of killing the police commissioner. The men were found not guilty at trial, but that didn’t stop the mob.
A story on the lynching on the website of The National Italian American Foundation reads, “It was not uncommon for Italian immigrants to face hostility and discrimination (in America) based on perceptions that they displayed ignorance, were lazy, and most of all, were inclined toward criminality.”
Sound like the rhetoric that Trump is using about today’s immigrants? Now, suddenly, we have a white supremacist-oriented shooter traveling to El Paso, intent on killing Hispanics.
Young White Males
We had a bloody weekend. Saturday in El Paso, Texas, a young white male killed 22 people and injured dozens in a Walmart after posting a racist, anti-immigrant message. His crime is being called an act of “domestic terror” and possibly a hate crime. How could it be labeled anything else but a hate crime?
Then we woke up Sunday to the mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio’s entertainment district, where another white young male killed nine, including his sister, and injured 27.
Domestic terrorism in 13 hours saw two mass murders, 31 people dead, scores wounded. This all happened less than a week after three were killed in the Garlic Festival mass shooting in Northern California by a young male who is the great grandson of actor William Holden.
Did they send out a memo to white young men? Will young white men now be studied in universities to determine what is wrong with this demographic?
America is in a dangerous place. We are watching young white males kill in places of worship, schools, college campuses, shopping malls, festivals, parties and at the movies – all places of normal activity for average Americans.
Young white men are fearful of diversity. The young white male who killed in El Paso wrote in his manifesto that “immigrants were the great replacement,” adding, “America is rotting from the inside out.” Why are white males so fearful?
Back To The Present
We are seeing the waning days of American racism, perhaps the end, perhaps the eradication, as presidential candidates give real conversation to admitting that Black America has been abused and brutalized by the government and their fellow Americans and that reparations should be provided.
Some thought after President Barack Obama’s win of the power seat that America was “race free.” However, after Trump’s win, America has regressed significantly. But America will never go back to pure racism.
Too many have worked too hard, too long, for that total regression to take place. Just as some will die for white supremacy, some are willing to die now for diversity and equality. People will not sit passively and idly by to watch how it plays out on TV.
America is in a dangerous place, as Trump speaks racist inflammatory rhetoric, while the liberals mistakenly claim “identity politics” is a common pot, calling everybody other than whites “people of color” instead of by their specific designations.
It is time for America to get over its bigoted ways. Every ethnic group is targeted in some way, degraded, marginalized and dehumanized until they become fully assimilated in American society from the bottom up with political representation.
We watch sick, wealthy white male pedophile Jeffrey Epstein – a Trump friend – discuss his plan to impregnate young white women with his sperm to create a superior race with his personal DNA as he awaits his day in court in jail for sex trafficking. The great white pure race; sound familiar?
The George Wallace Example
While Trump supporters will argue that Trump did not pull the trigger in the two mass shootings, he does encourage racism and promotes white superiority in his speeches. The crowds he speaks to chant threats of violence, which become a rally cry. He has created an environment of hate.
America suffers from a lack of moral leadership. And you wonder why people don’t vote. What is there to vote for, becomes a formidable question. This is beyond politics. The politicians have let the American public down.
Trump speaks hatred and he has cast the immigrants as the enemy to be afraid of. They are invaders, and they are taking jobs. Texas Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, who serves El Paso, said it well when she said America is experiencing a hate epidemic led by number 45.
Trump, the President, is the new George Wallace, the Alabama Governor who stood in the front door of the school to block federally enforced integration and said in his 1963 inaugural address as Governor, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”
Trump seems to have borrowed a page from the late George Wallace’s campaign style. In 1958, Wallace ran in the Democratic primary for governor of Alabama.
Wallace’s main opponent was state attorney general John Malcolm Patterson, who ran with the support of the Ku Klux Klan. Wallace had spoken against the Klan and, in fact, was endorsed by the NAACP, if you can believe it. But Wallace lost the nomination by over 34,000 votes.
After the election, his aide Seymore Trammell recalled Wallace saying, “Seymore, you know why I lost that governor’s race?…I was out-niggered by John Patterson. And I’ll tell you here and now, I will never be out-niggered again.”
Previously a racial moderate, in the wake of his defeat, Wallace adopted a hard-line segregationist stance and used this stand to court the white vote in the next gubernatorial election in 1962.
When a supporter asked why he started using racist messages, Wallace replied, “You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about niggers, and they stomped the floor.”
Guns And Hate
As we work too much these days in isolation and in silos, as the Internet is the prime communicator, and Facebook has no rules, and Twitter is the instant news of the day, our moral leadership is in decay.
We need what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called a “coalition of conscience” to address the racism of the day. Silence is not an option.
Gun violence is out of control. We desperately need new legislation. The politicians must step up and damn the hunters, money, and power of the NRA. As the NRA says the answer to violence is more guns to combat that violence, we have high-powered rifles on the street as people hunt people.
In Dayton, nine people were killed in less than a minute by that shooter’s weapon. El Paso is in a state where citizens can openly carry guns and rifles, so the El Paso shooter walking with a rifle must not have seemed a big deal. None of that makes sense, which is why we need “common sense” gun laws.
We are in a presidential election cycle, but we cannot wait until an election comes and goes next November. We continuously see these human tragedies by a lone crazed gunman and it is news for a week, just a week.
The reporters ask the insensitive questions, the community gathers and watches with balloons and candles, we televise the funeral and then we all return to our normal lives and forget until the next one. Enough.
America is in a dangerous place.
(N’DIGO Editor David Smallwood contributed to this story.)