The last three days have been more than a little crazy in post-racial America lovelies. Honestly, it is all a little overwhelming.
Let’s start here.
Mercutio Southall Jr., a black man, was assaulted at a Donald Trump rally.
“It was just a sea of white faces,” he told ThinkProgress. “A lady kicked me in the stomach. A man kicked me in the chest. They called me n*****, monkey, and they shouted ‘all lives matter’ while they were kicking and punching me. So for all the people who are still confused at this point, they proved what ‘all lives matter’ meant. It means, ‘Shut up, n*****.’”
On Sunday, the morning after the rally, Trump told the hosts of Fox & Friends that Southall deserved what he got.
“Maybe he should have been roughed up,” he said. “It was disgusting what he was doing…This was a very obnoxious guy, a troublemaker, looking to make trouble.”
[I know some of you will disagree with his assessment of what “all lives matter” means. What you need to realize is that many, many people have co-opted that phrase and are using it to justify their hatred, racism, and xenophobia. Additionally, it is always good to be aware of people hear versus what you say. For more on this read here, here, and here.]
In spite of all of this, Trump continues to rise in the polls.
Yesterday I was alerted to a disturbing movement in response to the recent protests against systemic racism on college campuses across the country. A white supremacist group put out the call to start bogus “White Student Union” facebook pages associated with as many colleges as possible. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports:
A post on the blogging website Medium, by the user Bears for Equality, traces the phenomenon back to a post on the white-supremacist blog the Daily Stormer. That post, dated on Saturday, latched onto the appearance of a “white student union” page affiliated with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and called on readers to duplicate it. “Make more of these White Student Union pages on Facebook for various universities,” the post reads. “You don’t have to go there.”
One of my faithful subscribers alerted her alma mater, Penn State that they had been targeted by the racists hoping to stir up more problems and hatred on their campus. Penn State like most universities are fighting to have the sites removed, and as of this morning, these efforts seem to be successful. Here is the statement they released on twitter:
Here is a link where you can find the list of Universities that have been targeted so far so you can check to make sure your alma mater has successfully removed and denounced these bogus pages.
This morning I woke up to a report from the Associated Press that five #blacklivesmatter protesters in Minneapolis had been shot and wounded by a small group of white supremicists who showed up at last night’s protest.
Add all of this to the disproportionate number of black people arrested, incarcerated and killed by police officers and it is clear we have some serious work to do.
Excuse me, Post-racial America, you seem to have some blood on your hands.
Trump and the other GOP candidates will likely have no good response for these recent events. In fact, Trump specifically has already proven he has the worst possible answer. To quote Chauncy Devega in his article in Salon:
The 2016 presidential primary season has seen Republican candidates endorse internment camps for Syrian refugees, an enemies list for Muslims, making Christianity the official state religion of the United States, establishing a Gestapo-like force to eject “illegal immigrants” from the United States, and other actions that are unworthy of what is supposed to be the world’s greatest democracy.
Those men and women who seek the office of the president of the United States should be responsible, reflective, and intelligent individuals. While they are members of a political party, these individuals should also be ambassadors of the Common Good who first and foremost want to advance and protect the General Welfare of the United States and its citizens. To this point in the campaign, the Republican 2016 primary presidential candidates, as a group, have not shown that they are capable of honoring that obligation.
The presidential primary season is not over. There is still time for the Republican Party to rise to the occasion.
To that end, will the 2016 Republican primary presidential candidates denounce Donald Trump’s rhetoric and the violence of his supporters or condemn last evening’s shootings of the Black Lives Matter protesters by white supremacists?
Will this crop of potential GOP presidential nominees demand that their peers, as well as the right-wing Fox News propaganda machine, tone down their collective racist, nativist, xenophobic and violence-inducing rhetoric?
The answer is likely to be “no.” Instead, the Republican 2016 presidential candidates will ignore the violence and bigotry they have encouraged or instead play the “victim” of the “liberal media.” The Right-wing Fox News echo chamber will also likely spin fictions of “liberal infiltrators” or “agent provocateurs” that are actually committing violence at Donald Trump rallies or shooting Black Lives Matter activists in Minneapolis.
As they have repeatedly done in recent American history, movement conservatives and their media will continue to strike a match in a room full of gasoline vapor and act surprised when it explodes.