Black people get that question put to us a lot more often than you would think. It is generally followed by the statement, ‘well…I don’t see color’ or ‘things have changed’ accompanied by a raised eyebrow of incredulity. Unlike the police or people who believe in witchcraft, people of color cannot take off their skin or hide their caldron and go undetected. That leaves one choice for us, COPING. We do not have an opinion about every action of every black man or woman in the world, and some white men can out jump us. We are as independent in thought as the next man or woman. So when you sought out your black friend to express your outrage about OJ or Bill Cosby, surprise… they may have been more disgusted than you.

Race is and has been a constant struggle for a man my age. For most of my life, dating back to the late 50s it has been used as a manipulative tool or as a cudgel, both figuratively and literally. Norms and rationality have been so abused during the Trump administration, something he said a few days ago is a perfect illustration of how race shapes judgment. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. of course famously said to judge people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. Writer and author Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote an essay, which was later turned into a teaching module entitled the 1619 Project which first appeared in the New York Times. Critics of the work have tried to discredit it not because of minor subjective historical interpretations, but because they feel it is racist to admit enslaved people helped build America’s economy. Somehow—critics say, an honest examination of race in America will guilt whites and I suppose anger blacks.

Mr. Trump, who even his minions would have to admit, is a dishonest broker on the issue of race. He has called for the executions of innocent kids, practiced housing discrimination, and uttered a slew of racist epithets, etc. In answer to the 1619 Project, Mr. Trump is proposing what sounds like a North Korean reeducation program, the 1776 Commission. The obvious implication is that black history is not American history. Mr. Trump’s statement reads, “This project [1619] rewrites American history to teach our children that we were founded on the principle of oppression, not freedom.”

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” the president continued. “America's founding set in motion the unstoppable chain of events that abolished slavery, secured civil rights, defeated communism and fascism, and built the most fair, equal, and prosperous nation in human history.” In essence, he may as well have said, the descendants of enslaved people should thank America for setting our heritage ablaze. The absurdity of the portion of his statement that declares, ‘ America's founding set in motion the unstoppable chain of events that abolished slavery’ is so absurd on its face, it insults not only black Americans but should be just as offensive to white Americans.

The government has no inherent powers or rights to set the school curriculum but the silence from the Right is deafening. No objections from the Right were made about Mr. Trump’s proposal to alter the historical fact. In 2009 the then-President Barack Obama proposed he issue a welcome back to school address to America’s children, much like his predecessors Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush had done before him. No changes in curriculum, no politics, just a welcome back address. One line from the speech's transcript read, ‘ Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future. Most Americans admitted conservative objections were political, but black Americans knew it was as much racial as political. So before you ask the question,  Why Do Black People Think So Much of Race? Maybe the real question should be why has America thought so little of black people?  

Vote in 2020 for Change.


  • September 21, 2020
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