The subject of Black History Month could be taken in any number of directions as race relations in America is now, and forever will be, a topical lightning rod. For example, under the banner of BHM, one could easily write or speak about ethnicity-based discrimination, its impact on Black Americans and how it’s as much a part of America’s DNA as apple pie. Or, one could do the dutiful thing and write a much deserved, celebratory and not oft enough told piece highlighting the great inroads, accomplishments, contributions and sacrifices made by legendary African Americans, U.S. Citizens and Civil Rights icons such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Representative John Lewis, Medgar Evers, Congresswoman Shirley Chisolm, Malcolm X, Mary McLeod Bethune, Ruby Bridges, Dorothy Height, Rosa Parks, Stokely Carmichael, Nina Simone, W.E.B. DuBois, Percy Julian and Frederick Douglass (to name a very few).
Of a certainty one could choose to go either of those directions in terms of making a literary contribution to Black History Month and not be in the least bit off the mark in doing so. However, with the advent of Donald J. Trump’s ascendency to the highest office in this land, I believe I can personally honor the above mentioned best by crafting a piece that speaks directly to the most singular and greatest present day threat to their vast and historic contributions: Trump himself.
It is a 99.99% likelihood that Trump will never know who I am (a probability I believe would hold true even if we met face to face twice a day for five years straight). However, based on his consistently divisive and denigrating rhetoric and executive actions, I have a strong sense of who he is not only as president, but also as a man. When I look at our current president from the perspective of a minority in America against the overlay of tenuous race relations that has oftentimes consumed this republic, I see a man with zero credence on the subject of racial, ethnic or religious unification and healing in general as well as the African-American experience as it relates to those topics in particular.
Don’t agree? Well, let’s talk facts. And I’ll just throw out two.
Fact #1: Trump spent roughly five years, a half of a decade, giving every ounce of belligerent, petulant and disrespectful energy he could muster to the disgraceful, slanderous and racially charged initiative of discrediting the first African American President by stating for all to hear that, without any substantiating proof and based solely on the machinations of his own fatuous and sinister mind, he didn’t believe Barack Obama was a citizen of these United States. His twitter feed is rife with the poison to this day. He made the assertion on talk shows, during call in interviews and even went as far as stating he hired a lawyer to investigate and “find the truth.” SMH.
So it stands to reason that my bones seemed as though they were set afire as I watched Trump sitting in the Roosevelt Room, flanked by two African-Americans, Omarosa Manigault and Dr. Ben Carson (whom seemed to be propped up like sycophantic show ponies), and began a horrific, insulting, tone deaf, patronizing, self-serving and ill-informed sham of a gathering called the “African-American History Month Listening Session“. No surprise that Trump did most of the talking and managed to, just as he did in his first address to the brave men and women of the CIA, get in his diatribe about the media being biased against him. Yes, at a gathering meant to support Black History Month, Trump, the most privileged of men, lamented how things were just so unfair to him. Still SMH.
Fact #2: In addition to the nastiness that was the ‘birther movement’, Trump, on January 14, 2017, just six days before his inauguration, took to twitter and called Civil Rights icon and House of Representatives member John Lewis “All talk … no action …”
Wait, wait just one damn minute … WHAT??
Representative John Lewis was among the brave men and women who were consistently on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement. He marched arm-in-arm with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and was arrested and even beaten to pave the way for African Americans to have the right to vote in this country. I personally have a part in the democratic process and an enduring voice in this republic thanks to Representative John Lewis and other black, white, Asian, Latino and Native American brothers and sisters like him. What level of arrogance, narcissism and outright sociopathy must this man suffer from to even think he has the right to sit in his gilded ivory tower and from his privileged and pampered perspective and take such petty shots at an irreproachable civil servant like John Lewis?? Have mercy …
But we know his racial ire isn’t just aimed at African-Americans; slandering Mexicans was the opening salvo of his repugnant but historic presidential campaign. Painting all believers of Islam as terrorists and a perpetual threat to the safety of the United States is what resurrected the quasi-dormant white nationalist and bigoted sector of this country and more or less sealed the deal for him to hold the distinction and honor of the 45th President of these United States.
So pardon me (or don’t) if I refuse to take Trump’s remarks on Black History Month with even the smallest grain of seriousness. This man, who ran the most racially charged and divisive campaign in the history of the U.S. Presidency, is not worthy to speak or utter one single syllable on matters of global or domestic race relations. Period. And it isn’t by some misguided, conspiracy-ridden political agenda that I pass judgment; rather, it is by Trump’s own words and actions that he is condemned, that he has condemned himself. Based on “testimony” from his own mouth, Trump has less than zero credibility on this issue.
Therefore, because I’m certain I will never meet him in person, I will utilize the closing section of this post to address the president directly:
Dear, Mr. President:
In the most humble, courteous, non-angry-black-man manner possible I ask that you kindly SHUT THE HELL UP when it comes to the time of year that celebrates the noble accomplishments and sacrifices of my forebears. People you and your father wouldn’t have wanted living in your properties; people who, based on the fact you have the nerve to categorize and malign publicly as “my African-American over there”, you probably would rather own than have to acknowledge; people whose shoes you aren’t even worthy to untie let alone walk in.
Measured against the deluge of your xenophobic ranting and raving, your words on the subject of Black History Month are hollow, your every gesture in its regard offensive and your carefully planned and staged photo-op centric”events” meant to show honor and solidarity teem with shame and are repugnant in the highest order to not only the overwhelming majority of African-Americans but thinking White, Latino, Native American and Asian brothers and sisters all across this globe. And so, it is with the utmost respect, Mr. President, that I request you keep Black History Month, and anything pertaining to it, out of your lying, crooked, deceptive, slanderous, bigoted, insensitive and imperious mouth. Thank you and have a good day (or don’t?).
Think Passionately. Disrupt Strategically.
-A. Lawrence Haskins
United States Congress: (202) 225-3121
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