Illustration by Marlin Lavanhar
Published 6/11/2020| Reading Time 3 Minutes 29 Seconds
By Autumn Brown, Senior Writer
When it came across my screen, “Trump’s holding a rally in Tulsa,” my stomach dropped. The real kick in the gut was the date for the rally, Juneteenth.
Yes, you heard that correctly: Trump is planning a “rally” on Juneteenth standing atop the mass graves of blacks who lost their lives during the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers made it to Galveston, Texas with news that the war ended and the enslaved were free–two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
How much more disgusting can this man get?
I’m just going to keep it plain: TRUMP’S RHETORIC IS RACIST, DIVISIVE, AND DANGEROUS.
RACIST, DIVISIVE, FILTH!
Shame on Tulsa officials and Governor Stitt for welcoming this filth into Tulsa county. The fallout from this decision will be significant, with black community members bearing the brunt of this decision.
We, in the black community, are grieving. Our mental, spiritual, and physical states are tired. Yet Oklahoma’s political officials relish in kicking us while we’re down with Governor Stitt penning the following statement:
“We are honored President Trump accepted our invitation to our great state. The President is making Oklahoma his first campaign stop since March 2, and his visit here confirms Oklahoma is the national example in responsibly and safely reopening. I am excited to welcome President Trump to Tulsa next week and for Oklahomans to show the world how we are a Top 10 state.”
And, to add insult to injury, the news about Trump’s rally was made on the heels of the historic announcement of Greg Robinson’s bid for mayor in Tulsa.
Oklahoma is always taking two steps forward and a hundred back. With such an insensitive move made by Oklahoma officials, I am sure that Governor Stitt, Mayor Bynum, and other Oklahoma officials DO NOT care about black people.
For those who may feel the statement is extreme, let’s turn to data. Data compiled by the Anti-Defamation League show that counties that hosted a Trump campaign rally in 2016 saw hate crimes more than double compared to similar counties that did not host a rally.
Further, in experiments, it has been shown that those exposed to Trump’s rhetoric have increased prejudice expressions.
On the one hand, it baffles me that Oklahoma officials remain aloof as it pertains to racial turmoil throughout the state. Then I remember Oklahoma’s role in the most massive act of domestic terrorism on U.S. soil, and my astonishment fades away.
Most disturbing, though, are black Trump supporters who do not see the racial undertones in his choice to resurrect his racist rally on the day blacks celebrate being free-ish.
Do you know that character on the Boondocks named Uncle Ruckus? Those are black people who refuse to see how divisive and dangerous this man is for the country.
For the longest, I regarded Candace Owens as a mythical creature in a faraway land. She was a caricature that I did my best to keep out of my mind. But it struck me to learn that some in my backyard, those I consider “friends,” are versions of Candace Owens and don’t even know it.
“This is like Christmas! A Trump rally in Tulsa?! I’m definitely going,” was the response from a black man whom I used to consider a friend. I challenged his reaction to which he responded by saying, “Have you ever been to a Trump rally? It’s entertaining, pure comedy when he gets all riled up. I don’t take it seriously, but it is good entertainment.”
Hitler was “entertaining” until he orchestrated the mass murder of 11 million Jews and others.
It is dangerous to find Trump and his racist, xenophobic, ableist, and sexist antics as entertainment. Laughing, instead of facing evil head-on with outrage, sends a message in support of Trump and his problematic speech.
Entertainment is reality television or a Shonda Rhimes production. Entertainment is not merely laughing away statements such as, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems… They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
This statement is coming from a man who was a close friend and affiliate of charged sex offender, Jeff Epstein, known for sex trafficking little girls as young as 14-years-old.
As if I needed further reasons to be utterly disgusted with this state, and government officials, the scheduling of Trump’s rally on Juneteenth is a nail in the coffin.
Voting is essential, and we must remember instances like these as we cast our ballots both on a national and local level. It’s not enough to only get Trump out of office, but it’s important to remember his allies (Stitt and #Byenum) who make decisions that are not in the black community’s best interest.
I stand with my black brothers and sisters in Tulsa, who are outraged at this announcement. We can’t catch a damn break!
And for the “black” folks who find pleasure in moments like these, I reference your Uncle Ruckus in asking, “Do you celebrate the white man’s goodness every day? Do you stop and thank the white man for the food you eat and the clothes you wear?”