An illustration of Africans enslaved with prong collars | Photo Courtesy of Fabrice Monteiro
Published 06/22/2020 | Reading Time 8 min 43 sec
Editorial by Nehemiah D. Frank, founder and editor in chief
President Donald J. Trump is intentional when it comes to masking his racism. He creates the illusion that he’s for racial unity by using American symbols of liberty without delivering the whole history. And if you think I’m giving the President more credit where it isn’t due, I can attest that I’m not.
Most Americans assume that Trump is unbeknownst to history since his administration planned his original rally date to land on Juneteenth in Tulsa, Oklahoma — the holiday that marks the ending of American slavery and in one of America’s most racist and politically disenfranchised cities for Black Americans. However, I’m sure Trump is unaware that he’s being used by racists social architects, such as his right-wing speech-writer: Stephen Miller, who’s grown accustomed to loading Trump’s speeches with racist vitriol toward anything that seemingly threatens America’s racial hierarchy.
Trump can’t be bothered with worrying about what his words and actions do to non-White Americans. He’s unconcerned regarding the negative impact of his racist statements toward Asian Americans when he uses phrases like kungflu when referencing Covid-19. Like right-wing personality Candace Owens and former Republican Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives T.W. Shannon, Trump is the perfect biological host to deliver racist propaganda to the masses, which keep the nation divided. These influential, racists social manipulators can do this because their selected hosts are consumed by narcissism without the concern of what happens to the citizens his language demonizes.
During Trump’s first 2020 reelection campaign speech in Tulsa, President Trump said, “We are the party of Abraham Lincoln, and we are the party of Law and Order.”
While the Republican Party is the faction of the President who emancipated the enslaved Black people in the South, it’s essential to understand that Lincoln is from the old northern, Yankee Republican Party — the party that defeated the South during the Civil War.
Hence, Lincoln was a progressive who rejected the Confederate symbol we see flying at Trump rallies. The symbol that Trump defends. That southern party, which became a Confederate nation, the one that lost the Civil War, is today’s Republican Party; hence, it’s the party with the same racists’ agenda permeating the South politically (e.g., Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, North and South Carolina, etc., essentially all the Confederate slave states or states where confederate families moved to after the fall — places like Oklahoma).
These southern Republicans have only adopted northern progressive historical symbols of liberty for all, such as Abraham Lincoln, to appear non-racist. Nevertheless, it still seeks to maintain the status quo of a supreme White hegemony that is harmful to all non-White Americans.
This is why Trump follows-up his first racially-coded statement with the phrase Law and Order. To White Americans, this particular slogan means security and protection from criminals. Notwithstanding that through decades and centuries of anti-Black propaganda, this idea of Black people being prone to criminality is seared into the psyches of White Americans that tell them: It’s Blacks that Whites must be protected from.
Notably, the law portion of this expression means that White Americans may continue moving through their lives with the unconscious generational understanding that the laws created by people who look like them will always fall in their favor every time they beckon. It’s why we see White police officers who shoot and kill unarmed Black Americans, disproportionately, receiving non-guilty verdicts.
The order portion of this idiom is a promise to White Americans for a rebirth of White supremacy laws in new-form: the new Jim Crow, modern-day Black codes used to keep Black people in their place and conscious of the White hierarchy.
Attendees internalize this messaging subconsciously at Trump rallies. So when a White American calls the police on a Black person, they expect that order of White supremacy to be immediately executed in their favor. It’s why Gregory and Travis McMichael, the two White men who lynched Ahmaud Arbery, weren’t arrested for months.
It’s why the law and order phrase gets so much applause from Trumpers, yet triggers concerns and even fear for Black Americans who generationally experience police brutality and White violence.
Trump’s next anti-Black statement is his description of clearing Black Lives Matter protesters out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, with the national guard. It would become a missed opportunity for the President to reconcile with the American people who believe in the mission of the BLM movement, which is not anti-White or even anti-police — but a movement that calls for the dismantling of racists systems.
Expectedly, the President would shed no signs of empathy to Black America at his Juneteenth rally.
Trump’s chain of racist disregard continued as he failed to mention that the protests — erupting across the nation as a loud whistling, boiling kettle ready to explode — was caused by not only the death of George Floyd, Bryonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, but was long overdue to the centuries of racial injustices against Black Americans.
There he stood at the zenith of White privilege capable of pulling the nation together but failing miserably due to cultural incompetence, not acknowledging the horrid truth that Whites violently provoked and slaughtered 300 Black Americans during the 1921 Tulsa Race massacre in the city where he approved his rally to be held.
Trump declared at the podium, “But Americans have watched left-winged radicals burn down buildings, loot businesses, destroy private property, injure hundreds of dedicated police officers,” sensationalizing a desperate reverse racism ploy in a city where Whites did that very thing 99-years ago.
Trump’s media propaganda machines consistently display Black people engaged in unlawful activities, which becomes the validated subconscious racial-bias needed for White Americans to believe that law and order are required to keep them safe and to control the so-called Black criminal thugs they see on the evening news — never connecting and delivering the why to his base that is crucial to unifying the nation racially.
Trump’s racist undertones continue, as he says “the unhinged left-winged mob is trying to vandalize our [White Confederate] history, desecrate our [White Confederate] monuments, tear down our [White Confederate] statues and punish, cancel and persecute anyone who does not conform to their demands for absolute and total control — we’re not conforming, that’s why we’re here actually.”
Trump knows that the only monuments coming down are those that honor the architects of White Supremacy and racial oppression toward Blacks, Confederate statues — memorials dedicated to treasonous racists rebels who fought to keep Black Americans enslaved and treated less than human, less than animals.
This is why Trump is the most racially divisive President in modern history. I will seriously question the character of any American who casts a ballot for this racist man in November.
Nehemiah D. Frank is the founder, executive editor, and director of The Black Wall Street Times, digital news media company that believes access is the new civil right. He’s also a freelance writer, appearing in TIME Magazine, Tulsa People, and Tulsa World. Frank graduated with a general studies degree from Harold Washington College in Chicago, IL, and a political science degree from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and was a member and chapter president of the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society. Today, he is a blogger for Education Post, based in Chicago, IL, and a board member for the Tulsa World, Tulsa Press Club, and Tulsa’s Table. He is also a public school educator at a local community-led charter school and is a member of Superintendent Joy Hofmeister’s Education Task Force for Equity and Inclusion. In 2017, Frank became a Terence Crutcher Foundation honoree, a recipient of the 2017 METCares Foundation Community Impact Award, a 2018 Black Educators Fellow and gave a TED Talk at the University of Tulsa.