America is unquestionably becoming a heterogeneous society, all while the death rattle of White supremacy hisses its last plea to remain relevant in a changing nation that seeks to vomit out all its racism and dog-whistle, divisive political rhetoric.
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Editorial by Nehemiah D. Frank, Founder and Editor in Cheif
Top Row: Jon Ossoff (left) and Raphael Warnock (right) | Bottom Row: Karen Watkins (left), Everton Blair (Center), Dr. Tarece Johnson (right)
Until January 20, 2021, the day America is scheduled to swear in President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, we remain in the twilight zone.
A television personality with no previous governing experience, Donald J. Trump is still seated at the helm of the most influential and military power in the world — as President of the United States. Next, a once in a century global-pandemic continues claiming the lives of thousands of Americans weekly; its death toll is expected to breach a quarter of a million Americans dead before Thanksgiving. Wild California fires have displaced upwards of 200,000 U.S. citizens, as the deep South is still in recovery from a highly active hurricane season. Moreover, the Black Lives Matter neo-Civil Rights Era advances uncomfortable dinner table conversations leaving many families, mainly White, emotionally broken just before the holidays.
But the most shocking and unexpected phenomenon yet has infuriated America’s lame-duck President, triggering his political base. This last-minute surprise may be the only bright spot in the majority of our lives.
Georgia turned Blue.
Once one of seven original slave states to withdraw from the Union — igniting the American Civil War, then remained in political lockstep with the other former Confederate states upon rejoining the North — it evolved.
Consider this: Yankee states have always been two steps ahead of the Dixies, outlawing institutional slavery first, then eventually dragging a kicking and screaming South into an era where the institution of slavery became abolished.
Subsequently, the South unapologetically passed Jim Crow laws, as the North practiced racial segregation via de facto while making small strides closer towards a more integrated American society.
As the sayings go: History has a way of repeating itself, and some traditions are meant to be broken.
The once rebellious South folded its knees one by one to a more progressive North, beginning in 1866. And although Georgia was the last former Confederate state of being readmitted to the Union, its turning Blue in 2020, breaking from the other southern states first, is yet another indication that our collective history continues to draw parallels between its past and present but with a twist. In both situations, many Southern Whites, and those who share in their collective political tribalism today, were forced into a reckoning whether they were ready or not. For Whites, that unexpectedly cold pool feeling has come at their cost, while the rest of us were driven by the need for equal access for all Americans regardless of differences.
Once violently terrorized by klansmen for having the audacity to caste ballets in a White man’s world, Black Georgia voters freely chose America’s 46th President and first woman Vice President of color without intimidation.
But that’s not all.
In one of their counties, three people of color flipped a public education board in a rapidly changing demography that’s becoming more Black and Brown.
Karen Watkins becomes Gwinnett County’s first Black and Asian school board member. Tarece Johnson is becoming the first Black and Jewish woman elected to the school board, and Everton Blair becomes the first Black man and member of the LGBTQ+ community to serve at its dais. Although their democratic colleague Tanisha Banks didn’t win her Gwinnett County school board race, she definitely placed a huge dent in the minds of her district’s voters that a shift of inclusion is needed.
Nevertheless, change in the form of representation has undoubtedly come to the Gwinnett County School Board, thanks to progressive philosophies that welcome diversity and inclusion and fervently respect the history of all cultures, religions, and racial differences.
Their uniqueness reflects the America of today and tomorrow and one where students of color may see their reflections in those who are imparting knowledge to them and show them the path to obtaining more of it.
Watkins’, Johnson’s, and Blair’s beliefs are aligned and etched into the feet of the Mother of Exiles, the Statue of Liberty:
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” — excerpt from The New Colossus
Inclusion and acceptance are ideals extended to those who dare to dream but too often have been locked-out from entering the golden door that leads to an American Dream due to race and sex and sexual and religious practices. Nevertheless, the American Constitution promises that it should be obtainable to all living within our borders, regardless of how they got here.
America is unquestionably becoming a heterogeneous society, all while the death rattle of White supremacy hisses its last plea to remain relevant in a changing nation that’s ready to vomit all its racism and dog-whistle political rhetoric.
Once again, Georgia becomes the focal point. All eyes remain on it as two senate races become the center of a polarized people, seemingly our reoccurring theme since 1776.
A fight to rebalance the court to defend the civil rights of the marginalized, elect the state’s first Black senator who happens to be the pastor of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s earthly spiritual home, and protect universal health care that passed under President Obama’s administration — narrowing racial and class health disparities, becomes a dated political philosophy’s last staw to-pull in hopes of remaining relevant.
Two Democrats — Raphael Warnock, who is Black, and Jon Ossoff, who is Jewish — face two wealthy White Georgian Republicans. Republicans emboldened by an unhinged President unafraid to be called a racist now engage in dangerously divisive and racially stigmatizing rhetoric to protect their exclusive traditions and southern heritage. This Senate runoff: January 5, 2021.
To all those dreaming of a more inclusive, accepting, and compassionate America, we pray this Georgia runoff is the final exhale of White supremacy’s last breath. We are hoping Georgia continues turning Bluer.
Nehemiah D. Frank is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Black Wall Street Times, an accomplished writer and former teacher and assistant principal. Frank’s work has appeared in TIME Magazine, Education Post, Tulsa People, Tulsa World and more. He is also a founding delegate for the National Parents Union. Frank has been featured in The New York Times, LA Times, NBC, NBC Nightly News and various other media outlets. In 2018, he gave a TED Talk at the University of Tulsa.