A dream deferred by racism

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives at a Capitol Hill rally to "Stop the Iran Nuclear Deal" in Washington September 9, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTSD3R

THIS week we again remembered one of the key leaders of the civil rights movement, Dr Martin Luther King.
Born on January 15 1929, the day has become a day to commemorate the sacrifices Dr King made in the fight for equality in the US.
This year, the commemorations came at a time when the US found itself under scrutiny and at the receiving end of outrage from the rest of the ‘sane’ world.
First, President Donald Trump referred to Haiti and African countries as ‘sh**holes’, while global department store, H&M, was also in the eye of the storm over its advert which saw a young black boy donning a hooded jacket with the printing: ‘Coolest monkey in the jungle’.
That President Trump is a racist is not news anymore.
That he holds women in low regard is also nothing to write home about.
The US elected a crass, uncouth and racist bigot who is not ashamed of his behaviour as its leader.
However, what I find amazing is the reaction by mainstream America to President Trump’s latest divisive statements.
The Times called it a ‘new low’, while various celebrities have spoken against the leader of the ‘free world’.
During the campaign trail when evidence of Trump’s racist, misogynist and xenophobic views and behaviour were exposed, many in white US were quick to say that his words were taken out of context and were private conversations and, ‘locker room banter’.
Republicans were quick to point out that most of these off colour remarks by their presidential candidate were no different from what most Americans said in the comfort of their homes and among their friends.
Former First Lady, Michelle Obama warned the American public that President Trump was showing his true colours and would not miraculously change overnight when he got to the White House and become a leader they would be proud of.
It did not take long for the US to realise that it had made a mistake at the ballot.
As a leader, President Trump is expected to pronounce national sentiment, to have his finger on the national mood, and what he says is taken as reflective of US sentiment. Presently, his rhetoric that is largely racist, sexist, anti-free media is taken as reflective of US’s attitude towards the rest of the world.
Interestingly, some of the very same people who relished in Trump’s offensive language and endorsement of criminality during the campaign trail are now attempting to disassociate themselves from the man.
A man who is unashamed of objectifying women, passing on lies as fact, stirring hate and discrimination is a liability.
Dr King’s children have taken the torch and continue to walk in their father’s footsteps.
This week, Dr King’s youngest child, Reverend Bernice said: “Our collective voice in this hour must always be louder than the voice of one who may speak sometimes representing the US, whose words do not reflect the legacy of my father.
We cannot allow the nations of the world to embrace the words that come from our President as a reflection of the true spirit of America.”
That the US was built on the blood and sweat of people of colour is not news.
That the US continues to thrive on the oppression of the less privileged who mostly happen to be people of colour is a fact. As I have previously stated, racism in the US is systemic and is given fancy terms to shield racists from scrutiny.
The fashion and cosmetics industry continue to highlight that in terms of race relations, they much, like the police, shoot first and apologise later or pretend that nothing ever happened.
People of colour are seen as numbers on the right or left sides of the accounting book.
When the industry can make money out of people of colour, it milks them for all they have, while on the other hand, many of the clothes and raw materials are handled by people of colour who more often than not earn the lowest of wages and work in harsh conditions.
People of colour are getting the short end of the stick, whichever way you look at it.
Walk into any department store; there are more people of colour serving clients on the floors in comparison to those in the offices.
When a decision has to be made, the floor workers, who are mainly minorities, are not included.
As such, it comes as no surprise that adverts that are racially insensitive continue to make it into the public domain.
These adverts are a manifestation of the same ‘locker room banter’ that President Trump and his buddies engage in.
In fact, now more than ever, the nation and the world can expect overt racism in the US because it has become acceptable for closet racists to air out their views — the excuse being that this is reflective of the national sentiment.
The murder of our fathers, brothers, sons and daughters on the US’ streets at the hands of law enforcement officers is just the tip of the iceberg.
I pity the women who have been passionately defending President Trump, making him out as some men’s man.
While current global attention is on racism, these women forget that the very man they are defending is also destroying the years of work it has taken for women to make inroads in the economy, politics and society.
These women might one day find themselves at the receiving end of the seeds of sexism sown by the poster child of all that is wrong with the US.


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