I sent the following article to the Salt Lake Tribune for publishing. I have not heard back from them so I thought I would share it with all of you. I hope it offers some light to our current race situation.
It is quite obvious that a very dark cloud has descended upon the United States in the form of heightened racism and racial intolerance. Donald Trump and his bid for the White House exemplifies it. Trump’s message is very clear…make America great again! The problem with many of us people of color is that it means a return to pre-civil rights era and the 1930s anti-Semitic mentality of Germany and Italy. Trump’s target seems to be anyone who is not White and male. First, it was the Mexicans, then Muslim immigrants; now Hillary (women)!
This racial attention is all very frightening, especially if you are a person of color which I happen to be. I sometimes think that an accurate understanding of history or the lack thereof, by most Americans, is at the crucks of the matter. I can understand how a low income, poorly educated White person could become envious; then eventually resentful, when Black people are at the center stage of athletics (collegiate and professional), music, visual arts and other forms of entertainment. We see highly successful Black people in television commercials, many of them are depicted as beautiful, rich, glamorous, and highly successful. This envy can become dangerous if one does not have a true understanding to the background of this perception. You see, if a White person did not understand that their White ancestors actually brought Black people to this continent against their will and enslaved them; then they could conceivably get the idea that these folks migrated here and are taking advantage of the situation. This could happen especially if they lacked accurate information about the contributions Black people have made to this country: the many scientific inventions, military heroics (Buffalo soldiers, Tuskegee Airmen, etc.), Olympic representation, the arts and other athletic and esthetic contributions too numerous to list here.
If White people are not taught that people of color, namely the American Indians occupied this land prior to their ancestor’s arrival; they get the idea that only White people have a rightful claim to this land. If they do not understand that a greater part of the western United States was once a part of Mexico; then they can continue to victimize Mexican and Mexican-American people. Another example is the victimization of French people (former late night entertainer, Jay Leno, was good at this) when, in fact, France was instrumental in assisting American patriots in their bid for American independence from England.
When it comes to Trump, he actually represents a return to pre-women’s suffrage or 1920s thinking! Incidentally, we American Indians did not acquire the right to vote until Congress adopted the American Indian Citizenship Act of 1924. So many American Indians fought in WWI that it was a source of embarrassment to the U.S. government that our soldiers were not entitled to veteran’s benefits.
In short, without a thorough understanding or even basic understand of U.S. History, our country becomes vulnerable to civil unrest, anarchy, and if not corrected, ultimately revolution between the haves and the have nots. We really do not have to relive history if we are wise and thoughtful. What a shame it would be for us all to give up the luxuries of life and indulge in fighting in the streets over a bunch of lies and misinformation. After all, that’s what racism is – ignorance and lack of information!
On the positive side, at least we now know there is a race problem in this country. This evil hidden agenda and sentiment; this ugly underbelly is now being exposed so that we can come to terms with it, to deal with it, and overcome it as we Americans have had to endure similar challenges many times before in our short history. Now, we can focus on it and counteract it with the best know how we can muster. My suggestion is higher U.S. History standards in high school and college. Anything we can do to stop us from repeating the bloody side of history will do wonders! Our country is being challenged within. It is time to American-up as we always have and truly make this country great again!