The Oklahoma Eagle Editorial
Only during these days can you become a villain for speaking your mind, speaking the truth, standing for justice, and looking intolerance in the eye.
Every era has dealt with bigotry in its own way or on some level. There has been the naked racism of the Jim Crow era, the brutal south, and the opposition to civil rights movement to racial profiling. But, for the most part, bigotry by most thoughtful Americans was considered wrong and immoral.
During the Age of Trump, one has to wonder, are those days not only over, but is prejudice now celebrated? ESPN host Jemele Hill finds herself in a firestorm of racial drama. Calling out racial insensitivity, it seems, is a fireable offense. Well not yet anyway.
So outrageous is it to say, “white supremacist” and attach it to President Donald John Trump, that it can be the subject of daily calls for her firing from the podium of the White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Of course, her firing is also called for by many conservatives and not so surprisingly from white supremacists and their publications. While her remarks are highly unusual for a sports host to utter on their twitter account that someone is racially prejudiced let alone the president of the United States. Isn’t he, as president, supposed to represent all Americans? Isn’t he the arbiter of justice? He or she is in command of an army of lawyers charged with the responsibility of enforcing the laws regarding civil rights, equality and fair distribution of justice.
What if he demonstrates he doesn’t want to and in fact he ran on racially divisive comments that would have sank any other candidate? Has Hill and others shown us the day? Others like Colin Kaepernick who refused to stand for the National Anthem because of police murdering hundreds of black men. In the aftermath of that peaceful act, he has been effectively blackballed by a league that makes billions of dollars off the talents of African American athletes. Kaepernick never said he did not love America and said he planned to stand this year when he was signed to play. Cruelly, he has not been signed or invited to even talk to a team. No team or their rich owners would dare play him in fear of alienating bigots or nationalist. The irony is as real as a rock that apparently only people of color can see.
But why are things so aggressive and intolerant? How can a person run on white nationalism and division? Started from the beginning with attacks on Hispanics and Muslims. Attacking people of color and other religions without consequence; Trump himself “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, okay, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay?”
What if Obama or Bush uttered the same ugly statement? Neither of them would have politically survived. Trump then launched a cruel attack on Senator John McCain over his service which included his years in prison after being captured by Viet Cong. Trump himself of course did not serve. The point being Trump is the product of the times where the base feelings of dislike for people of color, the poor and perceived weakness is now in vogue over fear of the “other.”
Trump has spent years speaking his mind about Africans and Native Americans that would also make any other candidate unfit for office in normal days. He was sued for refusing to rent to African Americans, he fought Indian casinos saying the tribal members looked more like Michael Jordan than Indians, demanded the death penalty for five black and Hispanic kids charged in the notorious Central Park jogger rape case and refuses to back down even though the defendants were exonerated and set free. He has ordered Attorney General Jeff Sessions to prosecute to the full extent of the law those crimes that typically involved the poor and people of color. He said he didn’t want a black accountant working for him, he wanted Jewish men going over his books. He said black people were lazy and they can’t control their laziness. United States judges were incapable of rendering a fair decision in his case because he had a Latino bloodline. The list goes on.
So, when Hill tweeted that Trump was a white supremacist, and surrounded himself with other white supremacists in the White House, she was not revealing the town racist, she was acknowledging their stated views and actions.
While Sanders and Trump say she should be fired (ESPN accepted her apology) they have not once said she was lying.