The Crusader Newspaper Group

Candidates continue to evade issues of race in America

By Vernon A. Williams, Gary Crusader

If America is this easily distracted, then Congress needs to pass a law that everyone voting age and older must prescribe to medications for ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or risk jail time.

There’s less than a month to go before an election that will largely determine the fact of this nation for the rest of the lives of baby boomers and perhaps even younger voters. This is a turning point.

The nation is aghast over the latest in a long line of evidence that the Republican standard bearer is a nasty man with no respect for anyone – which just happens to include women. Indignation and shock is rampant.

Repugnant as that offense to humanity may be, there is a larger issue that’s dissipating from the national conversation; it is the nagging, repugnant dilemma created by matters of race in America. Racism trumps any other discussion.

Hillary will talk about it in general terms when pressed. When Donald was asked what he would say when it comes to problems of race in the U.S. his response was loud and clear: “I say NOTHING.” And it was barely a beep on post-debate analysis radar.

Even Black Americans don’t seem overly disturbed about their lives not seeming to matter much in a contentious campaign season that has shed light on virtually every other phase of the nation’s political spectrum.

The PEW Research Center lists the Top 10 issues in election 2016. They are:

  1. Economy
  2. Terrorism
  3. Foreign policy
  4. Health care
  5. Gun policy
  6. Immigration
  7. Social security
  8. Education
  9. Supreme Court appointments
  10. Treatment of racial, ethnic minorities

The half-full glass theorist would rejoice in the fact that race DID make the list. The half empty theorist would lament, just barely. Either way, it’s important to add that footnote that these are the most important issues in the mind of registered voters surveyed – not the candidates.

In reality, Hillary accuses Donald of “normalizing’ what once was the fringe element of white supremacist philosophy in the U.S. Donald says Hillary is the bigot for patronizing African Americans and using terms like “super predators” to characterize criminals who happen to be Black.

So despite their broadly different political positions, what is the common denominator? Neither is advancing an aggressive agenda for change in race relations.

The closest Donald comes to addressing how he would help Blacks is saying that he is the law and order candidate and will restore police powers like “stop and frisk” – ruled unconstitutional in New York because it overwhelming targeted Black and Brown people with miniscule resulting arrests or prosecutions.

Not only is Donald not addressing the issue in a way that connects with Blacks, his posture fuels the flames of bigotry. Hillary may not be doing nearly as much as she could to push racial concerns to the forefront of the America’s political conversation, but her competitor is pushing in the opposite direction.

A Quinnipiac poll found that a majority of likely voters — 59% — think that the way Donald talks appeals to bigotry. Some 29% of Republicans think that way and 72% of non-whites have the same view. Donald’s attempts to broaden his reach beyond his core supporters have largely backfired and likely hardened views against him.

FOX right-wing commentator Bill O’Reilly asked the GOP candidate if Black Lives Matter was “a fuse-lighter in the assassinations of Dallas police officers.” Donald replied, “Certainly, in certain instances they are. They certainly have ignited people and you see that … It’s a very, very serious situation and we just can’t let it happen.”

Republican Vice Presidential running mate Mike Pence touts an even more dismissive view. He said, “I believe there’s been far too much of this talk of institutional bias or racism within law enforcement. That police officers are human beings. In difficult and life threatening situations, mistakes are made and people have to be held to strict account. … we ought to set aside this talk about institutional racism and institutional bias.”

So let me get this straight. We don’t need to eliminate institutional racism and bias in America. We should just stop talking about it.

On racial matters, the GOP ticket is quintessential dumb and dumber.

CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference-makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: [email protected].

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