The Crusader Newspaper Group

Trump Fanned Flames of Racism

By Chinta Strausberg, Chicago Crusader

The fears of those who felt the negative energy of Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric are coming to the fore. Targets of the negative comments Trump made during his campaign include immigrants, the disabled, and women. Members of those communities are especially concerned about their future treatment now that Trump is president-elect.

The concerns of the African American community were voiced by Chicago pastor and community activist Father Michael L. Pfleger. He acknowledged that those speaking out represent “the voices of black and brown parents who fear that their children will be further attacked by a militarized police department or a stop and frisk police state” that Trump indicated he would create.

Trump’s racist sentiments calling undocumented Mexican immigrants “murderers and rapists” continue to ignite fears in the Hispanic community and Hispanic pastors are frequently confronted with the terror expressed by their undocumented families. Hardworking and law abiding, the threat of being deported to their home countries after many years of living in the U.S. is their daily nightmare.

Young millennials and Black Lives Matter supporters have expressed concern that rogue police officers would no longer fear the Justice Department stepping in to hold officers accountable, if certain Trump appointees assume office, and question “who would we turn to for justice and accountability if senior officials are rubber stamping Trump’s policies?”

Religious communities too feel the flames of racism, causing some Muslims to wonder if they can continue living in America. “What do we tell our children … that a man who is a bully, who talks down to people, who mocked and degraded people … that man was rewarded and is now the president of the free world?”

Commenting on Trump’s stunning presidential win, Pfleger remarked that the results of the election should not be a surprise. “Donald Trump tapped into an anger and a frustration of Americans who are fed up with the government system that is both dysfunctional and broken.”

Pfleger said that disillusionment with government caused millions of people to vote for an anti-government candidate like Trump because people are sick of government.

Millions more Americans were frustrated with the system and didn’t vote at all. Trump tapped into the angry white males who said over and over again, from one room shanties to executive suites, that they were afraid of losing their country.

Many citizens feel that Trump also tapped into a segment of America, that still exists, that was not ready to let a woman become president of the U.S. Donald Trump creatively used Americans’ frustration, anger, and fear, turning it into the blame philosophy and in the process made himself the champion of white men.

Recognizing America’s rapidly changing demographics, and culturally changing identity, Trump chose to run off of white identity and white nationality. Fanning the flames of racism, white nationalist America’s NRA wrapped its arms around Trump. And when the KKK endorsed him, he refused to denounce their endorsement.

Some observers have expressed the notion that Donald Trump’s seeds of racism were sown eight years ago with the movement that attacked the birthplace of the firstBlack president. They caution that Americans not be fooled that the protest was about where Obama was born. The movement was a code for white racists that he, a Black man, is not one of us.

American voters feel traumatized following the presidential election. With Trump’s election their hope, equality and justice are being held hostage.

SPEAKING FROM FIRST-HAND experience Father Michael Pfleger recounts his experiences during a march in the Mount Greenwood community that demonstrated their racism.
SPEAKING FROM FIRST-HAND experience Father Michael Pfleger recounts his experiences during a march in the Mount Greenwood community that demonstrated their racism.

Activist Pfleger remarked that “it also seems like mean spiritedness has been loosened, hate and bullying have been loosened. It is not Donald Trump that I fear, it’s the millions of Americans who have pulled back the sheets of racism and given boldness” to their words and deeds because of his election.

“There is a part of me that thanks God for Donald Trump for running for president because he exposed the America you want to pretend doesn’t exist.”

Trump was elected by a country that is fed up with government and frightened by the tension of race relations in America. Yet surrendering to hopelessness, despair and fear is not an option. How do we fight back?

A government viewed as dysfunctional and broken was the fodder of Trump’s racism. His negative comments about immigrants, his sexist remarks about women, and his demeaning mockery of the disabled were the lighter fluid. The uneasy race relations in the country will be the match to ignite the flames.

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