By Dezimon Alicea, Gary Crusader
While speaking to many people, I get asked the same question. How is racism still relevant in 2017? Many people believe it is no long relevant considering we saw the first African American president in Barack Obama and that there are many successful African Americans. We cannot ignore what we’re experiencing now was at one time a dream to the founders of the civil rights movement and to those who lived through the struggle of slavery.
Yes, Blacks have made inroads and major contributions to the growth and success of this nation. With these highpoints, it can be understood why people tend to think racism is not still relevant. However, we remain on the peripheral – not fully accepted and constantly the subject of discrimination including a growing type of racism.
Let me introduce you to subtle racism; that is, an ambiguous form of racism. It is when the racist actions are often indirect and expressed through innuendos. At times, the indirect racism goes unnoticed. These examples happen throughout media: television, film, print and other forms of entertainment. Quite recently an example of subtle racism came through our president, Donald Trump.
President Trump has gotten into hot water before with comments regarding Blacks and Latinos and those of the Muslim community. Trump really came into scrutiny while selecting his cabinet members and top advisors. Some of those advisors have a history of prejudice, which did not sit well with many people. But maybe his most notable action of prejudice came about a week ago.
Last week, President Trump paid homage to our seventh president, Andrew Jackson; who would’ve been 205 years old. On Trump’s twitter account he said this about the former leader of the free world. “We thank you for your service. We honor your memory. We build on your legacy. And we thank God for the United States of America.” This may seem like a simple nod to an old time hero of our nation, but it goes a little deeper.
While celebrating the late Jackson, Trump visited the Hermitage – Andrew Jackson’s 1,000 acre plantation. Andrew Jackson made his wealth on the backs of slavery. At one point, his family-owned and operated a plantation that had more than 150 slaves. Over the course of 66 years, the Jackson family owned 300 Black men, women and children. Upon settling into his new home at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Trump had a picture of Jackson placed in the Oval Office. The same picture former President Obama had removed.
Although Andrew Jackson was a revolutionary president, as many historians will put it, he will be best known for his treatment towards slaves and Native Americans. Andrew Jackson was responsible for enacting the Indian Removal Act. This action was responsible for the displacement of more than 46,000 Native Americans. It seems almost similar to the proposed wall President Trump wants to build.
The similarities between the two presidents are not just found in their racism and prejudices. But it can be found in their overwhelming support from voters. Just like Trump, Jackson ran on a campaign that was focused on giving the power back to the American people. He believed in a government for the people, and for this he garnered a lot of support and criticism from colleagues – very similar to Trump.
So, when President Trump makes comments stating his affection towards Andrew Jackson, it strikes as a little alarming. Again, to the average person who watches and listens to the speeches they may not sense the underlying message Trump is projecting. But others see his subtle racism and are well aware of the message he is trying to get across. It can be understood why different groups are protesting and are enraged at his nomination as president. It’s because Trump continues to emphasize a racist language that has done more damage to our nation than good. His stance to make America great again, seems to be an attempt to draw on the white supremacist principles that many people would like to forget.
I’m Dezimon Alicea, and here is something to think about!