Tag Archives: Donald Trump

Too Respectable to Fight?: Why I Am Not Surprised that Derrick Johnson, Chokwe Lumumba, Myrlie Evers Did Not Take The Fight to Donald Trump at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

There is no other way for me to say this; I have tired of dignified black leaders. To be honest with you my list of dignified leaders that I have tired of reads like a who’s who of the modern Civil Rights Movement. This list of far too dignified black leaders includes the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson, John Lewis, Barack Obama, and after allowing Donald Trump to bring his vaudeville show to their environs with minimal interference, I must include every purported black leader within the state of Mississippi.

Although many consider the respectability politics that serve as a thin-veil over what any courageous people would recognize as cowardice, there is no doubt that today’s black leaders routinely seek an escape route from political fights and cultural wars. When examined in its totality, black leaders avoid direct public conflict with whites “by any means necessary.” However, even a cursory examination of recent history proves that it is only black leaders who are devoted cowards.

I am confident that you remember the blatant disrespect that President Barack Obama routinely experienced at the hand of whites behaving as if they were raised by wolves. Let us not forget that such treatment aimed at black men possessing some semblance of power as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., suffered similar treatment on a routine basis, not even MLK’s application of a forgiving and long-suffering Christian ethos protected him from white bigots.

Although I am certain that this determination to not address whites in the midst of their most inappropriate moments may have begun as an attempt for black leaders to “not show their color.” However, after watching this sordid saga occur to black leaders throughout this nation’s existence, such avoidance of conflict has transitioned from an act to remain above the public moments of disrespect into the realm of cowardice; one can rest assured that angry whites recognize this fact. One has to wonder if none of these black leaders are capable of channeling the spirit of Frederick Douglass who courageously advised our kind that “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will.”

The latest moment of white folk disrespecting not only contemporary Black America but also our ancestors who miraculously were able to “make a way out of no way” is the appearance of Donald Trump in Jackson, Mississippi, to deliver a speech at the new Civil Rights Museum. Now I fully understand that it was Mississippi’s Republican Governor Phil Bryant who extended the invitation and there was little that the black community could do about Trump’s appearance. However, one has to wonder why none of the leading Civil Rights leaders in that city, let us not forget that Jackson, Mississippi, the location of the Museum, has an African-American mayor, did not use their political clout to deliver a message inside of that venue in Trump’s presence?

Make no mistake about it, moments such as this one are wasted opportunities to strike a blow for black liberation that would make both our ancestors and future generations of Black America proud. It is time that black leaders abandon their respectability politics and begin channeling the spirit of Malcolm X who admonished Black America over a half-century ago that they “make it hard on themselves when they go around that white man with those sweet words. No! Tell that man exactly how you feel.”

Instead of taking the fight to a figure like Trump who has spent his entire life opposing Civil Rights and one could argue the right for black people to exist on planet Earth with even a modicum of dignity, black leaders adorn themselves with a cloak of cowardice also known as ‘respectability politics’ and rationalize that this is not a good time to address racial matters in the presence of whites. I am here to tell you that there is no better time to address those whites who routinely execute devious plans and public statements that rally a bigoted base to double-down on their attacks on Black America than the present. It angers me that white bigots and the conservative Sambos that dance to their tune never measure if the time is right to demean, disrespect, and exterminate our kind.

It is this failure to take the fight to these avowed enemies, meaning white conservatives and their black Sambo lackeys, at every turn that causes me to express my righteous indignation at the black demonstrators who stood outside of the venue protesting, a location that guaranteed that they could be easily ignored, and Derrick Johnson, the head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Chokwe Lumumba, the Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, and Myrie Evers, the wife of Civil Rights stalwart Medgar Evers.

I have no problem with saying that each of these figures displayed copious amounts of cowardice that they couched in typical respectability politics. Johnson and Lumumba were not even on location, choosing to have a “news conference” a safe distance away from where the action was occurring. While Myrlie Evers was inside of the room listening to Trump fumble and stumble through a prepared 10-minute speech that amounted to absolutely nothing.

It appears that black folk in general, and our so-called leaders in particular, are afraid of “white folk power.” One thing is certain, if the tables were turned, there is not a single racial/ethnic group in America — white, Jewish, Japanese, Mexican, or Chinese — who would have behaved like good little children while an African-American President who demeaned their kind at every turn appeared to address them about matters that his entire being and financial resources have been used to oppose.

It is befuddling that the most significant resistance that Black Mississippi could muster was a statement from Myrlie Evers who broke an earlier promise to directly address Trump in her comments by offering the following. Regardless of race, creed or color, we are all Americans. … If Mississippi can rise to the occasion, then the rest of the country should be able to do the same thing.

Anyone interested in the liberation of black folk has to be left scratching their heads at the antics of so-called black leaders. Where is their anger? Where is the impulse to attack this enemy at every turn? Judging by the actions of our leaders we have not had our fill of white oppression yet. Now what it will take to get us to that point; only the Lord knows. At least we didn’t “show our color” on national television.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017

What Can We Expect from Donald Trump’s Keynote Address at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum?

When considering American racial politics, it is reasonable to consider Mississippi “the crown jewel” of white bigots heart. Whenever I lecture about Civil Rights Movement atrocities, I rhetorically ask students the following question, “What are the two most racist states in this nation?” Invariably, one of the two states cited is Mississippi; Alabama is a distant second in this unscientific poll. So I am unsurprised that at racial discord has arisen the same moment Mississippi is unveiling a state-sponsored Civil Rights Museum. I am even less surprised that Donald J. Trump sits at the center of this discord.

Considering Trump’s record of working against the interests of African-Americans it is strange that he would accept Mississippi’s Republican Governor Phil Bryant’s invitation to speak the Civil Rights Museum opening. I am confident that anyone with even a basic understanding of American racial politics would agree that this arrangement is a lighting-rod for criticism from Civil Rights Leaders. As expected, Civil Rights stalwart John Lewis (D-Ga) issued a joint statement with Bennie Thomas (D-Miss.) expressing their disappointment in Trump’s participation.

“President Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum. The struggles represented in this museum exemplify the truth of what really happened in Mississippi. President Trump’s disparaging comments about women, the disabled, immigrants, and National Football League players disrespect the efforts of Fannie Lou Hamer, Aaron Henry, Medgar Evers, Robert Clark, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and countless others who have given their all for Mississippi to be a better place.”

When one considers Trump’s tired routine of political opportunism and intentionally fanning the flames of racial discord for a bigoted base with little understanding of either racial matters or the continuing reverberations flowing from this nation’s historic racial injustice, one would have to be extremely naïve, if not absolutely foolish, to believe that Trump’s participation is anything beyond a political ploy aimed at achieving some dastardly goal of further retarding the descendants of those being honored by the new museum. Although difficult for Trump supporters to accept, this polarizing figure’s insincerity for all things, including his base of poor and working-class whites, is in a word, colossal. The man has repeatedly displayed that he has no sympathies for anything beyond himself.

It is for this reason that I fully expect Trump to once again do the impossible and live down to the expectations of a national populace that has no expectations regarding his capabilities to lead this nation. At these critical moments, Trump has displayed a pattern of shocking on-lookers by being more polarizing and offensive than even his severest critics could have ever imagined.

Although I recognize that it is in many ways a foolish endeavor to pray that even an omnipotent God is endowed with the power to either bestow wisdom on or bridle Trump’s foolish tongue as he delivers a speech at the least likely of places, a Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, Mississippi.

So the world will be looking with bewilderment as Donald J. Trump approaches a microphone to deliver a speech regarding this nation’s historic wrongs regarding African-Americans and the path forward. Predictably, it would be Myrlie Evers, the widow of famed NAACP activist Medgar Evers who was murdered by Byron de la Beckwith in his driveway on June 12, 1963, in Jackson, Mississippi, who provides a glimmer of hope regarding this matter. Myrlie Evers related that she hoped Trump would “learn something” during his visit to Jackson.

I guess at moments such as this one, all that we can do is hope and pray that a miracle such as Trump learning something of value about this nation’s deplorable record on racial matters occurs. Let us pray.

 Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017

Please support Independent Black Scholarship by purchasing a book. I am confident that you agree that such support is the only way that we are going to free our minds. Books published by Dr. James Thomas Jones are as follows:

Creating Revolution as They Advance: A Historical Narrative of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense

‘Foolish’ Floyd: The Life & Times of an African-American Contrarian

O’Bruni: An African-American Odyssey Home?

 

Donald Trump: The King of Dog-Whistle Politics

I am confident that you remember the repeated charge of being a divisive agent in the battle for racial tranquility that a wide swath of white conservatives and misguided Negroes hurled at President Barack Hussein Obama. If one listened to the hateful rhetoric emanating from these sources, two things are obvious: (a) a decade after Andrew Hacker made the assertion that America was Two Nations: Black and white, Separate, Hostile, Unequal it remains true as America remains divided nation along DuBois’ ‘color line’ and (b) there was a segment of America determined to disagree with everything Obama put forth. Please keep in mind that this is not an implicit attack on White America as the ranks of the latter included many members of Black America’s revolutionary class. Sensible Americans realized that such baseless assertions were aimed at retarding any effort at advancing Obama’s agenda.

In hindsight, it is evident that the most laudable hallmarks of the Obama administration were its inclusiveness and commitment to diversity. The Obama administration seemed to be motivated by former Texas Governor Ann Richards assertion that if we want new ideas, we must change who is sitting around the table. During Obama’s two-terms, everyone, including those who vehemently disagreed with him, was welcomed to the table by a gracious and accommodating host. Those days are gone.

If it can be reasonably argued that President Obama set the tone-and-tenor for what should have been a productive dialogue, it makes sense to cite Donald Trump and his administration for setting the tone-and-tenor for the rising climate of hatred emanating from the “Alt-Right” as they seek to “make America great again.”

We all realize that “dog-whistle politics” are nothing new for American Presidents. However, it’s hard to cite a single American President whose sub-discourse or “dog-whistle” has been discernible by so many people as Donald J. Trump. Trump’s decision to populate his cabinet with individuals who spew vitriolic hatred at those who oppose their white supremacist plans makes what I am certain he thought would be a subtle message to the raucous elements of his base visible to all. The figures mentioned above include “Alt-Right” and white supremacist values such as:

  • Steve Bannon
  • Milo Yiannopoulos
  • Alex Jones
  • Sebastian Gorka
  • Julie Kirchner

Although I do not blame Trump for the existence of White Nationalism, Neo-Nazism, and other repugnant verbal and physical expressions of racial bigotry. Truthfully, the seeds for such questionable viewpoints were sown centuries before Trump appeared on the scene during the attempt to settle Roanoke. Trump is at worst guilty of watering and tending to those poisonous weeds via rhetoric that was hurled into public spaces decades before his Presidential campaign.

No one can successfully argue against the fact that the Office of the President of the United States of America sets the stage for the terms and conditions of political engagement. There is even less room to assert that Trump’s political ascension encouraged white supremacists to emerge from the murky shadows they have always occupied and step under a bright center-stage spotlight. Trump has done very little to dissuade figures such as Bannon and Gorka of their foolhardy belief that their political priorities are a welcome addition to a vibrant American political scene with malleable boundaries that adversaries agreed on decades ago.

Trump’s failure to recognize that white supremacy is outside of the alluded to boundaries is a troubling sign. His inability to articulate such without the aid of a teleprompter is not only more troubling but also proves that a man devoid of an either a moral compass or common sense has no business heading this nation.

It is past time that American leaders on both sides of the aisle lay aside their bickering and take a serious look at Trump as the inherent risks associated with such ineptitude are unconscionable. When one considers the difficulty Trump had denouncing white supremacy and domestic terrorism, it should be frightening to think what could come from his dealing with foreign policy matters such as Russia, North Korea, China, and a host of other crucial issues that will permanently alter this nation going forward.

Boy do I miss Obama; hell, with the way things are going right now I miss George W. Bush’s leadership. And as you well know, that is a thought that I never in a million years thought that I would have. However, these are desperate times.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2017

 

 

 

Will Black America Fail to Respond to Donald Trump’s Planned Attack on Affirmative Action Before it is Too Late?

Color me extremely amused at the recent implosion of the Trump administration. In light of the public battles that seemingly emanate from this administration, it seems appropriate to call its members “the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.”

Even in the midst of discord displaying that there are few things high-ranking members of the Trump administration agree on, there is consensual agreement that they will do their best to obstruct every path out of poverty for Black America. It is this common ground of resisting the advancement of African-Americans via an attack on Affirmative Action on collegiate campuses that has provided new combatants Donald J. Trump and Jeff Sessions ample room to lower the volume on their public feud.

In many ways, this most recent attempt by the Trump administration to reduce the number of African-American students on collegiate campuses excavated a familiar predicament of being, “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” for most African-Americans.

In reality, this attempt to challenge Affirmative Action during college admissions via a flimsy argument that the policy violates whites equal protection under the law rights provides the clearest view of both why so many Americans voted for this polarizing figure and the Trump administrations foremost goals and objectives. A segment of America has selected Trump to “make America great again” by hitting a reset button that allows for whites to become the preferred population when it comes to employment opportunities and seats at American universities. There is no other logical or illogical explanation that would explain the current political climate and the imminent attack on Affirmative Action policies.

In many ways, this attempt to deny African-American students access to higher education validates a long-held suspicion that whites seek a monopoly over every American resource. Consider for a moment the frequent refrain from whites that it is the cavernous educational achievement gap that is the catalyst behind racial disparities. This relatively straightforward argument blames Black America for its impoverished position. According to whites, if only blacks would alter their priorities and place their emphasis on education over rap music, literature or gold teeth, and marriage over producing children out of wedlock they would be saved. I am quite certain that many a white political pundit has mused if blacks would focus their attention on education, the poverty that has ridden them as a biblical curse would expire.

Consider for a moment the following quotes from white powerbrokers regarding the ultimate utility of education.

  • Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive: easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.

Peter Brougham

  • It is in fact a part of the function of education to help us escape, not from our own time — for we are bound by that — but from the intellectual and emotional limitations of our time.

T.S. Eliot

  • What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the human soul.

Joseph Addison

  • Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.

Robert Frost

  • Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.

Abigail Adams

  • What we have learned from others becomes our own reflection.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The above quotes lead one to believe that Trump’s attack on Black America’s access to higher learning is borne of a dogged-determination to extend the ‘have not’ status of Black America well into the new millennium. In fact, it is not unreasonable to believe that when judged by history that the Trump administrations most crowning achievement may be the lengths that it went to protect the interests of whites.

I wonder, how will Black America respond to this blatant attack?

The disappointment surrounding the Trump administrations plan to begin “…litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions” should be merely the sound before the organized political activism of astute and angered black populace.

Only time will tell if Black America has reached a level of political maturity that allows it to rally in a fight against a substantive political issue such as the Trump administration’s pending attack on Affirmative Action that far outweighs relatively trivial matters such as Umar Johnson’s proposed school.

If history is any indicator, we should expect Black America to once again drop the ball by failing to arrive on the political battlefield with the seriousness this matter requires. Failure to organize our politico economic currency with the intention of confronting those entities that seek to obstruct traditional avenues of advancement will doom future generations of Black America. Most disappointing of all is the reality that we could prevent such events if we cared enough.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2017

WHAT A SHAME: DONALD TRUMP BECOMES THE LATEST AMERICAN POLITICIAN TO CALL FOR ASSATA OLUGBALA SHAKUR’S HEAD

I have lived enough life to realize that people in possession of some semblance of politico-economic power often convey their true intentions within a palatable message individually crafted to rally an unthinking horde. Trust me when I say that this is standard fare for the politically powerful in this nation. In many ways, the above tactic allows them to generate support via the use of strong keywords that never fail to raise an always-existing blood lust among the unrighteous to a boil.

The moment that I heard that Donald Trump was planning to reverse Obama’s efforts to re-establish relations with Cuba, I knew that the name Assata Shakur, a sixty-nine-year-old grandmother, would be hurled by this nation’s leader. In many ways, Assata Shakur’s Cuban exile reminds one of a ‘Cold War’ period that has recently been ratcheted up by the repeated allegations of Russian interference in the most recent Presidential election.

Unbeknownst to the vast majority of African-Americans and the chagrin of American law enforcement agencies, Cuban President Fidel Castro granted former Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and Black Liberation Army leader Assata Shakur political asylum over thirty-years ago. To Castro’s credit, he has offered similar protection to many African-American political activists such as Robert F. Williams, Huey P. Newton, William Lee Brent and Eldridge Cleaver. Despite the derisive statements habitually propagated to the American public about the Cuban “dictator”, during his life, Castro offered refuge to African-Americans who were unjustly persecuted by the American judicial system. From American politicians and law enforcement officials perspective, the Cuban leader’s granting of a haven for African-American activists served as an inexcusable blemish on not only his but also his nation’s record.

Make no mistake about it; the pursuit of Assata Shakur undoubtedly displays the indomitable will of American law enforcement officials and agencies at Federal, State, and local levels to correct what they perceive to be an inexcusable wrong. Indicative of this thirst for vengeance, the United States Government placed Assata Shakur on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. Many have wondered why America has pursued Assata Shakur with such desperation.

The answer to the above question revolves around a shootout between members of the Black Liberation Army and the New Jersey State Highway Patrol on May 2, 1973. Although there are conflicting stories regarding what occurred during the altercation, there are several things that are factual and therefore unchanging. Facts state that a New Jersey State Trooper stopped a vehicle carrying three members of the Black Liberation Army; Assata Shakur was a passenger in this vehicle and wanted by law enforcement agencies for her determination to secure the liberation and salvation of her people, a dedication that led to her assuming a prominent role in the Black Power movement. Law enforcement agencies alleged that Assata was “the mother hen who kept them all shooting.” Evidence gathered from not only the scene but also the hospital that Shakur was taken to after being shot by a New Jersey State Trooper, definitively prove several things: (a) she had not fired a weapon that night, (b) she had been shot while sitting in the vehicle that she was traveling in, (c) she was shot with her hands up, and (d) she was partially paralyzed along one side of her body as a result of nerve damage caused by the trooper’s bullets. However, little of that mattered as the State of New Jersey decided that Assata Shakur must pay for the murder of a New Jersey state trooper.

Further aggravating American law enforcement agencies is not only the swell of support Assata Shakur received while she stood trial for the incident mentioned above but also her subsequent escape from a maximum security facility after a murder conviction. Making matters worse for law enforcement officials was the reality that they were never able to re-capture Assata during the five years between her harrowing prison escape and her unceremonious arrival in Cuba.

Assata’s escape is akin to consistent irritant to Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies that have been rubbed raw. The greatest indicator that American law enforcement agencies, as well as this nation’s elected officials, are still riled by Assata Shakur has been their repeated attempts to recapture her. For example,

  • In 1998, the United States House of Representatives passed Concurrent Resolution 254 that requested that the Cuban Castro-led Government expeditiously return Assata Shakur to America. The measure passed with a 371 (yea) – 0 (Nay) vote.
  • In the same year, the United States Senate passed the same piece of legislation, Concurrent Resolution 254, by a unanimous vote.
  • In 2005, the United States Department of Justice entered the fray in a major way when they increased an already hefty award for Assata Shakurs capture to $1,000,000.00
  • In 2013, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, that was headed by the tyrannical J. Edgar Hoover and his Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) when the pursuit of Shakur began, not only placed Assata on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List, but also raised the bounty on her head to $2,000,000.00. The FBI now characterizes Shakur as a ‘domestic terrorist.’

Since she escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility for Women in Union Township, New Jersey, Assata Shakur has morphed into a never-ending irritant to powerful whites and evidence that white power is not immutable. There is no doubt that it is Assata’s defiance that has heightened white political leaders’ maniacal pursuit of her for the past thirty-plus years. Put simply; in the minds of white politicians and law enforcement authorities, Assata is a rebellious slave whose escape inspires others currently ensnared by the chains of mental slavery and economic exploitation.

It is through this prism that I view both Donald Trump’s call for Assata’s return and the commentary of current U.S. Senator (New Jersey-D) and Cuban-American Bob Menendez. According to Menendez, Trump’s “announcement is a step in the right direction to reverse an ill-advised and misguided Cuba policy that has failed to deliver on its promises, left the Cuban people worse off, and allowed American fugitives, like wanted terrorist and cop-killer Joanne Chesimard (Assata Shakru), to escape justice.”

I most certainly would love to state that figures like Trump, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Menendez or those that occupied similar political positions before them are not serious about their decades long pursuit of Assata, however, I have witnessed the actions of unwise men for far too long to believe that their dedication to such a task does not match that of a “radical Islamist” that they are quick to denounce. Assata Shakur’s existence holds the potential to inspire droves of politically conscious black people who agree with her fight against the Capitalist principles and white world supremacy that this nation has come to represent more forcefully than any that ever existed before its creation. Predictably, the alluded to inspiration that Assata provides to black freedom fighters is just as strongly felt by opponents such as Trump, Christie, and Menendez. From such individuals perspective, Assata and her kind (Mutulu Shakur, Fred Hampton, Bunchy Carter, Geronimo Pratt, Karl Hampton, Huey P. Newton, Tupac Amaru Shakur, William Lee Brent, Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Rush, George and Jonathan Jackson, and the list goes on and one) are analogous to the free blacks that white slave-holders wished to repatriate to Liberia and Sierra Leone as their non-bonded status gave their enslaved brothers and sisters radical ideas and desires for freedom. Hence it should be expected that a figure such as Donald Trump would publicly call for the head of our beloved sister Assata Olugbala Shakur.

At this moment, it is imperative that Black America’s response to these demonic actions not only be a vociferous “No! No! No!” but also be prepared to extend our anger further than mere rhetoric or casting a vote within the very system that oppresses us. We must be willing to follow Assata’s revolutionary example by every means imaginable.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2017

Please support Independent Black Scholarship; it’s the only way that we are going to free our minds.

Author, Creating Revolution as They Advance: A Historical Narrative of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense

Author, ‘Foolish’ Floyd: The Life & Times of an African-American Contrarian

Author, O’Bruni: An African-American Odyssey Home?