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?