In the era of Trump, you don’t have to wonder about racial discrimination and profiling. It’s out of the closet and on full display.
Native Americans (you know, the real Americans we somehow called Indians) were denigrated and their lands and culture stolen and just about destroyed by the Palefaces — the good old white guys!
The racists are back out of the closet now. In January, a Navajo legislator from Arizona was verbally attacked by armed Trumpers demanding to know if he was in the United States legally. My God! So many people, so few brains.
The president has signed documents allowing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain pregnant women who are undocumented (they aren’t white) and deport a veteran who had served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, a married father of two. (The courts have since ordered that he be readmitted to the U.S.). He has also signed an order allowing drainage of oil spills into our waters that primarily affects reservations.
I could go on and on … and I will. Much of the damage being done to our country is under the radar. Few seem to notice.
A lot of the changes unduly harm Native Americans. That’s something that has been going on in our country forever. Recently I saw two photographs of Indian prisoners in handcuffs. In one, they stood by the railroad sometime in the 1800s. The other pictured members of the same minority handcuffed at Standing Rock just last year, surrounded by armored vehicles and law enforcement in military camouflage. It was a stark reminder that while there has been change, overall, there’s been not so much in the world of minorities.
Anyone who has a working TV or access to paper or electronic news knows about the many questionable killings of black men by police officers. Even when being caught on video, these men who should never have worn the uniform blast away and “murder” unarmed people of color. These incidents rarely happen to whites.
Last week unarmed Stephon Clark of Sacramento, Calif., was shot eight times, six times in the back, by uniformed officers. He was in his grandmother’s backyard holding a cell phone in his hand. The police had been on the lookout for vandals who broke into cars (yup, that’s when they always use deadly force — not-t-t) and happened to spot him.
What they did next shows why black men rightfully fear for their lives in some parts of this country. The officers’ original claim was that Clark attacked them and they feared for their lives because they thought his cell phone was a gun. Later they said they thought it was a crowbar.
Twenty shots were fired. The autopsy concluded that he was moving away from the police as they fired those shots, not toward them. Interestingly, right after the shooting, you can hear the police on the video … telling each other to turn off their sound and cameras.
The autopsy showed that the injured Clark lay alive on the ground for several minutes, but no one rendered aid. Perhaps it’s true that he would have died even with medical assistance; but they didn’t even make an attempt.
Reminds me of another young black man, Michael Brown of Ferguson, Mo., whose body lay in the street for four hours after being killed before it was removed.
Reporters asked the White House press secretary if the president was going to comment on the Clark killing. Her response: “It was a local matter.” Any other administration’s response might have noted “the unlawful taking of a human life is a civil rights violation, and the Justice Department will investigate.” (Not Jeff Sessions, though.)
White school shooters are called “troubled youth.” People of color are called “terrorists.” This racial discrimination just has to stop.
Maybe it’s the blood of my father running through my veins that makes me feel so strongly. Judge Ronald Davies did not tolerate racial bias. He proved it when he ordered the immediate integration of schools in Arkansas in 1957. That was the way I was brought up. It tells me the Trump administration gives no hope for people of color, including our True Americans, and this must end.
The young people who marched on Washington March 24 — in crowds far larger than Trump’s inauguration — have it right. Change is needed, it is required, and we adults ought to join the younger generation to bring it about.
Remember how Nazi Germany treated its minorities, its elderly, its infirm? Remember when no one said anything to oppose them? Well, by God, this isn’t Nazi Germany, and we the people are going to stand and be heard.
This isn’t new. The world before Trump was not perfect for minorities, either. But now the country needs to change in spite of his administration. So let it be written; so let it be done. Amen.