deep and malevolent vein of racism that runs beneath American culture lies
exposed. Angered by having a competent
black president, racists have emerged from the shadows on the heels of the
presidential campaign. They are not being coy: “Make America
Great Again” is the most racist slogan in American political history.
easily eclipses the anti-Catholic sentiments that tarnished presidential
campaigns in 1884, 1928 and 1960, while sprinting well past the slimy lies endured by Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman in their day, as well as
by Edwin Muskie, John Kerry and Al Gore in ours.
U.S. is lacking in nothing, from resources to the strongest economy and the
best military. The only thing that
Donald Trump and his followers want to make “greater” is to return a white man
to the White House.
a hateful attitude grew out of a singular event that took place nearly 400
years ago. In 1619, Virginia tobacco
farmers imported slaves to work the fields.
There were free black men in this country, but Virginia moved quickly to
curtain the rights of slaves, rapidly ensnaring anyone with darker skin in the
southern states followed suit, prevent blacks from voting, owning property and, of course, getting an education.
in the 1860s as a result of the Civil War did nothing to change attitudes. By then, the idea that a person with darker
skin was somehow inferior was deeply ingrained into the American psyche, a concept backed by an 1890s Supreme Court decision creating "separate but equal" guidelines. That concept is no different than the twisted
claims of Nazis that German genes were somehow better than anyone else’s. This
plague of eugenics led to the inevitable Holocaust, and was only destroyed by more-recent
scientific research into genetics.
have proven that all females of any color are descendants of one woman who
lived perhaps 150,000 years ago. All
males have the same father. This isn’t
Adam and Eve; our progenitors lived thousands of years apart.
such, color is merely an adaptation.
Darker skin protects against the fierce African sun. In the same way, white skin is more
beneficial in northern climates. Evolutionary studies have helped to explain the process.
reality, humans come in multiple colors, the direct result of the mixing of
genes across the millennia. Color has
nothing to do with intelligence, athletic ability, creativity, morals, ethics
or any aspect that makes us individuals.
and their British counterparts remain almost unique in their fixation on skin
color. I saw that first hand in an Embry-Riddle
University classroom, where students in an English class read an old O. Henry story. The irony in the 1890s tale was that the
protagonist had a black wife and was seeking a white cook. Readers were naturally supposed to believe
of my international students understood the irony. Their societies, with natives of all colors,
had no concept of racism. That’s equally
true in India and China, countries with the bulk of the world’s population.
not suggesting that all of Trump’s supporters are racists. Some clearly like the egotistical,
narcissistic businessman with multiple failed marriages and bankruptcies who
faces thousands of lawsuits because of his business practices. They want a “strong” leader, just the way
Italians initially supported Mussolini, the late fascist whom Trump seems to most
racism remains the key component of his appeal. After all, Trump is endorsed by the KKK and the American Nazi Party, exemplar homegrown proponents of racism.
That hate-filled attitude is also an element in the widespread police shootings, too, although the NRA shares
some of the blame for its mad effort to arm an entire country. Under the circumstances, police have no way
of knowing if someone they are stopping is carrying a weapon. They would rather shoot first, which is
understandable. At the same time, however,
color is clearly a factor whether or not bullets fly.
can we expect an immediate change. With
almost four centuries of racist propaganda and a political candidate using coded
messages to continue the drumbeat, racism will continue to pulse overtly through
|Dr. King |
Martin Luther King’s dream that someday his children will be judged by their
character and not the color of the skin remains merely a hope in a Trump world
driven by overt racism.
religious historian Bill Lazarus regularly writes about religion and religious
history with an occasional foray into American culture. He also speaks at various religious
organizations throughout Florida. You
can reach him at www.williamplazarus.net. He is the author of the famed Unauthorized
Biography of Nostradamus; The Last Testament of Simon Peter; The Gospel Truth: Where Did the Gospel
Writers Get Their Information; Noel:
The Lore and Tradition of Christmas Carols; and Dummies Guide to Comparative
Religion. His most recent book is Passover in Prison, which
details abuse of Jewish inmates in American prisons, and The Sands of Time, a look at 100 years of Daytona Beach racing
history. His books are available on
Amazon.com, Kindle, bookstores and via various publishers. He can also be followed on Twitter.
can enroll in his on-line class, Comparative Religion for Dummies, at