President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act. This caused Native Americans to be uprooted and resettled. Many died in the process. We know this episode in American history as “The Trail of Tears.” This is not to say that America had not engaged in genocidal practices against Native Americans prior to the Jackson presidency, but it is to say that when a racist attitude meets the apparatus of policy making, racism becomes codified. This means that if one does not act in a racist manner, one could be charged with breaking the law. The current President of the United States admires Andrew Jackson. He even has a portrait of Jackson hanging in the White House.
There are many distinctions to be made in life. Life, in essence is extremely complicated. Yet, it is in knowing that life is complicated that we can appreciate the simplicity that life has to offer at times. For example if I say that A is A and exhibits all the characteristics of A, I can conclude that A is an A. On the other hand, what happens when B occasionally exhibits A behavior? Or further, if B’s actions or beliefs only mimic A once in a lifetime? What are we to make of B? We can B is not an A, but has exhibited A behavior. At the core, we can conclude that B is not A and such A traits in B can be corrected. A majority of the first 12 or so Presidents owned enslaved Africans. Of all people, Thomas Jefferson profited from enslaved Africans. He even fathered children with a young enslaved African woman. John Adams abhorred the institution of African enslavement, yet scapegoat on the backs of Black protestors in defending his British clients from the charge of murder for killing protestors from the colony. Abraham Lincoln fought against African enslavement, but still saw Africans as an inferior other. We tend not to think of Franklin Roosevelt as a racist in the same vein as we think of Woodrow Wilson who forcefully advocated a segregated Washington, D.C. Nevertheless, it was Franklin Roosevelt who signed the Executive Order for Japanese internment. The current President praises Franklin Roosevelt’s internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. The current President of the United States is one step away from attempting such a practice toward Muslims. His Muslim ban is simply a first step down this extremely slippery slope.
Fifty-five White men hammered out the U.S. Constitution over the summer of 1787. Since that time more modern presidential administrations have at least acknowledged the diversity of the United States. President Clinton stated that he wanted to have a Cabinet that looked like America. Ironically, Clinton exhibited Trump like behavior when he signed the crime bill and the welfare reform bill. Kanye West, on national television, stated that George W. Bush does not care about Black people. Bush, writing in his memoirs, said that those words truly angered him. Those on the right accused Barack Obama of playing the race card simply for being Black. That in and of itself was a racist attack.
President Trump and his entire administration have taken a jackhammer, pick ax, and sledge hammer to the legacy of President Barack Obama. If one can recall video footage of ISIS fighters destroying monuments and artifacts within the territories in Iraq they once controlled, this is the same fervor with which Trump is going about his presidency of destroying the Obama legacy. If Obama’s name is on it then the Trump Administration is against it. Many believe that this anti-Obama fervor is nothing short of racism and the racist doctrine that the nation’s first Black President is also the nation’s worst President. As this President moves forward, he needs to be given the Mark Furman Test. Who is willing to wager whether Trump passes or fails? After his latest racial debacle, there are calls for Trump to apologize. I do not need his apology. Trump needs to resign and crawl back into the racist cave from which he slithered.
Anthony Neal earned his Ph.D. in political science from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University). Dr. Neal is an associate professor at State University College, Buffalo. The author of numerous book reviews and journal articles, he has had his work published in the Western Journal of Black Studies, the Journal of Black Studies, and Black Issues in Higher Education. In 2014 Dr. Neal received the university’s Faculty Appreciation Award, was named Instructor of the Year by the university’s United Student Government, and Professor of the Year by the Student Political Society in the Department of Political Science. In 2015, he published The American Political Narrative which is a succinct yet poignant narrative about the development of the American political system and what is needed to maintain it. In 2016, he published a book of poetry entitled “Love Agnostic | from 9/11 to Charleston”