In the second presidential debate, the Republican presidential candidate was asked how to curb Islamophobia in society. In response, Trump answered, “We have to be sure that Muslims come in and report when they see something going on. When they see hatred going on, they have to report it.”
As a Black Muslim, I would first like to report the blatant white supremacy at the heart of Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign. Trump’s very campaign slogan of “Make America Great Again” and Trump presenting himself as the “law and Order’ candidate is rooted in hatred and a devaluing of black lives.
When black people look at their history in America, we see slavery, followed by black codes, Jim Crow, and subsequent defacto racial discrimination. At what point and in what era was America a great place for black people relative to white people? Can Trump point to a past era in America that was once “great” that was not characterized by rampant anti-black violence?
From 1619 to 1865, black people were enduring plantation slavery. After which, black people were forced to endure dehumanizing conditions as sharecroppers and subjected to a variety of black code laws designed to inhibit their social mobility. At any given moment, black people could be lynched for merely seeking to live their lives.
From 1877 up until the 1960’s, blacks had to endure continued oppression with Jim Crow laws enforcing discriminatory policies against them. In the sixties, black people had to endure cointelpro policies that worked to assassinate black leaders and disrupt black organizations seeking to combat white supremacy.
In the 1970s, President Nixon launched the “War on Drugs”, which was designed to specifically target black people. In the eighties, blacks endured neo liberal Reaganomics policies and the crack epidemic that worked to ravish black neighborhoods.
In the nineties, Clinton’s crime bill based upon the notion of young black men as “superpredators” worked expand the prison industrial complex of black men. Under the Bush administration, masses of black people were whole sale annihilated during Hurricane Katrina. Where is this past era in which black people have had a great experience in American society?
Make no mistake about it: Trump’s political campaign is about a resurgent white supremacist movement to return to the de’jure system of racial segregation that characterized America. This is why Trump has has retweeted erroneous crime statistics from a white supremacist-affiliated Twitter account. In seeking to criminalize black men, Trump claimed 81% of white homicide victims were killed by blacks.
According to Poltifact, “Almost every number in the image is wrong.” This is not an innocuous tweet. False crime statistics by the leading republican presidential candidate props up the stereotypical image of “the black criminal” that comes to justify police brutality and the devaluation of black life.
In fact, policies such as “Stop and Frisk” which Donald J. Trump openly advocated in the first presidential debate, is based upon racial profiling rooted in the threat of the “black criminal.”Stop and Frisk has been found to be a completely ineffective way to mitigate crime. In 94 of 100 “Stop and Frisk” searches, no evidence of criminal wrongdoing was found.
However, Tim Wise notes that upon being stopped the names of the individuals would be entered into a database based upon the premise that their names could be utilized to prevent future crimes. Additionally, 87% of those individuals stopped by Stop and Frisk were black or Latino.
The policy which fails to prevent crime succeeds in dehumanizing black people. Stop and Frisk is an extremist policy that promotes racial profiling based upon the fallacious threat of the “black criminal.” As a Black Muslim, I would like to report the hatred of an individual who continues to advocate racial profiling.
As a Black Muslim, I must also report the disingenuous seeking to capture the black vote. After the cousin of NBA all-star Dwayne Wayne was killed in the South Side of Chicago, Trump tweeted, “Dwayne Wade’s cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago. Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!” Of course, the violence in the South Side of Chicago emanates from a history of structural racism that has confined blacks to impoverished neighborhoods devoid of opportunities.
Donald Trump stated that black people within inner-cities are,” “living in hell.” In response to this, many democratic politicians have sought to promote the idea that Trump characterized black people with a broad brush and have pointed out that many blacks live in Suburban areas.
However, the fact remains that many black people within inner-cities do live and grow up in hell. However, the hell that they experience is a direct product of structural racism that has confined them to ghettoes. Trump critiques Obama by saying he has not done anything for African-Americans.
The fact is Barack Obama did more to improve the lives of black people as a community organizer in Altgeld Garden than commander in chief. This is because the oppression of black people is so thoroughly ingrained within the political structures of the United States, that it is beyond any president to alleviate.
Donald Trump’s policies would only represent a return to the de’jure system of racial oppression that characterized America. Trump only latches on parasitically to social problems in the black community in a feeble and poor attempt to gain voters.
Trump’s answer stating that Islamophobia can be countered by more Muslims reporting stuff is further based upon the white supremacist notion of collective guilt. Of course, Trump believes that Muslims should only report stuff about radical fringe elements within Muslim communities.
Yet, take for example the fact that this Friday three white men have been charged with plotting to bomb an apartment building in Garden City where Somali Muslims are living, along with plotting to bomb a Mosque. Even further, armed white supremacist militia groups have been “protesting Islam” outside mosques. The question is when will we focus on white supremacy as a radicalizing ideology?
Radical white supremacy is something that must be critically dissected and analyzed, but it continues to be ignored in presidential debates and public discourse. It is an ideology that undergirds state actors, foreign policy, and politics. It is an ideology at the heart of Trump’s presidential campaign.
One of the major republican talking points is how democrats refuse to use the term “radical Islam” due to political correctness. Yet, a much bigger issue than this is the refusal of republicans and democrats to bring attention to the problem of radical white supremacy.
While Islam is viewed from the lens of national security and portrayed as a significant threat to world peace, political scientist Charles Mills writes in The Racial Contract that literary and media discourse won’t mention “the basic political system that has shaped the world for the past several hundred years. And this omission is not accidental.” This omission reflects the fact that whites “take their racial privilege so much for granted that they do not even see it as political.” The fact that Trump is even the leading republican presidential candidate is one of many proofs of how pervasive racism is in America. So this Black Muslim will continue to be on the frontlines by reporting on systemic radical white supremacy.