It's been over two years since I've written a blog post. To be honest, I wasn't even sure where I was going to start with this. Then, January 6th happened.
I see politicians and media figures and remember how that told us black folks that our concerns about Donald Trump and his followers were overblown. Many of them are now saying they can't believe that it would have gone this far.
It's in times like this that I lean on the wisdom of elders to help explain why our warnings go unheard.
I hear the voice of Radio Hall of Fame inductee and activist Joe Madison saying, "In America, we are culturally conditioned to believe that white is superior and black is inferior and the manifestation of that cultural conditioning is that Black people are undervalued, underestimated and marginalized."
I hearken back to a spoken word piece from Dr. Cornel West, titled "911". It was written in the years following the attacks on 9/11/2001 but, the words apply here:
"All Americans feel unsafe, unprotected, subject to random violence and hated. Yet, we also know, in the midst of the American past and present, as a Black people, we have always felt unsafe, unprotected, subject to random violence and hated."
It goes on to say, "A blues nation must now learn from a blues people how to deal with such conditions."
I often say that if you want to see America's future, look at how it treats its black citizens. Often, it's the harbinger of issues to come. More appropriately, our treatment is the barometeter indicating if America will have good weather or suffer storms.
When Trump was running, we saw the potential storm that could come from it. He was clearly a racist. Beyond just that, he was a lying manipulator that plucked the strings of racial animus with a virtuosity that caused those who were attuned to it to drop all pretense of civility and dance along. Let me be more plain, he stopped speaking in code and told racists that your voices, and even your deeds, have a welcome home in the Republican Party. Imagine the Southern Strategy, extended out to 50 states and dialed way past 11.
So, for Black America, the events of January 6, 2021 were of little surprise.
Now, some might ask, "What did the events of this day have to do with race?" Well, look at the grievance, claiming the election was stolen. The challenges to various states' elections targeted locations with large black populations, implying that places with large numbers of black voters were places were fraud had occurred. As a result, it was easy to leverage racism and lead these people to believe that their beliefs were justified.
From there, despite not having any evidence to support their claims, even when given the chance to present it in court some 60+ times, the cult of Trump was more than willing to accept lies and use the power of white privilege and white supremacy to attempt to overturn an election outcome they didn't like. Never mind that Republicans didn't lose Senate seats (at least until Trump interfered in the Georgia runoffs) and actually gained House seats.
However, this was not about the ebb and flow of politics, or even a concerns about "fair" elections. It was about fear. In this case, a fear of "others" realizing that they have a voice in the body politic and that the exercise of the franchise would take away the "power" that those on the political right had grown accumstomed to wielding. Realizing that this shift could be long-lasting and, without them embracing it, permanent, this right-wing faction figured that, if they can't have it their way, it's best to simply burn it all down.
Again, for many black folks, this is simply a long sermon, preaching to the choir. However, for those who again failed to listen to Black America, I'll say it again -- "we tried to tell you."