Shootings, vandalism, demonstrations, outbursts spreading hate. These are the things we see; everywhere it seems. But it’s finally time to say racism has no place in American society.
Recently, a member of the Charleston Transportation Committee went on a racial tirade via Twitter regarding former President Obama’s portrait unveiling. The individuals outburst read:
This individual “claims” to be a Republican. In fact multiple acquaintances of mine have come out since the election of Donald Trump claiming to be his supporters. They openly show hate for none-white races. They also claim to be devout Church going Christians and good Republicans. For the record, Donald Trump is not a racist; his son-in-law is Jewish. And these people are not Republicans. Why? I’ve repeated my opinion of what Republicans believe:
Individual achievement as a factor behind economic prosperity. Republicans believe in taking care of our neighbors. We believe in giving you the tools to succeed, not just keeping your head above water. Republicans want you to have the American Dream. We believe in Liberty. We believe in American exceptionalism.
When I ran for the South Carolina legislature, I encountered people of different races, religious beliefs, sexual orientations and political viewpoints. I met first and second generation Americans and ones who’s immigrant ancestors came through Ellis Island. The one common theme? We are all Americans.
Of course there were disgusting exceptions. One elderly caucasian male thought President Trump’s mantra of “America-First” meant prosperity exclusively for his race and that the, “Negro” and “Sand-Negro” need to go back home. I gulped and told him I was born in Iran, and he said, “well you look white to me”. On the Democrat side, I encountered an elderly African-American woman proclaiming she will never vote for the “white-man”, because he is the devil. I’m now ashamed for not saying what I should have said. That there never has been, nor will there ever be room for the intolerance, hate and venom these two spew. Because America is an idea too pure for closed-mindedness. John F. Kennedy didn’t say it was a black or white problem, a Democrat or Republican problem. He said whatever we encounter is an American problem that requires an American solution.
What I’m ashamed of myself is I’ve never stood up to my friends, acquaintances or strangers that voted for Donald Trump because they falsely believe the President only wants the best for their race. I’m ashamed for not confronting people that have hate in their hearts. I’m ashamed of some of our leaders for not proclaiming loudly, and boldly that racism and hatred will not tolerated in our society anymore!
This country – like many others – has an unfortunate history of slavery and racism. However, it is time for our political, business and religious leaders to be unified in their proclamation that it belongs to to past. A past that should not be forgotten, and learned from.
When the Twin Towers fell, we lost Americans of every race and creed. Our soldiers all bleed the same color red, are covered in the same sweat, dirt and grime. And the fallen return in the same draped coffin with the same flag and are recognized equally for the ultimate sacrifice with the same national anthem.
In response to the above mentioned social media post about President Obama’s portrait, South Carolina State Senator Marlon Kimpson (D) wrote on his twitter account:
“With people like (the aforementioned bigot) making decisions impacting our communities, it’s no wonder we have large racial disparities in Charleson. We’ve been looking for folks in the woods with robes and hoods, while he sits in plain view spewing hate from the CTC. He will be fired today.”
And South Carolina House Representative, Peter McCoy (R) correctly added: “That’s an absolute embarrassment to our party and he needs to go immediately,”
The two state politicians, members of the Democrat and Republican Parties respectively, nailed their responses on target. However, I feel the question ought to be whether or not he would have been fired had he kept his deranged viewpoint within a small circle. Is he only being fired because this is the first time this person has spoken about his hate towards President Obama, African-Americans and Muslims? I’m assuming it is not.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are 917 active hate groups – black and white – in the United States today; in 2018.
The First Amendment to the Constitution allows for the freedom of assembly and speech. But it is time we declare loudly that “all men (and women) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
It is time Republicans and Democrats, and community leaders – regardless of representing White, Black, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, or Asian Americans – need to have a universal proclamation that this society not only does not accept hatred and bigotry; but disavows any and all tolerance of it. You are protected to feel the hate you have; but your protection from civil society must be lifted.
I am not a civic leader; but I vow to never accept, hear, or see hatred or racism without confronting it – peacefully.