What really happened during the Sept. 26 debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump?
Lester Holt allowed himself be intimidated by all the pre-media critiques and let Trump have his way. Why not just tell the man, “no” when he kept inserting his comments or take it out of his time for the next response? Instead, Trump was allowed to continue his political strategy of verbal bullying, non sequitur logic and making inappropriate sounds when his opponent spoke.
Without a doubt, Clinton stood strong and got some good jabs in at Trump. She pointed out his xenophobia with his call for President Obama’s birth certificate, his sexism with the adjectives he uses to describe women, his racism with the law suits against him for discrimination (to which Trump replied, “we settled but never admitted guilt”) and his classism in bilking architects and workers out of wages for their labor on his infamous projects. Good job Hilary.
But you, too, have a long way to go on the road to trust and righteousness. Under the Bill Clinton administration, Blacks were adversely impacted by some of the most draconian policies around welfare and incarceration since the 1950s. You need to speak to how you will distance yourself from these policies of the last Clinton president, and make things right.
How can you speak of the need for racial healing when under your husband’s administration some of the factors contributing to the negative perception of Blacks were implemented? You will have to renounce these past Clinton polices and the assumptions and unconscious biases undergirding them if you wish us of the Black and Brown persuasion to trust you. And what promises can you make to assure us that once elected, we won’t be forgotten?
We know Trump will forget the few Brown and Black leaders who support him today. They must be truly desperate for attention to hitch their wagon to the incoherent and biased platform of Trump. I’m thinking of Don King here, who has come out of oblivion to encourage Black people to vote for Trump.
Perhaps King should return to whatever hole he crawled out of or was rescued from by the Trump campaign. I’m curious how much he might have been paid or what job he’s been promised … perhaps Trump’s public relations person for the Black community, if he wins?
But Trump and his campaign are truly out of touch with Black reality, if they think Don King can persuade us to vote for him. Don King was always viewed as a buffoon of sorts, and not much has changed. And most Millennials haven’t a clue as to who King is.
What scares me more than anything about this presidential campaign are the white voters who believe that Trump won the debate. Their faith in his presidential ascendancy is reminiscent of the white onlookers who used to attend and picnic at lynchings. These audiences had no clue as to any crime the victims supposedly committed – and more times than not there were no crimes. But lynching audiences were comprised of “good white people” determined to keep America white and maintain “those people” – anyone non-white – in a place of subordination and subjugation by any means necessary. Lynching was the preferred method.
Today, the preferred method for keeping Black and Brown folk in conditions of subjugation and subordination is the fear of death by police or by white citizens who think you (a Black/Brown person) look dangerous, don’t like the volume of your music, don’t believe you belong in certain neighborhoods, think a Black child always looks like an adult, don’t believe Black people have a right to carry a gun even with a license, can’t distinguish a toy gun from a real one, and walk with unconscious biases and the belief that all Black people are inherently dangerous and should be feared.
The police mantra “I feared for my safety” is now the constant refrain of anyone with a badge (Black or white, woman or man) and seems sufficient to justify killing people who are selling cigarettes on the street, sitting in their cars, carrying a saxophone case, or stopped for a minor traffic violation. How is it possible the same police can capture a terrorist bomber without firing a shot but seem trigger happy around Black and Brown people who are not doing anything or are committing minor infractions of the law? I’m confused.
If Donald Trump wins, he threatens to turn American backwards. Such a return would send us back to the era of White supremacy, Jim Crow segregation laws, and rampant employment and housing discrimination. But of course Trump doesn’t remember those things because they didn’t impact his life.
If Clinton wins, we have to hope that she finds her heart and has the guts to dismantle the disparate policies her husband put in place that inherently targeted Black and Brown people. We have to be optimistic that she will leverage her white privilege and declare open season on police departments with patterns of bias and excessive force against Black and Brown people, appoint a judge to the Supreme Court willing to uphold ethnicity as a positive factor in college admissions, fully reinstate the Voting Rights Act, and allocate as much humanitarian assistance domestically to Chi-Raq, Charlotte-Raq and other American war torn inner cities to the same degree we have given to Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel and other countries.
It is the height of arrogance for the United States of America to stand in judgment of other countries for human rights violations when Black citizens here are being routinely executed by police for the smallest infraction; to accuse foreign government of undemocratic elections when we allow states like North Carolina to gerrymander districts so that the voting rights of citizens are manipulated and only Republican candidates can win elections and to condemn other countries for not providing adequate public education when America’s public education system needs a serious overhaul.
Who will triumph this presidential election? It’s not logical, but according to the polls, it’s still a coin toss.
(C) 2016 McClaurin Solutions; all rights reserved
Irma McClaurin is an award winning columnist and the Culture and Education Editor for Insight News. In 2015, she was named “Best Columnist” by the Black Press. An activist anthropologist and motivational speaker, she founded the Irma McClaurin Black Feminist Archive at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst.