Rahim Islam is a National Speaker and Writer, Convener of Philadelphia Community of Leaders, and President/ CEO of Universal Companies, a community development and education management company headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. Follow Rahim Islam on FaceBook(Rahim Islam) & Twitter (@RahimIslamUC)
Thanks to Donald Trump, America is at a serious crossroads for the nation and the world. With Trump, the Republicans have danced with the devil, and now she is close to being burned. America and all of its institutions must defend itself against this presidency and its lunacy. Conservative, Peggy Noonan recently stated, “Trump is an embarrassment to both us as individual Americans, and to America as a whole.” “The president’s primary problem as a leader is not that he is impetuous, brash or naive, it’s not that he is inexperienced, crude, an outsider. It is that he is weak and sniveling. It is that he undermines himself almost daily by ignoring traditional norms and forms of American masculinity. Trump is “whiny, weepy and self-pitying. He throws himself, sobbing, on the body politic. He’s a drama queen.” His tweets demonstrate “utter weakness.” “It’s all whimpering accusation and fingerpointing: ‘Nobody’s nice to me. Why don’t they appreciate me?’” Restated, Donald Trump is crazy.
Don’t get it twisted, as crazy as Trump is, the policies that he is orchestrating will take America back 60 years. It is something that his campaign has been pushing from the beginning with his “Make America Great Again” campaign. Trump and his kind want to go back to a time when White men, not only ruled, but were without challenge. A place where everything was in their favor and all other groups were subservient to them. This is White supremacy where, not only are the norms in support of their dominance, but the laws are as well. White supremacy is a racist ideology based upon the belief that White people are superior to all other people, specifically of Black and Brown people. White men already own and control everything, but that’s not enough. They want to see Black people absolutely weak and unable to defend themselves. Since they can’t bring back slavery, they will continue to cripple the Black community both politically and economically. So, as to hinder the capacity of Black people to challenge White authority now and in the future – I called this permanent 2nd class citizenship.
While the formal doctrine of White Supremacy is secretly accepted by many White people, however passive, its real energy reside ideologies like political “conservatism” (rightwing). Many White people know this, and like the past, they act like it’s not happening because in the long run they will benefit. We no longer have as many Jim Crow racist laws, but we do have their descendants (James Crow, Esquire). Conservativism is supposedly the belief in personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, individual liberty, traditional American values and a strong national defense. They believe that the role of government should be to provide people the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals. Conservative policies generally emphasize empowerment of the individual to solve problems – this approach assumes that there was no historical disadvantaged created against the Black minority, and the playing field is leveled and nothing could be further from the truth.
If conservativism wasn’t enough, the Republican Party, left alone and in control would truly harm the Black community, but with the election of Donald Trump, the party has now been hijacked by an even more extreme version of the conservatism identified as “Alt-Right.” The Alt-Right philosophy puts on a bold display of racist rhetoric that has always fueled the so-called conservative movement, but which has typically been rationalized through themes involving the word “freedom.” The Alt-Right holds far-right ideologies who reject mainstream conservatism in favor of White nationalism, isolationist, protectionist, anti- Semitic – today’s White supremacist.
Their core belief is that “White identity” is under attack by multicultural forces using “political correctness” and “social justice” to undermine white people and “their” civilization. Characterized by heavy social media use and online memes, Alt-Righters eschew established conservatism, skew young, and embrace white ethno-nationalism as a fundamental value. Their strategy for victory lies in their ability to attack institutional “establishment,” (i.e. judicial system, democratic system, media, etc.). With the constant barrage against the media, they are reshaping public opinion and are undermining our ability to distinguish the truth from falsehood. In this polarizing environment, conspiracy theories are readily masked for real news and/or false interpretations of current news events (alternative facts) are common place. The ease by which fake news is inserted and believed allows for the free press institution itself to become suspect and therefore radical and previous racist concepts (politically incorrect) are being challenged – this is a very dangerous proposition for having legitimate and honest debate and dialogue.
The Alt-Right also has its own lexicon. They are masters of the “Dog Whistle” attracting followers by feeding the deep racist feelings of many White Americans. Dog whistle politics is political messaging employing coded language that appears to mean one thing to the general population but has an additional, different or more specific resonance for a targeted subgroup. Like an actual dog whistle, when sounded, the average person is unable to hear it, and only the dog itself can hear the sound. The phrase is often used as a pejorative because of the inherently deceptive nature of the practice, and because the dog-whistle messages are frequently distasteful to the general populace.
In spite of adopting the discriminating practices of the Republican Party, if successful, the Alt-right movement seeks to preserve White dominance utilizing “code” words like: Voting Fraud, when you constantly delegitimize the voting as being fraud, you can now implement greater voter suppression tactics that is purposely geared at stopping the Black voting bloc; Law and Order, this is code for mass incarceration Black men and an increase in police presence in urban areas that are predominately Black; and Immigration, both legal and illegal immigration is geared at slowing down the “browning” of America that is expected to be a majority population people of color by 2050. In voting for Donald Trump as the President of United Stated, we advance racist and racism at an alarming and dangerous rate – Americans knew what they were doing and they chose to dance with the flames and now are being burned.
The stakes are higher now for the Black community than at no time over the past 100 years. If there is no resistance, no plan, and no unity, we will suffer and sentence generations of Black children into permanent 2nd class citizenship (21st Century Slavery). The ball is in our court because we need a movement, and the common people are unable to do it by themselves – they can’t do it without a real movement that our ancestors were a part of for nearly 300 years, which brought us both freedom from slavery and civil rights.
The movement that we need today is the self determination of Black people, and this can’t be done when every gain that we’ve achieved to date is under attack. With the current White supremacist in control of the White House, it can only make our struggle a more onerous one. Because of these factors and many more, every able-bodied Black leader must be working together and if not, you must ask yourself, WHY? Doing nothing is absolutely unacceptable. While we all have been bitten by the same dog, therefore we should have the same enemy and the same agenda, yet were so divided. The clock continues to run and the movement, or should I say, the need for the movement will never stop.
Democracy and freedom is a “contact” sport, and you get what you can take. The economic race continues whether we run the race or not. Not acting will only mean that we will lose more ground going forward. Our actions or lack of unity has allowed things to slow down and even halt the movement – there is no real resistance of any kind. Movements are started because they represent the “righting of a wrong” and they start in many shapes, fashions and forms. It is not important how that starts, it’s important that they start. They can start like a flicker and ultimately, depending on the severity, grow into a blazing inferno that concludes with real and sustained change (i.e. civil rights). Our Black leaders must do the right thing.
Even White America is rejecting Donald Trump. There is a movement developing to fight him and his Alt-Right racist views, but where is the Black community. It’s not enough to ride their coattails, we must defend ourselves. We are all accountable to the continuation of the struggle. No excuses. We can’t have it both ways. In spite of our challenges no matter how great they are, it is our responsibility to address our needs by providing the leadership needed to problem solve – it is our responsibility and ours alone. We can’t complain, moan, and point fingers when the system is open for us to take advantage of and we do nothing. No one is going to change our condition except us – than why is the Black leaders so silent?