Americans are a people averse to confrontation. They are also hypersensitive on matters of race. So it is little wonder that we are witnessing outrage on the left and amongst some conservatives in their reaction to President Trump’s negative Tweets about Rep. Elijah Cummings and the state of his congressional district of Baltimore, MD.
True to character, the President was reacting to a series of disparaging remarks by Cummings, and to his continuing accusations directed at the President and his supporters of engaging in illegal and immoral activities. This comes on the heels of Mr. Trump’s negative comments about four freshmen progressive congresswomen of color, which inspired outrage and accusations of racism.
The demands for a higher level of discourse by Mr. Trump, while Democratic politicians are given a “pass” by the mainstream press for making all manner of heinous comments, especially if they also happen to be people of color, are blatantly hypocritical. The willingness of Democratic politicians of color to accuse Trump of nefarious activities, and then hide behind their race to avoid well-deserved criticisms, is a strategy that undermines America’s basic standards of fairness and decency while contributing to racial polarization in the country. As has been repeatedly pointed out, Trump’s economic policies, his efforts to reform the criminal justice system, and his personal relationships with people of color, fly in the face of the accusation of racism, but go conveniently ignored by those who would use race to sow social discord and discredit detractors.
The color of one’s skin, be it white, black, or any hue in between, is not grounds for protection from well-deserved criticism. While most Americans would understandably prefer congenial discourse to demeaning comments, it should be recalled that all members of society have the right to defend themselves from unjust accusations, and that race-as-defense for bad behavior is not the American way, and must not be allowed to become the norm.
People of color in America have an important decision to make concerning the future. They can begin to embrace Trump’s policies designed to enhance the quality of life for all Americans, or they can tenaciously hold on to the psychology of victimization, and refuse to recognize that this country has changed fundamentally since the time of Jim Crow, and that few Americans today are racially biased.
We need people like Donald Trump; people who are not easily intimidated, and who are willing to expose the race baiting behaviors of those Democrats who continue to hide behind their skin color. Americans who would prefer to retreat to a more “civil” form of discourse at the expense of genuine progress need to recognize that they are part of the problem, and not the solution. If they cannot stand up for what’s right, at least please do not obstruct the path for those who are genuinely dedicated to creating real positive change for all Americans.