Op/Ed By Wallace Mabry
Blaming Donald Trump solely for the current trend in calling Black people animals is akin to promoting Trump as some social icon with capabilities beyond the norm of regular white people. That is a general conclusion based on the history of white America and contemporary outbursts of racist rhetoric from a number of white politicians who have railed against President Obama and First Lady Michelle since they have been in and blackened the doors of the “White House.”
For once, let us be honest. Very little has changed in America in respect to racial tolerance. Of course, more and more Black men are sleeping with white women and, as a consequence, a lot more Black women are sleeping with white men. The social scene is ablaze with Blacks and whites mixing it up. But that does not mean that America has made significant progress in the areas of social development and meaningful social change. Miscegenation as well as Black and white social interactions in America have long histories, but they have not endowed Black people with the treasures of American citizenship.
While it may be suggested that any change from the murderous and socioeconomic deprivations of the past is indicative of a radical change in the attitudes of white people vis-à-vis Black people and the successful struggles of Black people for a legitimate place in the American mainstream, the reality for most Black people, who work hard and who normally would be heralded as upstanding citizens, is quite different.
What is bothersome is that well-to-do white people who hold political, game-changing positions like this Carl Paladino are supported by a great many liberal thinking, “Oh, shucks. He’s alright,” Black people who, doubtless, will be advocating for him to remain in his position on the Buffalo School Board. His attitude, however, attaches to all of his dealings with Black people; especially for our Black children who are enrolled in the very schools where he has influences in setting educational goals, opportunities, and possibilities.
Of course, many Black people will contend, in the fashion of the saying, “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” that a given sociopolitical attitude in one realm does not reflect the quality of one’s ability to be equitable in another. Those who would contend thusly should be reminded that fair does not equate with equality in America.
The general supposition here is that those who hold to that philosophy, the sticks and stones, are the same ones who denigrate Black people by claiming the “N” word, when used by Black people, is a term of endearment.
What is disturbing about that hypothesis is that Black people did not give birth to the “N” word; hence its meaning and reference continues to carry that which was contributed to it by the ones who gave birth to it. In other more specific words, a word does not automatically change its meaning simply because it is slung and flung from the lips of a Black person.
Those Blacks who would market the belief that it does are academically and culturally confused, which relegates them to the rank and file of marketers of self-hatred.