I am astonished – shocked – by the shameless way in which racists are flaunting their bigotry in America today. Take this comment from Maine’s Governor Paul LePage:
These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty – these types of guys – they come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue we have to deal with down the road.
And this robocall to Iowa voters from a group supporting Donald Trump:
We don’t need Muslims. We need smart, well-educated white people who will assimilate to our culture.
I never thought I would live to hear this kind of thing – not in public, anyway.
Overt racism is more evident in America than I have ever known it, and I’ve been in this country for nearly 37 years.
What’s going on?
I imagine one reason is a backlash against the election of America’s first black President. Some pundits are saying the nation wasn’t ready for that.
But there are other reasons. And some of them are economic.
With America’s factory jobs gone abroad, this country is left with mostly low-paying service sector jobs, the kind that “smart, well educated, white people” once disdained. Now, everybody – black, white, Hispanic or whatever – must compete for those jobs.
I’m beginning to see stories about “white poverty” in the media.
According to an old Jamaican saying, “If you don’t mash ants, you never see their guts.” In other words, distress exposes a person’s hidden feelings.
And, with presidential candidate Donald Trump daring to give voice to this undercurrent of racist resentment, others of his stripe are feeling emboldened.
But, while the racists might now feel free to expose their “guts,” it’s encouraging to note the overwhelmingly negative response they are evoking.
For example, hundreds of outraged Americans condemned LePage. According to an ABC report, “social media’s response was swift – and seething.”
He was obliged to issue a half-hearted apology.
Even more encouragingly, the white mother of a biracial child took to Facebook to lambaste the governor.
Her name is Becca Edwards and her husband is black (photo above).
LePage’s words “should not be tolerated,” she said. Here’s an excerpt from her Facebook posting:
Last week the governor in Maine, my state, suggested to the world that if one were to see me (the white girl) and my daughter (the biracial girl) walking down the street, that she is a product of my involvement with a drug dealer from out of state. And even worse, that she wasn’t wanted.
My daughter’s father (the black guy) is….wait for it…my husband! Even more crazy, he’s not a drug dealer! What?!? He’s a well-educated man with an excellent job in education, in fact. And our daughter, was so wanted.
Edwards concluded with the hashtag “impeachlepage” and encouraged others to share her post to show what a biracial family in Maine “really looks like.”
As long as Americans like Becca Edwards keep coming forward to counter the bigots, America will remain the proud and free country that people like me envisaged when we became citizens. And the racists will eventually crawl back under their rocks.