today in black history

July 17, 2024

The Port Chicago incident occurred in 1944 when Black Navy ammunition handlers were killed in a violent explosion at the California base.

A Cancer within the Family

POSTED: August 18, 2017, 7:00 am

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Screen shot of CNN 2016 election coverage

It’s clear, the white males who have occupied the Oval Office throughout our nation’s history have all carried some racist luggage into the White House. From the founders, who now stand out as the political equivalent of a confused boy band, to those in modern history such as Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, and all those before, between and after, they have been a morally conflicted lot. Some have tried to confront their racial blind spots, though none well, and all have fallen short in coming to terms with America’s tortured history of white supremacy, and how its black and brown progeny have been crushed under its weight.

Despite the many shortcomings of numbers 1-43, none, and this is really mind blowing when thinking about some of these men, none, reached the depths of the moral abyss as Donald Trump. He has redefined the depths of the gutter, and has comfortably taken refuge in its murky bottom.

Few should be surprised at the deficiencies of this president, whose many incarnations is like some 2017 version of Patty Duke (for those old enough to remember – “Still, they’re cousins, identical cousins and you’ll find, they laugh alike, they walk alike, at times they even talk alike”) with split personalities that are both decidedly evil. This is a grown child who becomes petulant whenever asked to behave as an adult, and walks around spiteful as if his pull-ups need changing. Donald Trump is what we feared Richie Rich would become as a grown man if someone didn’t sit his privileged butt down and sent him to the corner.

This is someone who has always demanded to be treated as a deity, and unfortunately too many have worshipped at the altar of Trump. His fetish for money (and I believe that’s what Russia has always been about) has hypnotized many and made suckers out of most. In the early 90’s when I was writing a regular column for a New Jersey newspaper, Trump had the audacity to question the authenticity of the Ramapough Indians because he feared the tribe would get federal tribal status and open a casino that could challenge his Atlantic City properties. It was classic Trump – throw out lies, grandstand and flash his wealth. I was so disgusted, also because he was getting help from a New Jersey U.S. Senator, Democrat Bob Torricelli, that I wrote a column supporting the tribe and spent time with the Ramapough community in the mountains of Mahwah. What I learned then was that Donald Trump is a megalomaniac and has no capacity to be truthful because he lacks the essential human quality of integrity.

What we are witnessing today is not a president unhinged, but a president who truly embraces the hate and venom he spews. This is not an act or some political calculation. This is Donald Trump. This has always been Donald Trump.

Then, you ask, “How can he be embraced by these black people we see who surround him, including black ministers?” Well, first, it’s not really about being Republicans. It’s about being opportunists who truly are lacking decency and would send us back to the plantation if they could get a check. There have been black Republicans, and I’m not talking from the Frederick Douglass era, but those in fairly recent history who never let their partisanship or greed overtake their self-respect and dignity. The late Edward Brooke, the Republican senator from Massachusetts, was a model of civility and fairness, who never surrendered his cultural identity. Many people forget that before Ben Hooks was head of the NAACP, he was a state judge in Tennessee and a Nixon appointee to the Federal Communications Commission. While on the FCC, Hooks supported minority ownership of television and radio stations. William Coleman, treasury secretary under Gerald Ford, was a civil rights giant. Coleman was the co-author of the legal brief in Brown v. Board of Education. Arthur Fletcher was truly the ‘father of affirmative action,’ served as the Assistant Secretary of Labor under Richard Nixon, and was an unapologetic voice against racism as chairman of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. And more recently, when J.C. Watts, representing an Oklahoma congressional district, made it a point to advocate for black farmers.

And none of these black people, not black Republicans, but dignified black people, sat silent when their party took positions contrary to the interests of the Black community. They may not have always won the battle, but they were willing to fight.

Today, the embarrassment-in-chief has surrounded himself with a group of Black enablers who don’t have the moral fiber to confront this president’s racism. It is one thing to stay in the White House when there are matter of policy differences between your boss and your community. That dichotomy has existed under Democratic presidents and Black staff members. It is quite another thing to remain loyal when your boss, the President of the United States, has declared allegiance with white supremacists. His half-hearted, 48-hour late and pressured initial response to the Charlottesville white supremacists’ violence was insufficient cover for these intellectually bankrupt black court jesters.

These in-house servants are matched in their lack of self-respect by black conservatives who make the rounds of cable television news programs and tow the company line. These folks are so thirsty for attention, they take positions that defy common sense. I don’t take offense to their partisan identification. I have long advocated that we need Blacks in all political parties. What is appalling, is when you simply serve as a hand puppet, and what you say is harmful to our children and a betrayal to all those who suffered mightily so your well-coifed posterior could have the opportunity to grin at the lens.

And while I’m on the topic of black buffoonery, let me not leave out Trump’s band of roving pulpit pimps who disgrace their holy calling and are an abomination in the sight of the Almighty. The black pastors that have cozied to this president’s side, and laid ‘holy’ hands upon him, and defended his debauchery and bigotry with the Bible, have a special reservation waiting in hell. They are an offense to the teachings of Jesus Christ and are nothing but scriptural pirates who ply the seas for booty (and take that reference in any way you choose) and defile the cross without guilt. We need to stop giving these con artists cover and call them out for who they are – selfish, greedy frauds who disgrace the memories and honor of our ancestors.

As for this president, during this last week he has actually accomplished something I never thought I could attribute to him. He has united the country in denouncing America’s hateful past and in showing unity against white supremacy. Don’t let the pictures of these torch-bearing idiots fool you. They are outnumbered and they know it. For all their bravado, they never broach communities with large populations of Black and Latino residents. Their courage stops at a distance from those they hate. They are a cowardly lot that preys upon college campuses and spaces where they will not encounter resistance of a life-altering type.

If there was ever a time to stand up and ‘make it plain’ the time is now. We must make clear that we ain’t blackin’ down. I’m Walter Fields, proud, Black and an American of African descent. And I approve this message.

Walter Fields is Executive Editor of

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