today in black history

March 03, 2023

Elizabeth City State University, now a part of the University of North Carolina system, was founded on this date in 1891.

Dream Bandits

POSTED: September 06, 2017, 7:00 am

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Donald Trump and disgraced Sheriff Joe Arpaio on the campaign trail in 2016

There is something really wretched about seeing and hearing an old white man suggest there isn’t room enough in this nation for everybody. Attorney General Jeff Sessions statement in announcing the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program perhaps is the most pointed representation of irony, since folks that look like Sessions are the all-time classic interlopers. Ask American Indians about intrusions on their land and then tell that lie about the so-called ‘Dreamers’ without the smugness that was on the attorney general’s face yesterday.

And, let’s get one thing straight. Trump’s abandonment of DACA isn’t just about Mexicans, it was about Haitians, and other Caribbean and African immigrants, and Muslims. This move is about removing black and brown faces in an attempt to forestall the browning of America. That’s what came across Jeff Sessions’ southern drawled lips. He might as well had said “these Negruhs aren’t welcome here” and then let out a rebel yell as the Confederate flag unfurled behind him. This is a 21st century Jim Crow remix, with a healthy dose of sampling from the beat masters of the past – Wallace, Eastland and Jim Clark.

It was a cowardly move by the president. After engaging in his usual game of double-speak, and stringing Dreamers along, he didn’t have the courage to stand before the public and announce his decision to abandon DACA and the dreams of the hundreds of thousands of honest citizenship hopefuls. The man who likes to brag about himself ceaselessly, and tweet in response to the slightest criticism, didn’t have the guts to face the American people or the press. Instead, he sent out his willing lap dog, the attorney general, who in true confederate style was damn near giddy in proclaiming brown folks not wanted in America. It was the biggest punk move of an American president in modern history.

Now, some 800,000 people, our friends, relatives and neighbors, face an uncertain future in the only land that most of them can recall as ‘home.’ Their lives are being interrupted by the hatefulness of an American president whose bigotry is second only to the vindictiveness of the man who is supposedly the nation’s chief law enforcement officer but only plays one on TV. In reality, he is just another resentful old white man, being propped up by another resentful old white man; both relics from the past who have been revived by the nation’s elixir – racism. It’s like both Trump and Sessions get rejuvenated every time the opportunity presents itself to put another dagger in the backs of Blacks and Latinos.

This isn’t about expelling criminals or imposing controls on a wayward policy. DACA worked and worked quite well; and that was the problem. Having no justification for eliminating the program, Sessions simply lied. It is a signature move by this administration – when the facts don’t line up in the favor of the Trump White House (and they never do), his minions just lie without hesitation. The ease at which this administration lies is epic. The problem, of course, is that lying at the highest levels of our nation’s governance ultimately comes at a great cost to the nation. That was the case of the Civil War, Vietnam War, Watergate, and most recently the Iraq War under President George W. Bush. Lying does come with a penalty and this country is facing a hefty fine in the not-too-distant future.

Trump has now passed the buck to Congress to ‘fix’ DACA, as if there was something wrong with it. This move fits a pattern. We witnessed it with the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare.” It’s an attempt to kill a policy but put someone else’s fingerprints on the murder weapon. In the spring when Trump told Dreamers they could “rest easy” what he really meant was rest up until we decide to kick you out of the country. Even by Trump’s bottom of the barrel standards, this was a gutless and heartless move. Yesterday, this president confirmed what we had already acknowledged after his pitiful response to the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville Virginia. Trump has again taken a page from the playbook of American racism. It should come as no surprise given his recent pardon of disgraced Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. The former Maricopa County sheriff had made a name for himself racially profiling people of color. There is no gutter too low for which this president can’t find pleasure in dwelling.

“And, let’s get one thing straight. Trump’s abandonment of DACA isn’t just about Mexicans, it was about Haitians, and other Caribbean and African immigrants, and Muslims. This move is about removing black and brown faces in an attempt to forestall the browning of America.”

This is a moral crisis in America. We have an American president who is immoral. It will be up to us, the citizens of this country, to resist and reject this cruel decision. What do I mean? We must defy this unjust action. We must protect these Dreamers in the name of humanity. For those of us who profess a faith-centered life, we must insist our houses of worship provide sanctuary and as individuals we must also be willing to do likewise. If we submit to this putrid bigotry, we are only setting us up for the day when the federal government will be used to target people of color for detention and expulsion.

One thing I am most certain is that there are more people on the side of good in America than those who are tainted by the sin of racism. The time has come to stand united and publicly defy this administration. It is the only course of action when rogue elements have taken control of the federal government. We exist in a state of emergency and there is no need to feign objectivity in this moment.

Walter Fields is Executive Editor of

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