I was scanning through news stories the other day when I came across a really sad and horrible story. In Florida, a black family was awarded a measly four dollars in damages in a wrongful death suit after a deputy shot the father through a garage door—his own garage door, by the way—because of a noise complaint. I sat there reading the story over and over again. What? How? Why? But then it all makes sense in this age of Donald Trump, the 45 President of these United States. Trump’s ignorance on race has given carte blanche to those folks who have been in the closet for years to get in touch with their inner racist, out loud.
I’ve heard more than one person say we have come to a point where racism has become normal, and indeed it has. You have Roseanne Barr’s vulgar remark toward a former Obama staffer Valerie Jarrett (and to be clear I’m not a fan of Samantha Bee’s remark either). There’s the low level coffee servers and random white people in parks calling the cops on black people who aren’t doing anything. We still have the brutal shootings of black people who, like the family man at the beginning of this story, were killed while working in a garage or sitting in a parking lot or having a cell phone by cops who seem more like stormtroopers than officers of the law. And lest we forget the NFL whose new don’t-kneel policy makes them look more like plantation owners than sports moguls. All of this because the president thinks it’s okay; not just OK but encourages it.
Racism has always been a problem in this country, but this is something on another level. But here’s the thing; what happens when 45 is gone? The reality is that in four to eight years– or maybe sooner if the Russian investigation comes up with enough evidence to boot him out– he’s going. And then what? What happens with race and racism after Trump? Because like it or not or in spite of their best efforts in a few years the majority of this country will be black and brown. After 45 is gone the racism will still be here, there are going to be a lot of hurt feelings, lots of division, tons of resentment. So the question is, how do we reconcile all of this? How do we even begin to heal? We can’t just go back into our neutral corners and pretend that none of this happened. The plug is out of the jug boys and girls, there is no going back, Where do we start? Don’t look to 45 to turnover a new leaf once he’s out of office and probably knee deep on the losing end of a divorce settlement by then.
We’re not going to be able to look to our next president to fix this. He or she will be to busy trying to reverse the policy damage that has been done here and abroad. We’re going to have to fix ourselves, there will have to be long painful conversations. This isn’t going to be pretty by any means. But it is something we all need to think about. The one thing, if any, that you can take from this story is this subject on race, this avalanche of racism and just plain ugliness will not end once Trump and his Legion of Doom go away.
This is on us. We’re going to have to fix this. All of it.