Wolfram Kistner reminds us, “The society and the religious or ideological community or cultural group which has contributed towards shaping the mind of the offender shares in the responsibility of the offence and is in need of repentance on its part and forgiveness on the part of God and the victims with the view of facilitating a process of healing and taking precautions against a religion of the offence.”
I thought of these words of Kistner as I pondered the most recent barrage of insults on African and Caribbean by to President Trump. Donald J Trump has fired another salvo in an endless list of racist malfeasance when he last week decided to describe African Countries and Haiti in s…hole status.
Upon America rests the burden of looking at itself and asking tough questions if it has any dream of freeing itself from what truly divides it as its last election that delivered Trump have shown. Countries like America, South Africa, United Kingdom, and Australia remain highly racially polarized societies and a denial of this is simply a dishonest analysis.
Much is written and opined on a Trump presidency, this spans from the most lewd, thoughtless and most ridiculous. However what baffles many is why Trump for having blatantly offended many African Americans, Latino’s, Mexican, Africans, women, the disabled, veterans black athletes and the poor in stereotypes of racist and misogynist utterances remains in the White House. It’s simply not enough to hear his approval ratings are the lowest of all presidents since 1953. We cannot find any comfort in this any longer.
America with its 2016 election was afforded a chance to look in the proverbial mirror to see what stares back at her. We heard throughout the period of that elections contest be it in the primaries and ultimately as GOP candidate people support Donald J. Trump because he tells it as it is, he is not part of ‘the establishment’ he speaks their mind, and he is not a politician but a businessman. What is indisputable is Trump is supported in the USA to the extent that the won the elections.
If Trumps offends us, if we bear the marks of his utterances against our collective humanity and if we are hurt by Donald J Trump we must accept Trump is not alone. It would be a grave mistake to assume Trump stands in the shadow of himself.
Trump stands on the shoulders and finds meaning in a community, a society, an ideological and cultural context that has produced him and has shown and acceptance of his candidacy despite it protesting everything in opposite of conventional elections. Trump’s words, actions, and articulations represent the sum-total of a particular community’s persuasions.
We know that all communities form values, we also know that these values over time take the form of norms. Yet, these values and norms assume and define definite choices for what is desirable. In a sense, we can therefore consider these choices as informed by a class struggle if the Marxist philosophy holds sway, motivated by Maslow’s psychology of a hierarchy of needs and underpinned by what cultural theorists determined as ideologies of race and or gender.
We can today accept the community Trump represents a long time ago made a choice for a form of separateness. A choice, of separateness, despite almost 250 years of a Declaration of Independence. That choice is on the one hand a choice to be separate from – while it also is a denial of – an equality of others to share the identity they claim for themselves.
Not only is theirs a choice, by extension a norm for this community, but also it contextualized with race as its premise, departure point, and final destination. We know race, as a classification of humans into confirmed immutable biological categories with qualitative differences among them is a discredited enterprise.
We must therefore ask again as Dexter B. Gordon reminds us why race and its attendant and chromatically inaccurate colour descriptors especially black and white enjoy almost universal usage today, though often with the pernicious assumption of the innate physical, mental and moral superiority of one group over another.
This community’s choice of separateness is anchored in racism. Rachel Dolezal in her 2015 TEDx Talk presentation helps us conclude, “race didn’t create racism, but racism created race”
To appreciate Dolezal here is to appreciate that race is not a benign worldview that somehow was twisted and led to racism. The belief that some humans are biologically and behaviourally superior or inferior to others created the idea of race. Therefore, it was the very hierarchical worldview of white supremacy that mythologized race. The need to control, dominate, discriminate, etc., justified itself by manufacturing a worldview of the race hierarchy.
The community that produced a Trump wrestles with the audacity of Africans and Haitians the world over who have entered the USA and other spaces and impacted if not lead, willing to stand back for no one. Trump and his community’s judgment of Africans, Haitians, and others not equal to those of Norway have nothing but a pale skin as its epicentre.
It is not the known skills, undeniable contributions, and value add that the USA has benefitted for decades from Africans and others that is used as the yardstick for their relevance in USA citizenship, its their external presentation of a additional melanin that for this community defines the totality of Africans and Haitians. This community struggles because the value of being African or of African descent, the evidence of a choice was long ago made and now is a norm. The content of that value appraisal intrinsically denies any African an inalienable right to the USA, a country of immigrants of which Trump’s ancestry attests.
Therefore, their trapped ideology immanent in disregard for Africans as equals militates this season against the reality of the hour of a USA that simply never could exist without its known many migrants.
This very same community produced and ultimately gave the USA a Trump as its face of separateness in this season. It therefore cannot be that we afford this society, community, religious and cultural groups a free pass as if Donald Trump is a freak or a phenomenon in his own right.
This community however defined must own up for it offended African Americans, Latino, Mexicans, and Africans and in this season also countries like Haiti and all those who identify with the aforementioned.
This community owes the Africans and Haitians an unreserved apology borne from nothing less than a truly repented heart, if they can get themselves to that. We therefore cannot blame Trump as an individual in ignorance of denial of this community. If Trump is obsessed in attempt of obliterating his predecessor it has little to do with it anything but this community’s norm of what Africans mean.
Trump therefore is classically calibrated to undo what an African has done, if he could change the oval office he would. If he could wipe Obama out of the annals of a USA existence he would. Remember it’s the same group and its preoccupation to have a certain interpretation of the African that afforded them a right to question Obama’s birth right as USA citizen. In the psyche of this group, an African assumes a certain frame and that frame is defined in justified suspicion. Trump therefore has spent the full year of his presidency obsessed to undo Obama in every form and shape he can. Obama is this ghost this created threat, which out of a natural suspicion of birth, fail to appreciate the good for America and by extension would always do a bad deal.
The trouble in the USA is not Trump but the community that finds complete salience and resonance in his thoughtless utterances of insult and offense.
A community of intolerant, racist, sexist bigots who desires a return to slavery has captured the USA political high office. A community that truly assumes its livelihood is threatened by the presence of minorities be it the African American in Chicago, the Hispanic in Texas or the African who attempts entering the USA to make a valuable contribution. This community unfortunately only understands America’s problems through the prism of race and anchored in false sense of superiority.
Hearing Kistner is to appreciate the fact that we are not deceived to isolate an ignorant and arrogant Trump for these offenses, we prove more conscious to appreciate the wider reality of a racist community in America that sustains its 45th president. Can we afford to blame to Trump and give this community a free pass?
Clyde N. Ramalaine
Political Commentator and Writer