“Don’t be afraid. We are going to bring our country back. But certainly, don’t be afraid.”
– President-elect Donald Trump
Americans are already afraid.
African-Americans are afraid that Stop and Frisk – and racial profiling — will be revived and that African-Americans and other people of color will be stopped and detained by police for no apparent reason.
Undocumented Hispanics are afraid they will be deported.
Muslims are afraid they will be targeted by white supremacists.
And many Americans are now afraid – or at least suspicious of Steve Bannon.
It’s a legitimate concern.
Bannon, the former head of the far-right website Breibart News Network, has been tapped by Donald Trump to become his chief strategist and senior counselor. Breibart is notorious for spewing hate and supporting white nationalist idealogy under Bannon’s leadership.
“When news of Bannon’s appointment hit white supremacist websites last night, forums like Stormfront erupted in celebration,” said Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate crimes across the country.
“In his victory speech, Trump pledged to be the president for ‘all Americans’ and to ‘bind the wounds of division’ in our country. Appointing someone like Bannon, who will have the president-elect’s ear every single day, makes a mockery of that pledge,” Cohen said.
So here’s one logical question: Will a white nationalist ideology work its way into the Oval Office in a Trump administration?
Trump’s incendiary rhetoric has re-energized hate groups across America and in an already racially polarized nation, I fear we’re in for an intensified white supremacist movement because these fanatical organizations feel empowered by Trump.
Here’s what we know for sure: White supremacists across America are celebrating and becoming more emboldened day-by-day. Hate groups are brazenly claiming credit for sending Trump to the White House. Just seven days after Trump stunned Democrats by beating Hillary Clinton, some of Trump’s most racist supporters are rising up.
Consider these statements from hate groups days after Trump’s resounding victory:
David Duke, former head of the KKK, tweeted: “Our people played a HUGE role in electing Trump!”,
Kevin McDonald, considered by many to be an anti-Semite, wrote: “This is an amazing victory. Fundamentally, it is a victory of White people over the oligarchic, hostile elites.”
Even President Obama said Trump tapped into a “troubling” ideology to win the election.
And Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC) said Bannon’s appointment is dangerous.
“Bannon’s appointment is a cold slap in the face to those of us who are working to mend race relations in America, and it further divides our country along the lines of hate and bigotry,” Butterfield said in a statement. “President-elect Trump must work to bring us together and his appointment of Steve Bannon sends an alarming signal that he remains loyal to the animosity and hatred that was the core of his campaign.”
Meanwhile, just days after the election, a blatant act of racism – a hate crime — took place at a church not far from where I live.
Last Sunday, members of the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour discovered one of their signs, advertising a Spanish-language service, had been defaced with a racist, pro-Trump message.
“Trump nation. Whites only,” were scrawled on the church sign.
These are racist cowards who scribble in the shadows and run.
On CBS’ 60 Minutes, Trump said he is saddened to learn that people of color are being harassed after the presidential campaign.
He said if any of his supporters are harassing ethnic groups in his name, they should “stop” now.
I wonder if Steve Bannon agrees.
What do you think?