I have a few topics I want to cover this morning so I’ll jump right in.
And I want to start by talking about two despicable incidents of racism and bigotry and what each of these incidents really teach us. I’ve shared the photos and videos of these incidents on all of my social media accounts and I think both of those incidents, which each took place this past weekend, tell us a lot about where we are and where we’re going as a nation.
I’m 39 years old. I’ll be turning 40 later this year. And for most of my life, I actually thought that racism was getting better. I didn’t think it was going to disappear, but I will admit that I absolutely thought the election of Barack Obama was a sign that where we were going as a nation was up – that we were improving – and that racism was on the decline – and that our progress as a nation was marching forward. And don’t get me wrong, electing Barack Obama was historic and important, but imagine for a moment that Joe Biden or John Kerry had been elected President in 2008 and 2012, and instead of the 44th President of the United States being Black, imagine it was yet another white moderate white man.
Do you really think that Donald Trump would’ve been elected President of the United States if Joe Biden had been President? Of course not. Donald Trump’s election was a direct result of the rise of white anger and white bigotry and white supremacy that was triggered by the election of a Black man named Barack Hussein Obama. And I’m not blaming Obama for Trump – never that – I am saying that what we did in electing Obama was beautiful, but that the white racist power structure exploded in anger as a result.
And we are now living in that age – where we have a bigoted, corrupt, racist reality TV star host as President of the United States – and the impact of the times that we are living in is trickling down to the children of our nation. See, 10 – 15 years ago, I thought, like many of you thought, that racism and bigotry was something that wouldn’t quite die out, but fade as old country bigots got old and passed away, but we were wrong.
The leaders and purveyors of racism and bigotry in this nation right aren’t old – they’re young. They’re college students and even teenagers in America’s high schools – and not just in the South either – they are emerging from coast to coast. And they are letting us know it.
On Saturday, in Newport Beach, California, which is in Orange County, South of Los Angeles, and in Hoover, Alabama, which is right outside of Birmingham – white teenage high schoolers each had huge parties that were literally centered around their racism and bigotry.
In Newport Beach, California, white students from Newport Harbour High School and Costa Mesa High School literally made Swastika decorations and took photos doing the Nazi salute. And listen to me – these were rich preppy white kids. And it wasn’t 2-3 kids. Dozens of them joined in. And they were so proud, and felt so confident in their actions, that they posted images of their party on social media.
And of course their parents, just like the parents from the next group that I wanna tell you about are saying “this doesn’t represent how my child really feels,” but of course it does. These actions don’t come from nowhere, they come from somewhere – and that place is normally home.
But let me close by telling you about the white students from Spain Park High School in Hoover, Alabama. Just like the students from Southern California, these students were both young men and young women, and they were preppy students of privilege and means.
In the now viral video from Hoover, Alabama, which is, by the way, the same town where police shot and killed EJ Bradford, the young man who was a hero in a mall shooting that took place, but got shot & killed by police because they falsely claimed he was the mall shooter – yeah – this bigoted video came from that same town.
And in it, at first – the white students are saying how glad they are that the Holocaust took place and how awful the world would be if all of those millions of Jews were still alive. And then it took a turn, and students, including the daughter of a prominent car dealer there in Birmingham, began chiming in on how badly they wished the United States would have a new Holocaust, but that instead of Jews, it would be Black folk that were rounded up and killed. And from start to finish they were openly using the N-word, and going on about how a Black Holocaust would be great, but that they would miss us a little in hip hop and sports.
And again – their parents, all embarrassed that the bigotry of their children has been caught on camera, are all saying hey, my kids don’t really think like this, but I don’t buy it and you shouldn’t either.
Hate and hate crimes and hate speech are on the rise in this nation. Last year had more measured hate crimes than any year ever measured. That’s where we are as a nation. And I think it might get worse before it gets better.