“We Can But You Can’t,” The Art of American Racist Hypocrisy

During the Trump Presidency the constant refrain that I often heard from pundits and members of my own family was, “If Obama did that……..” insert whatever Trump transgression after the word ‘that’ and I’m sure it was also proceeded by, “You see Black people have to be twice as good but still get twice as much sh*t, for lesser transgressions.” My family and some friends are right about Black people in the macro and Obama in the micro. Lets look at the micro for a moment, it’s true Obama got more shit for wearing a tan suit than Trump has gotten for…..for….for, F*CKING ANYTHING. He, Trump that is, has an addiction and his addiction is getting away with sh*t. Let me repeat that again Donald J. Trump is addicted to getting away with sh*t. And part of his high, if you will isn’t the “getting away with it”. It’s getting over on those that enable and those that let him do so. We’ll come back to that. Back to the macro, the refrain, “If Black people did that…” is from a greater cultural trope in the Black American experience, that I often heard/hear, “If that had been a Black Man…” I personally believe that that is a form of psychological terrorism to keep Black People in their place. Especially poor Black People, now you may think that I’m being hyperbolic, but I’m not. Policies in America have been written and are being written to keep Black People; especially poor Black People in their place. So if you believe that you have a place in a so called free society, yet there are places you can’t go, places where you may get shot during a traffic violation, and you avoid said places, then you have been/are being psychologically terrorized.

More often than not we associate terror with violence or intimidation, and most of the time when we hear the word terrorism we think of or recall extremely violent acts, 9/11 for example. Some of us who are old enough will never forget planes flying into the twin towers, and the towers crumbling to the ground as if they were models, like the technical and professional demolition of two buildings. Don’t worry I’m not going into conspiracy mode. But I always thought and wondered about how “uniformly” the buildings fell after they burned for a while. And just as many of us who saw those terrorist acts on 9/11, will not forget said acts. Many of us will not forget what happened on January 6th, 2021, from here on referred to as 1/6. On a side note and again not going all conspiratorial but isn’t it interesting one in six Americans go hungry, and Wealthy Americans pay only one-sixth the rate of their 1953 counterparts. Forgive me I digress.

On January 6th, 2021 I saw a terrorist act, but I’m a Black guy born, in Africa, who grew up at points of his life, in Harlem and South Central Los Angeles, at the apex of the crack epidemic, to a mother who was a poet and astrologer, who used to hiss at Ronald Reagan whenever she saw him on t.v. What do I know? Don’t let this obscure, wannabe intellectual blog fool you. I know a little. I knew that the January 6th, 2021 resurection was rooted in fear, anger, privilege and most of all racism. The first three you could see just watching the insurrection, the last one, racism may have been obscured. As a matter a fact a friend of mine watching the same inserrection that I saw said, “it’s to early to talk about race.” If a man shows up at a “riot” on the capitol with a “Camp Auschwitz” it’s not too F*CKING early to talk about race and or Hitler for that matter. I’m veering again, I apologize. As I watched the rioters in real time on 1/6, I would like to say that I knew or believed that they, the “rioters”, would not succeed. Much like 9/11 there was the state of disbelief, but unlike 9/11 I didn’t believe that George W. Bush would benefit from the destruction of those towers, regardless of what all the conspiracy theorist said or wrote. However I did believe that someone would benefit if Nancy Pelosi’s, blood was spilled on the capitol floor. Not only would the insurrectionist succeed, who obviously thought they would, Donald J. Trump would succeed by halting the peacful transfer of power. So he and I were both watching in real time but niether of us saw Democracy crumble perfectly the way the towers crumbled on 9/11. However one of us wanted to see that, one of us had the power to call up the National Guard to not let 1/6 go too far, and reluctantly one of us left the White House. That’s always bothered me, if Trump actually thought he won why in the f*ck didn’t he just stay like a squatter on Shameless.

To be clear had the insurrectionist succeded that day at hanging Pelosi or Pence for that matter, Trump would have stayed at the White House and in power. I would argue it was part of the plan. Remember when I said I saw fear, anger, privilege, and rascism on 1/6. So did Trump and he didn’t just see it then, he saw it in America. As a child, or in the era of the Central Park Five, and during the Obama administration, Trump always saw it. That’s something Trump has in common with conscious Black people. Both have always seen those things because they’ve always been there. Let’s focus on privilege for a moment, especially white male privilege. There can be no historical argument against the fact that America was built on white male privilege. Hey aboriginal’s you think this land is yours, f*ck you it’s ours now. Hey Africans you think that you were born in your country to live a happy and productive life, f*ck you we’re going to take you to this other place, where we took the land from these other people and make you work it for free for hundreds of years and then maybe we’ll let you vote, unless you threaten our white male privilege.

When white male privilege is threatened directly and white privilege is threatened indirectly the privileged have a tendency to lose their minds, consciously, or not. Especially those that are so invested in it. When you could call a grown man boy or rape your Black maid and have children with her and do everything in your power to deny Black people rights, that’s privilege. See Strom Thurmond. Now I know every white person in America doesn’t want to go back to the days of calling grown Black men boys or having a Black man hung because he whistled at a white woman, but there is a subset of white people, namely Trump supporters, that wants to know exactly where the line of demarcation is. Am I saying that that line is drawn where white people can get away with shit that Black people can’t. Yes and no, but mostly yes.

There are two fundamental questions I ask myself every time I see video of the insurrection on 1/6 and they are, ‘What in the f*ck were they thinking, and did they really think that they could get away with this?’ The answer to both of those questions is absolutely. Then you may ask yourself why? For one simple reason the white male has always gotten away with sh*t in America, it’s the American way. For some that axiom is starting to erode like the glaciers on the North Pole, for some it’s happening too quickly and for others it’s happening too slowly. What does any of this have to do with art of American racist hypocrisy?

I know you see it but just in case you don’t I’ll flesh it out a little bit.

Of course there are many examples of White American racists getting away with straight up violence and terrorism, be it physical or psychological, and that American “ritual” continues. However I think this picture captures the totality of my argument, and it’s not the charred body that is the most striking, it is the faces of those in the picture. The pride, the joy, the gleeful curiosity, the staunch indignation, and on any of these faces is there any remorse. Now you can go to Black Past and read the wonderful contribution by Alonzo Smith, and some of you may argue about the details and circumstances. None of you can look at the picture above and argue against what I see on those faces, those are the same looks I saw on the faces of the insurrectionists on January 6th, 2021. White male racist believed then as they do now that they can take the law into their own hands, f*ck it, they can take America into their own hands. Mold it, shape it, so they always feel comfortable, in their state of white authority. And guess what, nothing can be done about it. This is why the GOP is trying to deny 1/6 ever happened, or why Donald J. Trump will never be held accountable by the GOP. They are invested in the hypocrisy not for the simple fact that hypocrisy is at the foundation of America, hypocrisy has kept them with in the realm of power but more than that it has kept them from being held accountable. And there is nothing more powerful than never having to be held accountable.

When Donald J. Trump was watching the insurrection as it unfolded into mass chaos, I’m sure he was watching it like I watched the twin towers fall, in complete and utter awe. However he wanted to see something more near and dear to his person. “White people getting away with it, and by default Trump himself would get away with it, declare Marshall Law and remain in power, isn’t that the American way. I don’t think Trump much like the insurrectionists, or his other followers thought it all the way through. The blue print was flawed but the architects are still at the drawing board. For the simple fact if and when Trump and the insurrectionists are held accountable the American game changes. The Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy’s know this, that white racist hypocrisy is more important to them than governing, because symbols matter. At this point that’s all they have and one could argue that’s all he was, Donald J. Trump was/is the greatest symbol of white male racist hypocrisy and a true symbol can’t be held accountable.

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