The Condition of White America in 2019

Words by Kokayi Nosakhere

On October 2, I distinctly remember the Jean Family being lauded as the epitome of spiritual force and power, by choosing to publicly forgive police officer Amber Guyger’s killing of their son and brother, Botham Jean. Their exemplery display of grace showed us that it is possible to rise above the emotional pain of a loved one’s death and not have it “traumatize” us. 

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The public forgiveness act of the Jean Family towards Amber Guyger

We saw a “free” Black family, or, better stated, we saw a Black family that we could clearly state was not contributing to racial conflict. And, in seeing the Jean Family not contribute to the conflict, it gave us a sigh of relief.

Part of the relief, I imagine, lies in the fact, in 2019, race and racism are seriously charged and contentious issues in the political sphere. To see a Black family choose to not engage race and racism means that this particular conflict came to a close in the most peaceful manner possible. It is the Dr. King ideal. The Jean Family did what we, in America, collectively want to happen. We want to just see the masses of Americans organically grow, dropping the idea of race and racism from – themselves – and begin treating each other as human beings.

Now, the question becomes: Can we do it? Can you – and I – choose to rise above our personal pain and embrace the person(s) whom we believe have seriously wronged us, or are actively wronging us?

Is the same energy concentrated upon Amber Guyger being turned, by you and me, towards the Trump Supporters – in OUR family. Are we so turned off by the content of their speech we do not see it for what it is: a desperate cry for help. Instead, do their words and emotions lands in you and I as “hate?”

I have, and extensively use, social media. I have seen the volume of critique of/for Trump Supporters, especially for Trump Supporters choosing to just be themselves. What I am asking is: Have you actually listened to Trump Supporters? When I say “listen,” I do not mean, listen in order to make a counterargument to the content of their rhetoric. I mean, have you ever listened to a Trump supporter?

Let’s examine that one politician in Tennessee, who stated that “white men” are losing rights – everyday. Whether we agree with him or not, the actual fact that he stated this idea out loud is what we really need to work with.

Ask yourself: Did you listen to how his comments landed with Trump Supporters that you know? Did you hear them silently whisper, “Finally! Someone is brave enough to say what needs to be said and try to protect us.”

That is what I heard.

Whether we believe it or not, the Tennessee-based Warren Hurst, does not feel safe.  Nor is he alone in his emotional current. Other Republican lawmakers feel the same anguish. 

Remember the “direct action” stunt last week (Oct. 23) over the impeachment probe? I am amazed at such a glaring display of angst. The Republican lawmakers, who have not protested anything the Left criticizes is against standards of human decency, like retaining children at the southern border, chose to fight over the impeachment inquiry.

My dear fellow Americans, that is called: fear. 

Neither Warren Hurst in Tennessee or Rep. Matt Gaetz see where there is an opportunity for themselves to self-actualize. Instead, they see society cheering them – white males – being replaced. The cheers across social media after last year’s mid-term congressional election where more women were elected than ever before lands as if American society is better off without white males being 1) in leadership or 2) in certain rooms/spaces. White males not being somewhere is a measurement of success in their minds.

Those of us who disagree with Trump Supporters struggle to view America through the lens that a Trump Supporter does.

Think about it. It is 2019, an HBO series called The Watchmen, based on a comic book, just taught large swaths of “White America” about the 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma Race Riot. This is an event I grew up with. However, I am a Black male living in America.

The fact large swaths of White America never heard of the Red Summer or the Tulsa Race Riot tells us a lot about the state of White America. For going on three generations, white children have grown up with little to no knowledge of what life was like for those who were alive during the Civil Rights Movement.

Mind you, they know intimate details about Nazi Germany, yet the logical conclusion that Donald J. Trump was born into a Nazi Germany-like system called segregation escapes the white child’s mind.

The 2019 White child may know a lot about apartheid and the struggle Nelson Mandela led. Yet, again, it does not click that the exact same system was in play in America.

This is a fundamental caw in the throat of those who are in need oa a Jean Family hug. Do you remember the reaction to Black Lives Matter? It did not matter how many videos were shown of Black bodies being murdered by the police, a coherent national strategy driven by those who know how to heal, i.e. mental health professionals, has yet to manifest concerning police brutality. 

This is true, despite volumes of video evidence American police are able to bring in white male mass murderers, some with armed weapons in their hands, without killing them. Where is the resistance to police being trained to treat all Americans in this manner – as if they deserve the hug Amber Guyger received? Believe me, it isn’t because the mental health professionals do not know what to do, or police departments do not have the means to implement their solutions.

I suggest the reason this coherent management strategy escapes the national conversation is because such strategy requires the majority of White America to acknowledge America for what it is. In 1946, Donald J. Trump was not born into a meritocracy, which rewarded excellence from anyone, like we believe is possible for us in 2019 America. 

The current president was born into white supremacy, not a shining city on the top of a hill like President Ronald Reagan opined.  White supremacy was interrupted by the Civil Rights Movement. Nor was it interrupted peacefully. It was interrupted by those who are the victims of white supremacy choosing to stop it with their own hands. White America was not on track, by any measurable standards, to growing out of White supremacy independent of Black America’s agitation and refusal to participate in European assimilation.

This is what Hurst is mourning. This is what Trump Supporters heard in the boos on Sunday (Oct. 27) night: They want to replace us in America with those who do not look like us or care about us. 

They are all in need of a healing hug.

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