Gingrich who linked Obama to Kenya is talking about racism. Photo: Wikipedia
The recent horrific video of a White boy being beaten by three Black teenagers, and a 24-year-old, evoked strong and swift denunciations from White politicians and those in the right-wing press. The ugly hypocrisy is that this isn’t the only video many of them have seen illustrating a hate crime in America.
These are people who practice selective outrage only seeing racism when it suits them.
Politicians, especially Republicans, who make every excuse when daily hate crimes are being inflicted upon Black Americans—by racist police officers, some of whom the FBI tells us are affiliated with hate groups like the KKK—were quick to weigh in on this horrible assault. Some pretended to care about the state of race relations in this country.
If they truly cared about dealing with racism, why then do so many, primarily in the Republican Party, do everything in their power to stroke fears—as was done so successfully by the race-baiting, misogynist soon-to-be president?
The beating of the 18-year-old White teenager, now viral, was absolutely deplorable and the perpetrators must be punished accordingly. To make the case that this is a hate crime, much has was made about the Black assailants’ repeated chant of “Fuck Donald Trump” and “Fuck White people.”
It’s significant that they actually referred to Trump during their heinous attack. Because of the resurgent racism that has exploded into the open since the election of President Barack Obama and the ascendancy of Donald Trump –which was accompanied by his incendiary race-baiting and condoning the ejection of Black people from his campaign rallies, including a Black supporter of his in one instance– it’s not far-fetched to believe we will have more racial incidents like this in the next four years.
Indeed, there have been many racist attacks similar to this during the toxic, bigoted campaign of Donald Trump—but many of these incidents were perpetrated against Blacks, Latinos, Muslims and other non-White people. There were no similar levels of denunciations from the people most vocal today.
These four Black assailants will surely be punished as authorities have already made clear. 18-year-olds Jordan Hill, Tesfaye Cooper and Brittany Covington — as well as Tanishia Covington, 24, have all been denied bail by the judge.
“I’m wondering as I’m hearing this, ‘Where was the sense of decency?’” Judge Kuriakos Ciesil asked, in denying bail for the four charged. “How do you put someone out there who has allegedly committed such horrible offenses against a person?”
This attack would be horrific even if this victim wasn’t disabled. There can be no justification for brutalizing innocent people—especially, those who are most vulnerable. However, the hypocritical irony here is: right now a cold-blooded videotaped murderer is walking the streets of Chicago.
If those who brutalize the vulnerable are denied bail, then how can bail be given to someone who used his position as a policeman to commit murder? I am talking about Officer Jason Van Dyke who murdered Laquan McDonald—by shooting him in the back as he was walking away from police and presenting absolutely no danger to him.
After suppressing the video for months, Chicago authorities were forced to release the damning video—which, in effect, is a snuff film showing this monster killing another human being. Yet, Van Dyke was granted bail.
Oftentimes, whenever Black Americans decry the violence and killings at the hands of police, they’re often faced with rhetoric about “all of the killings in Black communities” as if they should justify killing of an innocent Black person by police.
As Professor Michael Eric Dyson once pointed out—to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani—whenever, Black people perpetrate crimes they are prosecuted and convicted; unlike those police who murder Black people with impunity.
America’s mass incarceration concentration camps are used as a counterweight to derail full Black freedom. These Black defendants will be punished for their crimes and will join the half of America’s prison population that is already Black. But where is the justice for all those who’ve been brutalized and murdered by racist White cops? Where’s the outrage for those cases?
In this case, the word “reprehensible” was used by police and politicians. Why can’t they call police brutality and murder of Black people “reprehensible” as well? Why is it when police brutalize and murder Black people that politicians, police and police apologists never seriously talk about holding those who abuse their power accountable?
During this historically hideous campaign of Donald Trump, where he used bigotry, racism and sexism to maximum effect, we saw several instances of Black people being racially attacked at his rallies. But many of the same people who denied that those attacks were driven by Trump’s politics of prejudice now talk about hate crimes in the aftermath of this particular Chicago assault.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tweeted after the attack that “anti-white racism has to be opposed as firmly as anti-Black racism” while saying the attackers “must be punished severely enough to signal others this racist behavior is totally unacceptable.” Would it not be commendable if he could find a spot in his heart that could warm enough and cause him to similarly tweet after an outrageous incident such as when Officer Michael Slager shot Walter Scott multiple times in the back in cold blood?
Mr. Gingrich’s statements is filled with illusions many White people like to fool themselves about. First of all, in which America is “anti-Black racism” firmly opposed? In the Republican Party, where Gingrich is a leader, have they not been using race-baiting politics, like the “Southern Strategy” for decades to achieve their political goals?
This is the same Gingrich who called President Obama the “Food Stamp president” while also saying President Obama engages in “Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior.” No wonder Gingrich didn’t denounce those Republicans who were pushing and promoting the Birther nonsense to delegitimize President Obama because they knew it would play well with their base.
The soon-to-be president, led that charge and Gingrich was right there with him—claiming Trump’s championing of the Birther lie wasn’t racist but was caused by the “radicalism” of Obama’s views.
Let’s not kid ourselves, one of the primary reasons Trump—besides being enabled by a craven corporate media—is about to slither into the White House, is because of his bigotry-laden campaign that ended with him scapegoating Mexicans and Muslims, but started with his racist Birther attacks on the nation’s first Black president.
Can we point to any prominent Republican that speaks out forcefully against racism?
Now in Washington we have the confirmation hearings of Senator Jeff Sessions, slated to be the next attorney general. This is the same Sessions that a Republican-controlled Senate refused to confirm for a federal judgeship, in 1986, when Ronald Reagan was in the White House. His nomination to be a federal judge was undermined when his racist history became the main focus of those nomination hearings.
What makes Sessions hideous is not just his racist comments, like when he said “I thought those guys were OK until I learned they smoked pot,” referring to the K.K.K. or, his apparent penchant for calling Black men “boys.” The real racism of Sessions are things like his malicious prosecution of the Marion Three—seemingly done because these Civil Rights activists dared to mobilize Blacks in Alabama to vote. Sessions’ speeches and cordial connections to hate groups have also been highlighted by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Politicians and those in the press who talk with self-righteous indignation about the Chicago assault as a hate crime need to pay attention to the hate crimes being perpetually perpetrated upon Black Americans by those who wear badges—including the ones the FBI says are connected to hate groups.
Will politicians finally denounce hate crimes committed against Black people and other non-White groups—especially, as the Trump era begins.
I wouldn’t hold my breath judging by history.