Everyone should stop telling us to give Donald Trump a chance
For eight years, president Obama has been the most disrespected president in history. He has been subjected to the kind of vile disrespect that manifests when a certain populace won’t accept that a black man was elected twice as leader of the nation. South Carolina representative Joe Wilson yelled out to the president, “You lie!” during Obama’s healthcare speech to Congress in 2009. Former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer wagged her finger in the president’s face on a tarmac. California politician Marilyn Davenport portrayed Obama as a chimpanzee in an email. In an unprecedented move, House speaker John Boehner refused a request from the president to address a joint session of Congress because a Republican presidential debate was scheduled the same night. And of course, there was the birther movement perpetuated by our country’s very first reality star turned president-elect.
The disrespect described doesn’t scratch the surface of the type of coded and overt racism spewed at both the president and First Lady Michelle Obama from pundits, journalists, and American citizens alike. The type of disrespect that was inarguably microagressions at best, racism at worst, was written off as mere differences in political beliefs. Eight years of racially motivated disrespect against our president has been totally accepted, but now we’re being urged to just give the bigoted, xenophobic, misogynist hate-monger a chance.
Dave Chappelle closed out his opening monologue on Saturday Night Live by announcing that he is going to give Trump a chance. His decision, he says, is in the spirit of remembering Frederick Douglas, who he said was the first black person invited to the White House. He thought about this historical fact while attending President Obama’s Block Party at the White House in a room full of black people. The comedian is reflecting on a type of progress that’s supposed to show how far black people have come.
Oprah Winfrey is hopeful too. The media mogul caught immediate backlash after an interview with Entertainment Tonight’s Brooke Anderson showed up online. “I just saw president-elect Trump with president Obama in the White House and it gave me hope,” she said. She felt Trump had been humbled and that “everybody could take a deep breath now!” She tweeted the same sentiments and has since explained that she should have only spoken for herself. Something tells me she still doesn’t get it.
Others — Mark Cuban, Nikolas Kristof, President Obama — are also willing to give him a chance. Politicians like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and even Hillary Clinton are ready to work with him. That good ol’ reaching across the aisle that Dems love to do but is rarely reciprocated.
Not everyone’s aboard the give-him-a-chance train. Comedians George Lopez (who said, “I’ll give Donald Trump a chance… to suck my ass.”) and John Oliver (who said, “Keep reminding yourself: This is not normal.”) are against the attempts of normalizing a Klan-backed bigot and misogynist as president of the United States, as am I.
The push to move toward healing immediately after a tragedy is one black people know all too well. Whenever we’re still licking our wounds from the perils of systemic racism, we’re asked to dole out hugs and comfort for America. This demand on oppressed people is a sickness for which America never found a cure. Not long after the Charleston church massacre, black folks were being asked about forgiveness. Every time an unarmed black person is killed by police, they are immediately forced onto television to urge peaceful protests. They are asked to condemn acts that are totally separate from the justice the family seeks.
Trump’s win is no different. America wants to get back to business as usual by asking its women, Muslims, Latinos, blacks, and LGBT communities to shoulder the responsibility of hope and trust and gentleness.
Trump’s bigotry was bad enough all on its own. He has emboldened racists to spew bigotry out in the open in myriad ways. Him being faux “saddened” by the hate crimes his rhetoric sparked and urging his supporters to “stop it” is a little too late. In the few days since the election, Trump has named Steve Bannon, a white nationalist and anti-Semite, as his chief strategist and senior counselor. He deserves the same amount of chances he should’ve had to run for president — none.
Normalizing shameful bigotry is America’s M.O. This is the same country that tells us to never forget the tragedy of 9/11, but blacks must get over 245 years of slavery. That prominent people are telling us a xenophobic, misogynist, bigot is someone deserving of a chance is just America carrying on its tradition. The bubble that prominent celebs live in that protects them from the hatred, violence, and policies he could enact is not real life. Trump is dangerous for America.
I will give him the same chance he gave Obama. And by chance, I mean total disrespect the entirety of his hopefully short-lived presidency.
Trump ran a campaign on overturning Roe v. Wade and implementing nationwide stop-and-frisk despite it being found unconstitutional. He wants to build a wall to keep out immigrants and ban all Muslims. Giving him a chance is not an option. Anybody normalizing this should be ignored. Entertainers and the privileged adjacent folks like them should do us all a favor — keep quiet if you have nothing of sound intelligence to offer. Normalizing Trump is not thoughtful nor does it offer anything of value to the current political state of America.