We’ve Got 45 Problems and…
To quote from Jay-Z is hard for me. The only song I like with him rappin’ is Foxy Brown’s “I’ll Be” (1996), which should tell any Jay-Z fan that I’ve never gotten him or his hold on the rap world. Still, here I am, sort-of-quoting from a Jay-Z production from 2004, “99 Problems.” Except, the real problem number is 45, and the millions of other 45s he represents (hat tip to Laurence Fishburne via The Daily Show for what to call the orange turd-ball). Donald J. Trump and his followers are the epitome of all that ails the US.
Trump’s recent executive order to ban Arab Muslims and Africans with Iranian, Iraqi, Syrian, Sudanese, Yemeni, Somali, and Libyan citizenship is one of the worst attempts to roll back human rights in the US in recent years. But there were complementary responses as well. The burning down of the Islamic Center of Victoria in Texas a day after Trump issued his unconstitutional order. The French-Canadian Alexandre Bissonnette’s terrorist attack on praying Muslims, killing six and wounding eight at their mosque in Quebec City within 72 hours of Trump’s ill-conceived, remorseless, unlawful Muslim ban.
All prove one of the truisms of American (and Canadian) society. The terrorists Americans should worry about the most historically, indirectly through policy, and directly through bullying trolls and violent actions are heterosexual White males. No border wall, no Muslim Ban, no immigration quotas, no guest worker policy, no War on Terror, no War on Drugs, no stop and frisk, no abortion ban, no gerrymandering, no EPA gag order, no TPP withdrawal, no NAFTA renegotiation, will protect us from this mob of not-so-random terror. Their leader is 45. And like a man with a Colt .45, Trump is intent on asserting his and their superiority, through institutional policies and our deaths, if necessary.
If someone reading is a heterosexual White male, please note that if you are offended, you should be. Not because of my words. You should only be offended if you recognize the lethal privilege that many White males enjoy. That as police officers, they (and, with greater frequency, officers of color) get to arrest, beat, maim, and murder, and with few or no consequences to face. As vigilantes, often with lesser charges and less jail time. It helps these White males that the media attempts to give a full retrospective on the life of a Dylann Roof, a Michael Dunn, a George Zimmerman, a James Holmes, a Jared Lee Loughner, and so many others. Their terrorism becomes an issue of their alleged mental illness, or a “young man” somehow “losing his way.” Americans are always supposed to understand why the archetype of the master race glitches, as if their psychological and racial privilege isn’t the real culprit. As rapists, White males can expect the media to treat them with kid gloves, to the point of calling a rapist like Brock Turner the “ex-Stanford swimmer.” His rape act was “very objectionable,” but of course, the Brock Turners of America are also completely redeemable. At least, that’s what White males (and many White females) would say.
Please recognize that for Native American tribes from coastal Virginia to Athabascan central Alaska, White males have been the ultimate terrorists. White males led the charge to spill Native American blood on every acre that is the US. Black African sweat and blood runs deep in the red clay soils of Georgia and the deep brown dirt of Mississippi. The crimes within slavery are too numerous to list here, but the reduction of Native American numbers from at least 10 million in 1600 to about 250,000 by 1900 is evidence by itself. White men reduced wild buffalo populations from 30 million to 300 in 30 years to starve American Indians, end their ways of life, and force them onto the marginal lands that are for many their reservations today.
Policies to provide oligarchic power to White males is all part of this history. Andrew Jackson’s “Age” did more than give non-propertied adult White males the right to vote. It gave ordinary, non-slave-owning White males the right to oppress others, legally. The Hayes-Tilden compromise of 1876 allowed treasonous Confederate White males back into power, despite their anti-Black equality and lynching ways. All in the name of unifying the country. Woodrow Wilson segregated the federal civil service in 1913, to all but exclude Blacks from serving as no more than street sweepers, domestic servants, and doormen. White men led race riots to burn down Black homes and businesses in Memphis, East St. Louis, Houston, Harlem, Washington, DC, Chicago, Detroit, Tulsa, Rosewood, Florida, and so many other places between 1866 and 1943. Congress passed the 1917, 1921, and 1924 immigration laws to set up quotes to exclude all but White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs) from large-scale immigration to the US.
In more recent times, the mass shootings and bombings also belong to White males. Charles Whitman, the Texas Tower Shooter, killed 16 (14 during his University of Texas at Austin rampage) and wounded 31 (one of whom died from his injuries in 2001) before police killed him in August 1966. Need I even go into detail about Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995? Or about Columbine? What about the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, or Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012?
But hey, 45 wants to protect Americans from potential terrorist threats, no? If 45 and his White male supporters and like-minded sycophants want to protect all Americans, they need to look in the mirror. They should consider doing “extreme vetting” on any White male whose Twitter avatar is a trolling egg, or whose Facebook page includes swastikas, or any White male whom voted for Trump. This is a “White man’s country,” after all. At least, that’s what these people keep saying.