By Shahzad Ramezani Bayani

It would not take long for racist Trump to show his true colors

June 19, 2020 - 12:58

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 the world watched as the first African American took the oath of the highest office in the country. To most of the world it seemed like the ultimate fairy tale ending. A country that had been so overtly ravaged by racism for so long, had finally overcome hate and prejudice. To the naïve bystander, to most of us, who truly have no understanding of the underlying depths of racism, to a world where too often we are ignorant of own racist ways, the cycle of discrimination had broken.

In hindsight, in a country where there seems to be a double standard when it comes to matters of race, it shouldn’t have seemed so easy. In fact, it appears like instead of racing to shed the legacy of slavery, in America it is embraced. Why else are Nazi flags and images of swastikas openly frowned upon, while confederate flags and monuments still harbored as a sign of strength?

Martin Luther King once said, “Riots are the language of the unheard”, and when, names like Eric Garner, Alton Sterling, and Philando Castile appeared on the news, a reminder of the fact that what was thought to be eradicated still lingered, we did not hear. Even though movements like the original “I can’t breathe” ensued and riots broke out, in this region of the world, we, still, did not hear. Perhaps, because it seemed unfathomable that racism could still exist in a country where the president, himself, is a man of color.

With the 2020 elections and the rise of Donald Trump, the initial thought was that someone so obviously xenophobic and racist could never succeed. How could someone like him become the president of the self-proclaimed leader of the free world? The first African American president could not be replaced by such a candidate, not when the main opponents were the would-be first female president and the all liberal Bernie Sanders. During his campaign, the then-candidate, Donald Trump proudly proclaimed his Muslim ban, while his fans cheered, he called Mexicans criminals and rapists and his supporters applauded. But why did it seem like such a leap if one of the main propagators of the central park five injustice, would not stop at alienating Muslims and Mexicans? Yet, much to the dismay of the people in this part of the world, Donald Trump did become president. Once again, the voices of the oppressed went unheard. 

It would not take long for Donald Trump to show his true colors. Just a year into his presidency, he showed his prejudice extended to his own people. The moment the sitting U.S. president said “there were fine people on both sides” in response to the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, he opened the door. No longer did racists feel like they had to hide their true selves. In fact, they were emboldened. African Americans were added to the long list alienated by the administration, which already included Mexicans and Muslims. White supremacists, now had a presidential pardon to walk through the streets with their racism held out as a badge of honor, instead of covering themselves up with white sheets. 

Now, as Black Lives Matters’ protests are being held all over the United States, this part of the world is finally sitting up and taking notice. Whether it is because we, ourselves, have fallen victim to Trump’s xenophobic and racist ways, or perhaps the time for refusing to hear the plight of others has finally come to an end. Either way, to truly honor the movement we must express our support, while simultaneously taking a look at our own ways. It is imperative that we acknowledge when it comes to the question of race, we all need to be more cognizant. We must recognize the question is not only, how do I combat racism in others, but also how have I subconsciously been guilty of racism and how can I do and be better? Perhaps then we can all be heard.

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