“Un-American Propaganda”??? Seriously???

Just a few short years ago, this nation seemed like a sane place.  Sure, we had problems … plenty of them.  But we always thought there were systems and safeguards in place to keep any single person or any branch of government from overstepping their bounds.  Never did we dream, say back in 2010, ten years ago, that one person could make such a power grab that the norms would all be shattered within a single administration.

Today, we realize what fools we were … or at least the majority of us realize it.  A madman was elected with a minority of the vote, and nothing has been right ever since.  The Constitution that every president and member of Congress takes an oath to uphold has been shredded by a president who knows no boundaries, who has been enabled by his sycophants in Congress, in his administration, and yes, even in the Courts.  Where are those ‘checks and balances’?  They are only as good as the people who are tasked with enforcing them.

The latest thing to send me into a fit of temper is Trump’s order to Russell Vought, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, to cease the government’s racial sensitivity training.  Trump calls such training “un-American propaganda”.  That’s right, folks … it is un-American to try to teach people not to discriminate, to try to remove the systemic racism that exists within our government and law enforcement community.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  🤬

Does this man understand that Black people are citizens of this nation with the same rights accorded to white people???  Does he understand that we have a huge problem in this nation with racism running rampant throughout our police departments?  Does he realize that we are on the brink of a race war that he will have been responsible for starting?

Trump’s former attorney and ‘fixer’, the man who, for a price, made Trump’s problems such as sexual liaisons just disappear, testified under oath to Congress in February 2019 …

“I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing Mr. Trump’s illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience. I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist. He is a conman. He is a cheat.”


He is a racist.  Was there ever any doubt?  Cohen went on to cite some examples …

“He once asked me if I could name a country run by a black person that wasn’t a ‘shithole.’ This was when Barack Obama was president of the United States. While we were once driving through a struggling neighborhood in Chicago, he commented that only black people could live that way. He told me that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid.”

Four decades ago, Trump and his father were sued by the federal government, which accused the Trumps of discriminating against people of colour trying to rent the Trump company’s apartments. Donald Trump was also sued for his mistreatment of black workers in his casinos and, according to a former hotel executive, once said “laziness is a trait in blacks.”

Then there was the Central Park Five case.  A group of African American and Hispanic teens named Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Kharey Wise happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time back in 1989 when a white female jogger was attacked and raped.  The five teens were arrested, tried and convicted on false evidence and coerced confessions, and they served prison sentences until 2002 when the real assailant confessed to the crime.  Donald Trump spent $85,000 placing the ads in local papers calling for the five teens to be executed.  Even though the five young men were exonerated, Trump has since repeatedly reiterated the guilty verdict of the men and has refused to back down or admit his mistake.  What if the teens had been white and the victim Black?  I don’t think Trump would have had a word to say about it.

Yes, Donald Trump is a racist, but are we going to allow him to make this nation even more racist than it already is???  How many more George Floyds, Breonna Taylors, Botham Jeans, Atatiana Jeffersons, and Jacob Blakes do we want?  How many more will it take until the thus-far peaceful Black Lives Matter protests turn into an all-out race war?  We have a serious problem with all forms of bigotry in this nation, but particularly racism, and the very person who should be dealing with it, trying to find solutions for the problem and bring the people of this nation together,  is instead pouring fuel on the fire.  It should NOT be his decision to cancel the training that might … just might be a start toward a better understanding between the people of this nation.

Trump has assembled a long record of comment on issues involving African Americans as well as Mexicans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, women, and people with disabilities.  He is not only a racist, but a misogynist, a homophobe, an Islamophobe, and more.  This is a diverse nation with people of every nationality, religion, and ethnicity.  That the nation is led by a person who cannot tolerate any who aren’t white, Christian and male is the ultimate hypocrisy.  Will the people of this nation give him another four years to further our global reputation as a racist nation?  Remember, my friends, we will all carry the stigma of that label, not just those who voted for Trump.  Is this really how we want to be viewed?  Is this really a nation we even want to live in?

Another of Bigotry’s Ugly Faces

This has been the most divisive year in the history of our nation since the Civil Rights Era.  We have experienced an upswing of all the phobias and ‘-isms’, such as racism, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny, and many others.  Will it end with the final outcome of the election in three weeks?  Will it magically end on midnight, 31 December?  No, of course it will not.  It may be years or even decades before we recover from the effects of this election.

African-Americans, Latinos and Middle-Easterners are not the only ones to feel the sting and slap of racism in the U.S.  Although not as prevalent as some forms of racism, Asians still experience racial discrimination and have noticed an increase in recent months.  Here is a letter from a young Chinese-American, Michael Luo,  who is a Harvard graduate and an editor for the New York Times.  The letter speaks for itself:

Dear Madam:

Maybe I should have let it go. Turned the other cheek. We had just gotten out of church, and I was with my family and some friends on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. We were going to lunch, trying to see if there was room in the Korean restaurant down the street. You were in a rush. It was raining. Our stroller and a gaggle of Asians were in your way.

But I was, honestly, stunned when you yelled at us from down the block, “Go back to China!”

I hesitated for a second and then sprinted to confront you. That must have startled you. You pulled out your iPhone in front of the Equinox and threatened to call the cops. It was comical, in retrospect. You might have been charged instead, especially after I walked away and you screamed, “Go back to your fucking country.”

“I was born in this country!” I yelled back.

It felt silly. But how else to prove I belonged?

This was not my first encounter, of course, with racist insults. Ask any Asian-American, and they’ll readily summon memories of schoolyard taunts, or disturbing encounters on the street or at the grocery store. When I posted on Twitter about what happened, an avalanche of people replied back to me with their own experiences.

But for some reason — and, yes, it probably has to do with the political climate right now — this time felt different.

Walking home later, a pang of sadness welled up inside me.

You had on a nice rain coat. Your iPhone was a 6 Plus. You could have been a fellow parent in one of my daughters’ schools. You seemed, well, normal. But you had these feelings in you, and, the reality is, so do a lot of people in this country right now.

Maybe you don’t know this, but the insults you hurled at my family get to the heart of the Asian-American experience. It’s this persistent sense of otherness that a lot of us struggle with every day. That no matter what we do, how successful we are, what friends we make, we don’t belong. We’re foreign. We’re not American. It’s one of the reasons that Fox News segment the other day on Chinatown by Jesse Watters, with the karate and nunchucks and broken English, generated so much outrage.

My parents fled mainland China for Taiwan ahead of the Communist takeover. They came to the United States for graduate school. They raised two children, both of whom went to Harvard. I work at The New York Times. Model minority, indeed.

Yet somehow I still often feel like an outsider.

And I wonder if that feeling will ever go away. Perhaps, more important, I wonder whether my two daughters who were with me today will always feel that way too.

Yes, the outpouring of support online was gratifying.

But, afterward, my 7-year-old, who witnessed the whole thing, kept asking my wife, “Why did she say, ‘Go back to China?’ We’re not from China.”

No, we’re not, my wife said, and she tried to explain why you might have said that and why people shouldn’t judge others.

We’re from America, she told my daughter. But sometimes people don’t understand that.

I hope you do now.


Michael Luo

That letter was published last week, October 9th, and since then the response from other Asian-Americans sharing their own stories, has been overwhelming.  Clearly many others related to the incident.  Why is open racism against Asian-Americans suddenly on the rise?  An article by Distinguished Professor of Law at UC Hastings, Dr. Frank H. Wu may answer some of the questions surrounding this issue.

According to Dr. Wu, even though some Asian-Americans can trace their ancestry all the way back to the Mayflower, they are perceived as perpetual foreigners.  The establishment of Japanese internment camps during World War II, where fully 2/3 of the Japanese-Americans interred were actually born in the U.S. and were American citizens, added to the ‘anti-Asian’ sentiment. Dr. Wu also posits that since the Civil Rights Era and subsequent legislation, discourse and awareness has focused primarily on African-Americans, while Asian-Americans are largely forgotten or overlooked.  “In a contest of suffering, their grievance cannot be as great — never mind that their suffering might well be real. It is dismissed in the abstract. Being neither black nor white means not counting, not quite, as minority or majority.”

Racism, as I have said before, is alive and well in the United States.  It always has been, but not, since the 1960s, to the extent we are seeing today. While Donald Trump has not openly appealed to the masses to discriminate against Asian-Americans, he has indeed incited his followers to hatred toward African-Americans, Hispanics, and Middle-Easterners.  The rhetoric in this election has turned into a contest about the very meaning of American-ness, and about the anxieties of a country learning to define ‘being white’ as being American.  No group should be stigmatized because of ancestry, heritage, race or culture.  Just because we do not hear as much about Asian-American racism does not mean it doesn’t exist.  Obviously, it does.

In February, members of New York’s congressional delegation sent a letter to the New York Police Department (NYPD) expressing concern over what they say is a rise in crime against Asian Americans. “The rise in crime against the Asian-American community is very troubling,”  said U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), who represents Queens where one-in-four residents is of Asian descent.

Last Thursday, Fox News aired a segment referred to in Mr. Luo’s letter, in which a correspondent conducted a series of mocking interviews of Asian-Americans in New York City’s Chinatown that critics said trafficked in stereotypes and veered into racism. Mayor Bill de Blasio called the segment “vile.” And Councilman Peter Koo said in a statement: “Passing off this blatantly racist television segment as ‘gentle fun’ not only validates racist stereotypes, it encourages them. The entire segment smacks of willful ignorance by buying into the perpetual foreigner syndrome. How is it, that in New York City in 2016, this is still O.K.? Short answer: It’s not, and it is unfortunate that Fox News needs to be reminded of that.”  This is a new low even for Fox News, but more to the point, it is a sign of the times … a very ugly sign.

Prior winner of the Idiot of the Week award, Ann Coulter, however could not resist spreading doubt about Luo’s story, writing in an incendiary tweet that he lied about the whole encounter: “Me after church just now: I hope Michael Luo doesn’t lie about a woman telling him to go back to China again.”  Now I remember why she was an Idiot!

The election will be over in some 20 days, and it is to be hoped that Trump and his hate-spewing will no longer be the main topic of discussion in the media.  But the scars of this year will remain for a long time, I fear.  Let us, as humans, rise above the rubble that will recede into the annals of history eventually.  Let us remember the principles on which our nation was founded.  Let us seek to regain the kindness, the caring for our fellow human beings that we once had, regardless of ethnicity, religion, race, or any other of the meaningless criteria.  Let us once again ‘live and let live’, let us re-discover our humanity.