Law Makers Must Put Pressure on Trump Over Failures Concerning Race Relations
By: Samantha Martin, Contributor
It is official: the rest of the world is scared of what may happen due to white supremacy in the United States of America, and it is up to our legislature to take action and set things right.
The U.N.’s news website reported Wednesday that the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination had issued a statement under their “early warning and urgent action” policy, stating that “there should be no place in the world for racist white supremacist ideas or any similar ideologies that reject the core human rights principles of human dignity and equality.” This type of warning, used only when there are fears of ethnic or religious conflict in an area, has only ever been placed on Burundi, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Kyrgyzstan and Nigeria before Wednesday’s statement, according to The Guardian.
“We are alarmed by the racist demonstrations, with overtly racist slogans, chants and salutes by white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan, promoting white supremacy and inciting racial discrimination and hatred,” the committee chair, Anastasia Crickley of Ireland, said in a press release detailed on the UN website. “We call on the US Government to investigate thoroughly the phenomenon of racial discrimination targeting, in particular, people of African descent, ethnic or ethno-religious minorities, and migrants.”
President Trump and his administration have been heavily, and, in my opinion, justifiably, criticized for their reaction to the events in Charlottesville. At a press conference just after the events in Charlottesville, Trump stated that he condemned, “in the strongest possible terms, this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.” Many people, myself included, believed this statement did not adequately condemn the Neo-Nazis and white nationalists that started the violence, and instead deflected the blame onto the counter-protesters present at the rally.
Trump has since stuck by these statements. At a press conference on August 15, he defended the statements he had made initially to NPR. “I watched those [videos of the events in Charlottesville] very closely. Much more closely than you people watched it. And you have, you had a group on one side that was bad. And you had a group on the other side that was also very violent.”
Trump also accused the media of attacking him over his statements on Charlottesville at a rally in Phoenix this past Tuesday. “If you want to discover the source of the division in our country, look no further than the fake news and the crooked media, which would rather get ratings and clicks than tell the truth,” Trump ranted at the rally, a statement which was greeted by cheers from the audience.
“It’s time to expose the crooked-media deceptions and challenge the media for their role in fomenting divisions,” he declared. “They are trying to take away our history and our heritage.”
Trump’s statements over the past few weeks have crushed my hope that he will change his tune concerning racism in America and the events in Charlottesville two weeks ago. He seems set on the idea that the anti-fascist movement is as great of a danger to American liberty as the white nationalist movement, a fact that is simply not true.
Many representatives and senators have denounced the white supremacists, either through public speeches or through messages on social media. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-WI, published a Tweet on August 12 stating “Our hearts are with today’s victims. White supremacy is a scourge. This hate and its terrorism must be confronted and defeated.” Senator Kamala Harris, D-CA, posted a photo on her Instagram two days later, the caption of which read “After the tragedy that unfolded this weekend, it’s more important than ever before that we work together to advance the cause of justice and equality. Take action and make it clear that love, justice, equality, and tolerance will defeat racism, white supremacy, violence, and hate.”
Although I do applaud Ryan, Harris, and the other government officials who took the time to publicly denounce white supremacy, I am asking them to call out the Trump administration on its failure to properly handle the current racial and ethnic turmoil in the United States. Racial tension in America have gotten to the point where other nations are afraid of what may happen, and it seems as if the executive branch is going to do nothing about it. It is our legislators’ duty to stand against those who betray American ideals and Constitutional freedoms, and white supremacists and Neo Nazis certainly fit that description. It is also the responsibility of the legislature to call out the president for not standing against these un-American ideals.
If we really want to end white supremacy, it is up to our legislators to take action; our senators and our representatives, to take an active role in the fight.
Photo Credits: By Anthony Crider (Charlottesville “Unite the Right” Rally) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons