By Scott Hinds Lambeth
As I’m sure is the case with many of you, I expected 2018 to begin with donald trump remaining true to his 2017 form by doing and saying outlandish things. However, I didn’t imagine that he could be more vile or divisive than he had proven to be last year. After hearing that the 45th President of the United States referred to the entire continent of Africa as shithole countries while simultaneously insulting the entire populations of Haiti and El Salvador, I’m now convinced that trump’s penchant for racism and hatemongering is limitless.
In as much as I’m sickened by trump’s virulent sentiments about the people of Africa, Haiti and El Salvador, I’m equally dismayed by the response to his statements by members of one of the most prominent black families in the United States. On January 12, 2018, in a televised interview conducted after he appeared with donald trump at a White House event honoring his uncle, Isaac Newton Farris Jr. (the nephew of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the CEO of the MLK Center for Nonviolent Change) said, “I think that president trump is racially ignorant.”
Now… I’m not really sure what the hell “racially ignorant” means. But my confusion notwithstanding, I can’t imagine how anyone believes that a man like donald trump, having lived in the most diverse city in the world for most of his life, doesn’t understand that it’s the epitome of racism to say that Haitians shouldn’t be allowed to come into the country while at the same time asserting that we need to allow more people from countries like Norway to immigrate to the United States. Racially ignorant? It’s like Isaac Newton Farris Jr. thinks trump is a member of some isolated tribe in the Brazilian Rainforest who hasn’t been exposed to people of other races.
|Dr. King niece Alveda King with President Trump|
And just when my angst was almost over from one member of the King family providing cover for trump’s ever so obvious racism, lo and behold another member of the family inexplicably does the same thing. Reverend King’s niece, Alveda King (author of the soon to be released book King Rules), went even further in her defense of trump than did her cousin Isaac. During an interview on Fox and Friends, on the very day that we honor the legacy of Dr. King’s lifelong struggle to bring about equality to all oppressed and marginalize people, Ms. King was unequivocal in her assertion that trump isn’t racist.
Everyone, including Mr. Farris and Ms. King, has the right to defend those they believe to be unjustly maligned. But in the case of Dr. King’s niece and nephew, it defies logic and decency that they, of all people, would attempt to defend donald trump’s indefensibly racist behavior. The fact that they’re willing to make excuses for trump is extremely curious. It makes it difficult for the millions of people who’ve been aggrieved by his words and actions not to ask: How does it benefit these members of the King family to defend a man who has proven many times and in many ways that he is profoundly racist?
When looking back at his many racist comments of last year in conjunction with his housing discrimination efforts against people of color in the 70’s, his rallying to bring back the death penalty for the Central Park 5, who were later proven innocent, as well as the disgusting way in which he launched his political career by attempting to delegitimize the Obama Presidency, it seems impossible to me that in good-faith and good-conscience anyone can conclude that donald trump isn’t a racist. That two members of the King family have done just that is extraordinary… Their doing so raises a question that I wish they would answer: How many racist things must one do or say or believe or exalt to qualify as racist?
As one of the United State’s most prominent families, members of the King family are in the unique position of being able to speak truth to power in a meaningful way. By providing him cover, Isaac Farris Jr. and Alveda King leave us to wonder if their reluctance to call trump a racist is fear based. Are they afraid that calling trump a racist will have a negative financial effect on their respective endeavors that bear their family’s name? Are Isaac Farris Jr. and Alveda King faithful stewards of Dr. King’s dream or are they cashing in on it?
Hinds Lambeth (aka Scotti) is a former Radio Personality and
Program Director. After leaving the radio
business, Scotti became a Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor in his
hometown, Gainesville, Florida. Currently, pursuing a career as an author and freelance writer, Scotti is excited to give
voice to the myriad health, fitness and cultural issues that effect the
black community. Follow him on facebook.com & Twitter @shindslambeth