Trump is Not First and Won’t be Last
As much as I am against the reelection of President Donald Trump, I have to be fair and balanced as a journalist.
Although he is far from a decent human being, he is not the first racist President of the United States.
America built itself on racism, slavery and oppression, so the question should not be which presidents were racist.
Instead, the question should be which presidents were not racist?
Many past presidents came from affluent backgrounds and prestigious families with generational wealth.
For the most part, many wealthy White families that had riches in the 18th and 19th century owned slaves.
In his book “12 Years a Slave,” Solomon Northup wrote that he experienced various types of slave owners and overseers.
Some slave owners and overseers fit the adjective of a “nigger breaker,” which meant they believed that beating a slave to a bloody pulp would ensure submission and hard work in the fields and in the house.
On the other hand, some slave owners thought that the institution of slavery was bad.
However, they believed that it was beyond their control to change the laws of this country.
Therefore, they tried to make the best of a bad situation (which is horrible way to describe the enslavement of a people).
Many slave owners believed that if they treated their slaves in a halfway decent manner, the slaves would be more willing to work hard for them.
Furthermore, if a slave were not severely injured by an overseer’s whip, they would physically be capable of more work.
The fact that some slave owners treated slaves better than others is why some ex-slaves stayed at the plantation after the Emancipation Proclamation to work as sharecroppers.
And although all slave owners were not created equal, in order to own African-American slaves, a person has to have some racist views deep down somewhere.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that “silence is betrayal” when it came to racial equality and civil rights for African-Americans.
King said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
If slave owners, no matter how humane they claimed to be, did not actively seek to end the enslavement of African-Americans, then history has no choice but to throw them unto the trash heap of racists and bigots.
History.com reported that at least 12 former presidents owned slaves at some point in their lifetime, which is over 25 percent of all presidents.
Furthermore, eight former presidents owned slaves during their presidency.
All of the early presidents, except for President John Adams and his son President John Quincy Adams, owned slaves.
As many African-Americans know, slaves helped build the White House.
Therefore, the highest office in the land was built on racism, literally.
President George Washington owned approximately 300 slaves at his Mount Vernon plantation.
Our third commander-in-chief, President Thomas Jefferson owned 175 slaves despite calling the enslavement of African-Americans an “assemblage of horrors.”
Former Presidents James Madison, James Monroe and Andrew Jackson kept several dozen slaves apiece.
Even eighth President Martin van Buren owned a slave early in his career.
His successor, former President William Henry Harrison inherited several slaves.
After our ninth president, former Presidents John Tyler, James K. Polk and Zachary Taylor from the great state of Louisiana all had slaves at some point in their lifetime.
President Taylor was the last president to own slaves while living in the White House, owning 15o people on his plantations in Louisiana, Kentucky and Mississippi.
The last presidents to own slaves at all were former Presidents Andrew Johnson and Ulysses S. Grant.
Presidents Johnson and Grant worked with former President Abraham Lincoln to abolish slavery.
But all of the other aforementioned presidents did not make the abolishment of slaves that much of a priority during their time at the White House.
Fortunately, the Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery.
But unfortunately, the Emancipation Proclamation did not abolish racists working in the Oval Office.
One of my favorite presidents, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965.
But prior to his epiphany, which included him saying, “we shall overcome” in a presidential address; President Johnson was a known racist.
Former President John F. Kennedy dragged his feet on civil rights legislation.
President Kennedy infamously skipped the March on Washington in 1963 because he thought it would be disastrous.
He only invited King and other civil rights leaders to the White House for a phot0-op after the event proved to be a monumental success.
Former President Richard Nixon was no fan of the Blacks either.
His famous law-in-order approach to the 1968 presidential election was just code word to stomp out the Black militancy in the streets led by activists like Stokely Carmichael, Amiri Baraka and H. Rap Brown.
Former President Ronald Reagan can be heard on tape with President Nixon saying racist things about African-Americans too.
And anyone who does not think President Reagan had any racism in his bones should research his history with the Black Panther Party and his reluctance to make King’s birthday a national holiday.
The momentum from marches and Stevie Wonder’s classic song “Happy Birthday” created a tidal wave of support for the King holiday that the Reagan administration could not stop.
A decade later, former President Bill Clinton signed a crime bill that produced devastating results for the African-American community.
President Clinton even called African-American male suspects, “super predators.”
Many say the Clinton crime bill led to mass incarceration of African-Americans.
Biden even voted for Clinton’s crime bill.
Prior to that, Biden disagreed with school busing.
While Biden is definitely the best man for the job considering the racial climate, Trump is far from the first racist president.
Trump is just unacceptable for the job in this current climate because he fans the flames of racism instead of at least pretending to extinguish the fire.
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