AFRICAN PERSPECTIVES

OBAMA’S EMERGENCE, RESURGENCE OF WHITE SUPREMACY AND TRUMP’S ELECTION – BY HILARY OJUKWU

November 23, 2016 | Uhuruspirit

U.S. President Elect Donald Trump





The history of the United States of America is replete with accounts of racist gangsterism against blacks and other minorities. Though it took centuries of bloody struggles to ameliorate the conditions of blacks and other victims of white supremacy in that country, white supremacist ideology continued to simmer beneath the surface of American society only to burst into the open when its custodians feel that the collective interests of white Americans are under threat.

While the rest of the world was celebrating in 2008 after Barack Obama became the first black person to be elected as president of the United States of America, the white supremacists were mourning. While the rest of the world was thinking that America was making progress by Obama’s election, white racists were convinced that Obama’s election was evidence that their country had regressed. They saw Obama’s election as a threat to what they believed was the divinely-mandated right of white people to govern in America. It did not make sense to them how a black person could become the president of their country.

Obama being sworn in as U.S. President in 2009


Indeed Obama’s election had misled many into believing that America was right on the way to finally overcome its noxious past of racial bigotry. But, far from it, even in the days prior to the historic election, Obama was already a target for assassination by white supremacists. On October 22, 2008, Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tennessee and Paul Schlesselman, 18, of West Helena, Arkansas were arrested for plotting to assassinate Obama and to engage in a multi-state "killing spree." The men met through the Internet and planned to shoot 88 African Americans and behead another 14. Targets included a predominantly African-American school. At the end of the alleged spree, the men intended to try to kill Obama. "88," an important number in skinhead numerology, means "Heil Hitler" — as "H" is the eighth letter of the alphabet. "14" likely refers to the "14 Words," a white supremacist slogan that originated with the late David Lane. Lane died in prison in 2007 while serving a sentence for his role in an assassination plot carried out by The Order, a white supremacist terrorist group that was destroyed in 1984. One of the suspects, Cowart was a known member of a new skinhead hate group, the Supreme White Alliance (SWA), formed at the beginning of 2008, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Obama’s nomination was something that really angered white supremacists. And once it was clear that he was going to be president, white supremacists took to extremist online discussion forums to express their rage. Most of them saw Obama’s rise as evidence that things had incredibly gone wrong and that whites had lost their place in America.

After Obama’s election, a white supremacist site, Stormfront, was so overloaded with people trying to access it to post racists comments that it actually crashed.

In his reaction to Obama’s election during a radio show, David Duke, the notorious white supremacist and a former grand wizard of Ku Klux Klan said, "I really believe tonight is a night of tragedy and sadness for our people in many ways…we've lost the fundamental values of the United States of America…the country is not recognizable anymore."

Another white supremacist, Hal Turner, wrote on his blog that "America committed national suicide tonight because we turned control of this nation over to inferior people, who, in the history of the world, have never created or maintained the kind of advanced nation that we White people created here." A person using the screen-name "KOS" had declared on the white supremacist Internet forum Ni--ermania, "America will become another third-world sh-thole like Africa if it is run by people like Barack Hussein Obama and other minorities."

Another extremist, posting as "Himmler SS," wrote, "America [sic] flags should be flown upside down as the international symbol of distress." One person wrote on the white supremacist White Revolution forum, "This is truly the saddest day in the history of this great nation… I am seriously thinking about moving my family to Canada for their own safety from the ape riots that are about to, no-doubt, happen in major metropolitan areas everywhere."

In a comment on white supremacist Hal Turner's blog, an anonymous poster wrote, "I have burnt the American flag in my front yard… I am seeking political asylum in Russia."

An anonymous individual posting to a Yahoo! group that was connected to the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement was convinced that whites would lose their rights in America and stated, "You all have the worst of everything. He is a Black, communist, Muslim, racist against white, and friends with Jews… Well, be prepared to have to fight harder for freedoms you use to have. I doubt the bill of rights will be enforced after his swearing in."

Some white supremacists angrily declared that those whites who had voted for an African-American to be president were traitors to their race. On the “White Revolution” forum, "Fallschirmjager173" claimed that "the recent election of a negroid as president of america, was brought about by dumbed down white traitors, to this nation."

An anonymous poster made a similar comment on Hal Turner's blog: "Congratulations to all you f--king sleeping mesmerized race traitors who just made the United States a 3rd world country filled with Illegal Mexicans and f--king Ni--ers who will run free and have a Ni--er commander in chief looking over their shoulders. You all make me f--king sick. I have burnt the American flag in my front yard."

Looking for some consolation, many white supremacists expressed hope that Obama would soon be killed or die and others used the Obama emergence to motivate fellow racists.

In his radio interview on the white supremacist online forum Stormfront, David Duke predicted that Obama's presidency was a wake-up call: "Maybe it's good in one sense in that it's making white people clear of the fact that that government in Washington DC is not our government…We, as European Americans, have got to rally for our own heritage, our own freedom, our own survival as a people, and if we don't begin now to build a dedicated movement, we're going to lose everything that's important to us."

Posting on a Klan Internet forum, an Illinois Klansman, Jeremy Eastwood, expressed his hope that the Klan would save a nation "on the brink of destruction." He encouraged his followers to take action: "Start throwing flyers every week. Get out there and RECRUIT RECRUIT RECRUIT. We must take back our nation."

Billy Roper, the leader of White Revolution, declared on the group's Internet forum, "Now is the time to be more active than ever before."

Don Black, a former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard, claimed that more than 2,000 people joined his white supremacist website, Stormfront, on the day after Obama's election, up from 80 on an ordinary day. Started in 1995, Black's website is one of the oldest and largest hate group sites.

During that time, Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center said, "Barack Obama's election has inflamed racist extremists who see it as another sign that their country is under siege by nonwhites. The idea of a black man in the White House, combined with the deepening economic crisis and continuing high levels of Latino immigration, has given white supremacists a real platform on which to recruit."

Clearly, Obama’s victory in 2008 did not only compel white supremacists to embark on aggressive recruitment drive, it also inspired the formation of new extremist groups. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Since Obama took office in 2008, the number of hate groups has increased significantly from coast to coast.

As Obama took office in January 2009, he received a baptism of fire which later turned into an entrenched opposition against his policies. There were deliberate and concerted attempts to frustrate Obama out of office by Republican law-makers. And at a time those efforts to humiliate Obama forced former U.S. Jimmy Carter to denounce them as racist: "I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African American," Carter said. "And that racism inclination still exists. And I think it's bubbled up to the surface because of the belief among many white people, not just in the south but around the country, that African Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It's an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply,” he continued.

Most of the measures he proposed on job creation, child care, education, and manufacturing communities, among others were killed off in Congress. More recently, even his pick for the Supreme Court has been ignored by the Republicans. Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court in March 2016, a month after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. But even before his nomination, Senate Republicans had made it clear that they would not consider any Supreme Court nomination in a presidential election year and they did not.

As a result of the hostile attacks against him, Obama limited much of his agenda after the first two years to things that could be achieved by the executive branch and thus left openings which Trump and his white supremacist supporters have exploited in the 2016 election.

Even as fight was raging in the legislature against Obama’s plans to fulfill his campaign promises, in the streets, white supremacist groups were engaged in another kind of anti-Obama fight. They were engaged in a widespread campaign of calumny against him. There were rumours that Obama was a Muslim and a Communist. Perhaps the one that resonated more with millions of Americans was that Obama not born in the United States of America. Some people claimed he was born in Kenya while others said he was born in Indonesia. According to a mid-February 2011 Public Policy Polling survey, 51 percent of Republican voters believed that Mr. Obama was born in another country, a result that was consistent with other polls taken since the rumor took root in 2008. While politicians of all hues had a field day with the conspiracy theory that Obama was not born in America, it was Donald Trump that made the most political mileage from it. While contemplating running for the white house in 2011, Donald Trump did not just exploit the rumour that Obama was not born in the U.S., he actually built a national movement out of it and became the champion of those (most of whom were racists and white supremacists) who were out to undermine the country’s first black president.

“Why doesn’t he show his birth certificate? The fact is, if he wasn’t born in this country, he shouldn’t be the president of the United States,” Donald Trump said in a CNN interview in March 2011. The Constitution requires that the president be a “natural-born citizen.”

The fact is that based on nothing other than the fact that Trump was giving a mainstream voice to the conspiracy theory that Obama was not born in the U.S., helped to push him up the ladder as one of the leading contenders among the possible 2012 Republican candidates. Even though Trump did not stand in 2012, it is true that his obsession about Obama’s birthplace had helped to win him more supporters in the white extremist community. It was at that time that many white supremacists began to perceive him as one who shared their bigotry. And if there is anyone wanting to know the origin of Trump’s alliance with white supremacists, it was back in 2011 when he assumed the national spokesperson of the bigots who were questioning Obama’s eligibility as president. Since then, Trump’s statements and tweets did begin to reflect, more and more, the views of white extremist groups. In October 2014, Trump gladdened the hearts of white supremacists when he asserted that there was “something wrong” with Obama’s mental health based on the president’s response to the Ebola crisis. “Why won’t he stop the flights. Psycho!” Trump tweeted. “Trump for president,” one Stormfront poster wrote in response.

Trump’s official declaration for president on June 16, 2015 was deliberately choreographed to appeal to his bourgeoning supporters in the white extremist community. He had used the event to raise some of the issues that are central planks in the white supremacist themes. White extremist ideology propounds that the supremacy of whites and their civilization are being threatened by the immigration of non-whites, whom they consider inferior, to America; they fear that if something drastic is not done quickly non-whites will take over a country they considered as their rightful heritage.

"When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best," Trump said on the day he declared for president. "They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

He then offered a solution to illegal immigration which the white extremist groups had found revolutionary along with his plan to deport masses of undocumented immigrants and end birthright citizenship: “I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively, I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall,” he declared. White nationalist author Kevin MacDonald had described Trump’s xenophobic, racist and islamaphobic campaign as "a revolution to restore a White America." At that point, it was becoming clearer that Trump would be drawing an overwhelming support of white supremacists and it was not long before they started to endorse him. "I urge all readers of this site to do whatever they can to make Donald Trump President," wrote Andrew Anglin, the publisher of the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer in late June 2015. Anglin, who riffs about the inferior "biological nature" of black people, hailed Trump as "the only candidate who is even talking about anything at all that matters.” In early July, while imagining about a Trump victory, Anglin wrote: “If The Donald gets the nomination, he will almost certainly beat Hillary, as White men such as you and I go out and vote for the first time in our lives for the one man who actually represents our interests.”

There can be no argument about whether Trump was aware that white supremacists were supporting his campaign. Donald Trump knew what was going on and had encouraged it. In July 2015, Trump was caught indulging in Nazi glorification – an act popular with white supremacists who believe that holocaust never happened – when he tweeted an image showing a stock photo of Nazi S.S. soldiers where American soldiers should have been. Though his campaign had blamed an intern for the mistake, it was not long before he took part in another white supremacist pastime. In November 2015, Trump retweeted a graphic falsely claiming that black people were responsible for 81 percent of white homicides. Its source was a white supremacist Twitter feed whose logo is a modified swastika. What kind of presidential candidate would tweet lies and false information about the people he wants to govern? If Donald Trump is not a white supremacist, how come he found it easy to tweet a racist, anti-black graphic to millions of his supporters?

TRUMP'S ANTI-BLACK TWWET


As Trump was leaving no one in doubt about his white supremacist tendencies or his political alliance with white supremacist groups, more and more of those extremists were coming out to support his campaign. In December 2015, William Daniel Johnson, chairman of the white supremacist American Freedom Party, said that “Virtually all pro-white nationalists are at least somewhat supportive of Donald Trump and most are even enthusiastic.”

In January 2016, Jared Taylor, who runs a white nationalist website called American Renaissance lent his voice to robocalls to voters in Iowa, articulating a racial argument that Trump "may be the last hope for a president who would be good for white people." Taylor, who once founded a think tank dedicated to "scientifically" proving white superiority, told Mother Jones that Trump was the first presidential candidate from a major party ever to earn his support because Trump "is talking about policies that would slow the dispossession of whites. That is something that is very important to me and to all racially conscious white people."

On his online radio program, recorded the day of Trump’s victory in the Nevada primary, former KKK leader David Duke credited Trump with energizing white supremacists, and effectively endorsed him, imploring voters in that state to turn out. “You have an absolute obligation to vote for Donald Trump, and to vote against Cruz and Rubio,” Duke said. “If you vote for Ted Cruz, you are acting in a traitorous way to our people. You are betraying our people. Period.” He cautioned that he didn’t agree with everything Trump said, but argued, “Trump is the only chance we really have right now to make a dent, plus Trump is waking up our people and energizing our people across America.” At one of Trump’s rally, Matthew Heimbach, the founder and leader of the white supremacist Traditionalist Worker Party was videoed screaming at and shoving a female African-American protester.

In August 2016, Steve Bannon, the executive chairman of the white extremist Breitbart News, was appointed the Trump’s campaign chief executive officer. Bannon once said that his conservative news outlet was "the platform of the alt-right,” a far-right ideology that promotes white supremacy.

The fact that white supremacist groups played a huge role in Trump’s electoral success is something that is not in doubt. A Reuters survey before the election had found that Trump supporters were more likely than Clinton supporters to see blacks as ‘criminal,’ ‘unintelligent,’ ‘lazy’ and ‘violent.’” Analysis by the RAND Corporation’ Presidential Election Panel Survey found that “Trump performs best among Americans who express more resentment toward African Americans and immigrants and who tend to evaluate whites more favorably than minority groups.” While celebrating Trump’s victory after the November 8, 2016 election, a former grand wizard of Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, confirmed what we already knew. “Make no mistake about it; our people have played a HUGE role in electing Trump!” he tweeted.

VIDEO: WHITE SUPREMACISTS CELEBRATING TRUMPS'S VICTORY


Indeed, Trump did not defeat Clinton in the election because he is more righteous or upright than the Clintons. He did not defeat Clinton because he has a better approach to deal with economic issues facing Americans. Trump’s victory is the culmination of white supremacist anger following the election of Barack Obama in 2008. And without a doubt, Obama’s election had sparked a resurgence of white supremacist ideologies that have helped to elect Donald Trump as U.S. president.

Hilary Ojukwu is the editor of Uhuruspirit Journal



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