Trump, My White Bigot
Donald J. Trump is my white bigot. I mean every African American that I know in my generation has a white bigot they can point to as the epitome of racial prejudice in American. Trump has not always been my personal white bigot. But it seems a white bigot has always been present at every stage of my three-score years pulse in the earth.
The first white bigot I encountered in life was from a history lesson taught by my grandmother Puella Harvey. She taught me that President Calvin Coolidge was a great enemy of the downtrodden and that Herbert Hoover was not much better. My mother was not alive when Coolidge was president and barely in the world when Hoover served, so I have to take granny’s words for it, as I have no personal recollection of either man she considered a white bigot.
The first white bigot I can recall placing on my white bigot list was Arkansas Governor Orville Faubus. I was 20 days shy of my sixth birthday, when Faubus opposed the Little Rock Nine in their efforts to integrate Central High in Little Rock.
His actions could only be explained, my grandmother taught, because of white bigotry. I was a couple of days into the first grade at this time and could not understand what was the big deal about going to school with white kids.
I was happy to be in a classroom of all black children. The white kids I had encountered up to that point in life all called me bad names while throwing rocks or spit balls towards me.
Then Georgia Governor Herman Talmadge gave a big policy speech in Macon, Georgia, near the farming community where I lived. He talked about maintaining separation of the races. He called for white people to boycott products advertised on television programs that featured black men cavorting with white women as if they were equal. The adults believed Talmadge was a white bigot; needless to say, so did I.
In 1963, I added Alabama Governor George Wallace to my white bigot list. Wallace stood in the door at the University of Alabama in an effort to block two black students from attending the university. His snarling, red faced defiance of President John Kennedy merited, I thought, induction as the first white bigot that I would designate for inclusion in the universal set of white bigots.
Four years later, Georgia Governor Lester Maddox made my white bigot list. Maddox was a bad white man. He publicly pushed and shoved black people out of his Atlanta restaurant. He pledged to attack, with an ax handle, any black person who attempted to enter his establishment.
In 1970, I played college baseball at Fort Valley State College in Fort Valley, Georgia. One day we were playing a game on campus against Alabama State College from Montgomery, Alabama. So our fans began to poke fun at the Alabama State players by decrying their white bigoted governor, George Wallace:
“We gonna get this game over in a hurry, because we know old George Wallace wont let y’all back in the state after sun down,” the Fort Valley student body shouted to the roar of laughter.
The Alabama State bench was undaunted: “Our governor has a college education and don’t ride a bicycle backward,” the Alabama State players shouted back in clear reference to that Georgia white bigot. Maddox did not finish high school and had ridden his bicycle backward on late night television. It was a lighthearted moment. Alabama State won the game in time to get back across the state line before sun down.
A year later, I transferred from Fort Valley State to Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee Institute, Alabama. While there I came into contact with Charles Woods from Dothan, Alabama. Woods was a perennial statewide candidate. His face was disfigured from a plane crash that had occurred during his service in World War II.
Woods owned a television station in Dothan, Alabama. He would cut his own campaign commercials, which often, in his southern drawl, went like this: “I want to be your governor because we have to stop the Niggas. They have taken over our schools. They have taken over the football team, the basketball team and now they trying to take over our baseball team.”
Although I felt sorry for his disfigured appearance, the content of his character quickly placed him on my white bigot list.
After returning to Georgia from college, J. B. Stoner, a white supremacist from Marietta, Georgia, who had a strong dislike for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., moved onto my white bigot list. He was followed by David Duke over in Louisiana.
During the early 1970s there was a television sitcom character, Archie Bunker, who embodied the heart and soul of white bigotry. Bunker became every white bigot who had ever lived. In many ways, the brash in your face campaign style of Donald J. Trump, is an Archie Bunker in real time.
Like Trump’s chest pumping over having a singular African American friend, I can point with pride to my white bigot, Donald. He makes my list after much thought and consideration. As hard as I tried I could not come up with any reasonable explanation for why he disparage Mexicans, Muslims, women and African Americans. It’s simply bigotry and ignorance to consider only those whose ancestors migrated here from Europe as true Americans. This seems to be the ethos that Trump wants to spread.
Not all white people are bigots, but we need to have the ability to spot a white bigot when one consistently flaunts his bigotry at every opportunity.