Only in office a few hours, surrounded by the key members of the new regime, Trump proved he meant campaign promises to overtly re-impose America’s racist dystopian identity over the country. After all, it was the reason so many whites voted him into office–to make America white supremacist again.
From the beginning, Trump’s executive orders were declarations of war on one of the country’s major symbols of black achievement, its first African-American president, Barack Obama. He’d sat in the Oval Office for eight years leaving just days before the Trumplutocracy descended on DC.
Our former president is someone the current Oval Office occupant has long hated for no other reason than he is black. Obama, a Harvard Law graduate, former US Senator, constitutional scholar and law school professor, who is married to a black woman with two Ivy League degrees whom he met working in Big Law, is the bane of Trump’s existence.
He has questioned every aspect of Obama’s life including his American citizenship, the validity of his education and his achievements as president. He even said that Obama was such a weak Commander and Chief that there wouldn’t be another black president for generations.
Whiting Out Obama from Presidential History
Trump is determined to make sure that’s true. His objective, supported by most members of the Grand Old Poverty Party (“GOPP”), has been to eviscerate Obama’s legacy. Obama launched a war on inequality. His federal initiatives helped all poor people, including people of color.
Agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau protected the 99 percent of America’s population from the one percent’s financial fraud. After all, Obama had been one of the 99 percents while Trump has always been a gold card carrying member of the one percent.
Trump and the rest of the GOPP despised Obama for that and did all they could to stop him because it militates against their plan to restore the white peasant class and slavery to America. However, Trump doesn’t mind exploiting Obama’s more vile acts (and, to be fair, there were a number) and blaming Obama for his poor choices a current POTUS.
That’s another way to gut a black man’s achievements while using but taking no personal responsibility for perpetuating the negative aspects of their legacy. Trump’s attack on Yemen and Syria provide evidence of that.
Trump is making his presidency all about him and “preserving whiteness,” primarily white male power. That false social construct can’t abide a high-achieving black president in its history books. Trump is as angry about the prospect as are the angry, frightened white men who supported his rise to global power to prevent that.
The reality of Obama as having ever been the most powerful man in the world sparks fears of white genocide by blacks and whites feel this is their last chance to restore America to whiteness. That makes Obama’s annihilation as a black hero in the American psyche necessary for the Trumplutocracy to achieve.
Trump’s Plan is Calculated White Supremacy
Trump has been deliberate about directly attacking Obama’s legacy in his first three months in the Oval Office. He’s achieving that while targeting blacks and other people of color in America, whom he’s had a long racist history of reviling. His early presidential actions provide insight into his white supremacist, white global imperialist mindset.
Trump, however, starts at home and expands globally. He proved by these executive acts that Europeans founded “America, Inc.” on white domestic imperialism that he intends to reinforce.
Like George Carlin said, “The country is…founded on a very basic double standard. This country was founded by slave owners who wanted to be free … in order to continue owning their black African people … so they can wipe out the rest of the red Indian people … and move West and steal the rest of the land from the brown Mexican people.”
How does Trump commit these acts of calculated white supremacy? Trump routinely asserts his presidential authority the way he repeatedly criticized Obama for–by using executive orders and executive memoranda to enact policies without Congressional approval. In the context of asserting white supremacy, Trump uses his executive authority to attempt to write Obama out of American presidential history while restoring or implementing policies that hurt blacks, other people of color and poor whites.
Targeting “the Blacks” and All Poor People
Trump’s first executive action was an attempt to eviscerate the Affordable Care Act, hatefully called “Obamacare” in its early days to discredit the program. Signed within hours of taking the oath of office, Trump’s first executive order sent a message that obliterating the legacy of America’s first black president was his top priority.
The mostly the rural white people who voted for Trump who got harmed by rescinding the ACA were collateral damage. His racist divide and conquer strategy, one created and long used by wealthy white supremacists to maintain power, won him the White House. Trump no longer needed that electorate that still worships him.
Most people missed who this assault on health care access was targeting—“the blacks.” That’s because, except as it relates to crime, African Americans don’t get discussed in most of the debates among whites about Trump’s political priorities. But, make no mistake that Trump levied his attack on Obama and blackness. The perception that Trump perpetuated throughout his election campaign was one that other conservatives advanced for its elimination.
“Obamacare” supported mostly undeserving African Americans people and “illegals” or undocumented immigrants, many of whom also are black. Stripping African Americans of medical care perpetuates the medical racism that has consistently shortened black lives. Black folks who are struggling to stay alive and healthy can’t compete with white people effectively. They sure don’t eventually become US president.
But, Trump wasn’t done. He first spent a weekend celebrating the ascendancy of white nationalism back into the White House with giddy supporters. Afterward, he continued the war on Obama and blackness in America with his first presidential memorandum. That document formerly withdrew the US from the Obama-negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership.
TPP would have meant lower-priced goods, better jobs and business opportunities domestically, less exploitation of child labor abroad and evolving global economies. It would have empowered poorer people globally as well as in the US.
That would hurt global white imperialists like Trumplutocrats who make their billions by profiteering at the expense of poor people here and abroad. From enslavement to today, that mainly meant exploiting black labor to grow the US economy. Trump has no interest in bringing back good jobs to America because that means black people might get them, too. Many of his white supporters are so racist that they agree with this strategy even though it keeps them impoverished.
He also rescinded Obama’s .25 percentage point cut in Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance premiums set to kick in just a few days afterward on January 27. FHA gives mortgages to those with less than perfect credit or low down payments. That’s usually poorer Americans kept so because of structural inequality and institutionalized racism.
This cut would have saved homeowners an average of $500 a year and would have opened the door to homeownership, the basis of middle-class wealth in America, for more people. Naturally, this decision negatively affects blacks and people of color disproportionately. They already can’t catch up to whites in wealth creation since generations of whites, like Trump, got a head start by being born white.
Continuing Indigenous Genocide
The man who called Senator Elizabeth Warren Pocahontas made his next move against indigenous Americans. He coupled his campaign to destroy Obama’s accomplishments with an act that made him look like part of the ongoing genocide against America’s indigenous people.
The Dakota Access Pipeline location, originally slated to run through much whiter Bismarck, ND, now cuts straight through lands owned and occupied by indigenous people. Those executive memoranda not only violated US treaties with indigenous Americans, but they also escalated law enforcement actions evicting Standing Rock Water Protectors from their land.
These executive memoranda also perpetuate centuries of dishonoring indigenous rights, traditions and lives in pursuit of profit. It’s another example of Trump’s commitment to rapacious domestic imperialism.
Rounding Up and Deporting “the Illegals”
Trump then started going after another class of individuals, who happen to be people of color, he and his supporters resented Obama for protecting—immigrants, undocumented or not. On January 25, just five days in office, he signs an executive order to build the Great Wall of America on the US-Mexican border dividing the two countries. He also makes it clear US taxpayers, many opposed to this wall will fund this permanent edifice to Trumpian racism with their hard-earned tax dollars.
The same day, he grants nearly unlimited powers to ICE to deport any and all undocumented immigrants, criminal or not. While the majority of targeted undocumented immigrants are Latinx, according to a 2015 Pew Research study an estimated 575,000 are black from African and Caribbean nations including Jamaica, Haiti, Nigeria, and Kenya. The mainstream press isn’t covering their mass deportations.
While undocumented immigrants from Nigeria, Ghana, and Senegal who did not have the paperwork to stay in America under Obama got deported, those numbers were small compared to just two months into Trump’s campaign. Obama deported 63 immigrants from those countries in 2016, 21 from Senegal. Under Trump’s draconian plan, 130 immigrants from Senegal alone got expelled in a single weekend.
Obama also provided some limited protections to non-criminal immigrants, and many who were Mexican children brought here by parents. This executive order stripped those protections away, with Trump talking about separating immigrant mothers from babies.
Expanding the White Imperialist War on Muslims
Next, Trump aimed at Muslims. On January 27, 2017, he signed his most controversial executive order yet–one that amounted to a Muslim ban to keep nationals from eight primarily Muslim countries off American soil. The focus of most of America, including media, has been on the unjustified targeting of brown people from Middle Eastern countries.
However, three of those countries are African, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan. Little discussion about black people from those countries makes mainstream media. Moreover, under Trump administration policies, more Africans face targeting for exclusion from entry to the country with raises in Visa fees.
However, even before signing this executive order, Trump started bombing four of the countries identified in that executive orders. He had promised to “bomb the sh*t out ISIS,” and he’s made good on that declaration while killing hundreds of innocent civilians. He’d also immediately begun enriching his powerful military-industrial complex cronies, even if it turns America into Greece.
It is shades of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, the latter of whom Trump’s chief strategist and rabid Muslim hater, Steven Bannon worship. He says in a recent Salon interview, “Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power.”
Increasing Police Brutality Against “the Blacks”
As harshly as he got criticized for his limited efforts on behalf of African Americans related these issues, Obama committed to reducing police brutality and mass incarceration and advancing criminal justice reform. He also granted clemency to more inmates than any other president, commuting a total of 1715 mostly non-violent offender sentences.
But, during his first Black History Month in office formally expressed his long-time opposition to Obama’s efforts to advance justice for blacks. Giving Chicago and other urban centers as examples, Trump escalated America’s ongoing war on black people with his “law and order” executive orders. “Law and order” is a racist code for targeting black Americans for criminal prosecution and has a long history in America.
After all, there could be no other reason for higher crime rates in cities like Chicago except that blacks are inherently criminal. Even Black Lives Matters activists are terrorists to Trump conservatives. (These executive orders target brown or Latinx people, too, since Trump can’t deport those born here.)
The same day he signs those executive orders, Trump proudly swears in Jeff Sessions as US Attorney General. For many, especially African Americans, he represents the death of civil rights and criminal justice reform. One of America’s most rabidly racist elected officials, Sessions consistently has made controversial statements about black criminality and civil rights. He’s vowed to crack down on violent crime even if it means abrogating civil rights.
He’s attacked black civil rights for decades. He called the Voting Rights Act “an intrusive piece of legislation,” opposed updating the law and prosecuted activists trying to register blacks to vote for voter fraud.
Sessions already has rescinded Obama-era policies ending federal use of private prisons citing the need to use them “to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system.” This stance is consistent with ongoing opposition to criminal justice reform and efforts to reduce mass incarceration, which predominantly affects African Americans. They are more likely to be convicted of violent crimes and oversentenced.
While education is critical to preventing incarceration, Sessions also vigorously opposed school desegregation and equitable funding of black schools in Alabama.
Making HBCUs Part of the White Savior Industrial Complex
Supposedly an effort to show his commitment to the growth and development of America’s Historically Black Colleges and University, Trump became their great white hope. His last act celebrating the history of black achievement in America during Black History Month was signing the executive order to revoke Barack Obama’s own. Obama often received criticism for not “doing enough” for HBCUs.
Trump made a show of signing the “Presidential Executive Order on The White House Initiative to Promote Excellence and Innovation at Historically Black Colleges and Universities” during rushed ceremony attended by 20 HBCU leaders. The event turned out to be more show than substance since, like some HBCU leaders point out, Trump’s executive order doesn’t increase funding over Obama’s to beleaguered HBCUs. It doesn’t provide their requested Pell Grant funding increase for HBCU students, either.
What it does is take funding oversight from the Department of Education and gives it to the White House. A careful read of the executive order shows Trump takes over HBCUs and their funding under the guise of “guidance” for the institutions. The new “initiative will fall under White House” and “be led by an Executive Director designated by the President.”
Trump is now the white savior for HBCUs and they’ve been absorbed into the White Savior Industrial Complex.
Among other things, the executive order says the initiative focuses on “increasing private sector role, including foundations in strengthening HBCUs through enhanced institutional planning and development, fiscal stability, and financial management; and upgrading institutional infrastructure.” But many observers dislike the idea of private sector enterprises having so much influence over HBCUs.
Nonetheless, the executive order provides multiple ways the White House will achieve its objectives for HBCUs. Most include significant involvement of outside forces in “helping” HBCUs reach their growth and advancement goals.
The assumption underlying this plan appears to be the usual one: Black folks can’t manage their own money and lives effectively so white folks have to take over and help them do better.
This initiative takes control away from HBCUs to manage their destiny, which they can do if they get funding at the level predominantly white institutions do from the federal government—just give them the money. This plan also is shades of Trump’s Democrat past.
It’s paternalistic. It’s neo-imperialist. It’s whites saving the ungodly black savages from themselves by making blacks over in the sanctified white image except the mission field isn’t Africa, it’s American HBCUs.
Trump is now the white savior for HBCUs, and they’re getting absorbed into the White Savior Industrial Complex, which probably will suffocate its newly kidnapped baby.
But this strategy isn’t unlike like the racist “welfare state” programs of the past, which benefit whites substantially but always lead to black communities being suffocated by whites. The best example of this is the War on Poverty which came the same year the Civil Rights Act got signed.
That’s not a coincidence since whites wouldn’t give blacks rights without maintaining white power. They achieved this by controlling the unprecedented federal money allocated under the 1964 legislation to advance “social justice” for and “eliminate discrimination” against for blacks.
But, their white savior complex leads to an endless war on blacks, increasing poverty. Under the guise of compassion, whites used these programs to extirpate the black family and community with federally-funded initiatives ostensibly designed to rescue blacks.
Instead of helping the black community, the programs created a massive redistribution of wealth to white communities. It was white people who got control of those funds, created the programs, staffed with white administrators and distributed the monies based on white rules, largely to administrative costs.
The programs elevated white’s image of themselves and increased white privilege, which is just white supremacy lite. While they were demolishing the poor blacks’ lives with “anti-poverty” welfare programs, they encouraged middle-class blacks to integrate into white culture with scholarships and loans.
That led African Americans to attend predominantly white institutions over HBCUs and leave black communities for white neighborhoods. That means black money left black communities and institutions for white ones, the effects of which are still evident today.
It’s easy to see the parallels between Trump’s HBCU initiative and those of the past to “help” African Americans. Trump doesn’t do anything that doesn’t make him and his friends money. No different from the many programs funded by the federal government since the War on Poverty, this initiative creates a bureaucracy that allows white folks to earn money and accolades “helping” black folks.
The executive order includes studies and task forces as well as a Board of Advisors on which HBCU presidents will be allowed participation. But, will they be allowed control on this board or any other aspect of this initiative established to help them? Not likely.
Blacks typically are required to play passive characters in their own story while whites rescue them. In fact, in most cases to receive white help, blacks get forced to trade increasing autonomy for that support until ultimately, their identities and organizations get subsumed by whiteness.
Like a horror scene from the movie Get Out, after trying to assimilate with whites to get their needs met, blacks are no longer themselves. The longer these programs remain in force, the more control over their institutions and institutional identities blacks lose.
If these HBCU leaders aren’t careful, they’ll experience the fate of black institutions in the past whenever whites take control. They’ll get waylaid and gaslighted, then told they imagined what their white saviors did to them.
Trump will have succeeded in extirpating one of the last major symbols of black achievement and power, HBCUs, while successfully gutting Obama’s legacy with this and the rest of these executive mandates.
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(c) 2017. Dahna M. Chandler for New Fourth Estate Media, LLC. All rights reserved.
(Image Credit: Elvert Barnes, Flickr.)