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In terms of campaign strategy, the formula for Donald J. Trump’s presidential bid has been quite clear: Take the themes of racism and nativism once popularized by George Wallace, add contemporary references and essentially tell the electorate, “This is the remix. The jeeps pump this new remix.”

From talks of a “big, beautiful wall” to separate white people us from the purported “rapists” known as immigrants from Mexico to his recent plans to put forth an ideological test for Muslim immigrants before entering the United States, the Republican nominee’s ethos has long proved to be, more or less, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

Given that this is the party of the “Southern strategy,” it makes sense—no matter how loudly establishment Republicans cry to the contrary. And yet when it comes to categorizing Trump’s supporters, some have continued to be reluctant to declare that they, like Trump, have political interests majorly motivated by bigotry.

The predominant narrative has been that what fuels support among Trump’s claimed core base—white working-class voters—is economic anxiety, not prejudice. There have been other explanations given, too, including this notion that Trump the billionaire is “an image of their aspiration.”

That may be true, to an extent, but select political writers have continued to belabor the point that these voters are “being left behind, by the economy and by the culture.” This line of categorization doesn’t go nearly far enough to calling a thing by its name.

Meanwhile, there have been reports out for months now arguing to the contrary—highlighting that Trump supporters are better off economically compared with most Americans. A more recent and in-depth study has elaborated on that tidbit, piling on that for all of Trump’s chatter about trade and immigration, most of his supporters have not been affected by that, thus making all framing of his voters that evades the role of racism read as disingenuous.

Even a recent tweet by Vox related to the latter study reads, “Trump’s base is not poor whites—it’s way more complicated than that.” Beloveds, is it truly that complicated? Racism is not complicated; calling out racism surely seems to be, though.

In “Dismissing Trump Fans As White Trash Gets Our Class System All Wrong,” writer Nancy Isenberg argues, “Why are Americans so reluctant to talk about the real and enduring character of our class system?”

It’s a valid question, but not in the context of denoting why white Americans of every class support Trump’s candidacy. Some have even penned essays like “Even if You Don’t Like Donald Trump, You Should Understand the Pain of His Poor White Supporters.” Another one like it is titled, “Why ‘White Trash’ Americans Are Flocking to Donald Trump.”

Nuance is typically a necessity, but in this instance, it’s long been proved that poor white voters will vote against their economic interests. Likewise, we have known that suburban white women in the suburbs will do the same where applicable. The same goes for white men of any class.

What do you think unites them? We could try a séance to contact Richard Nixon or Lee Atwater and ask either of them to please advise, but we needn’t go back that far. The Grand Ol’ Party has always hinted at it; Trump just amped the volume and skipped the pretenses.

Just this week, Amy Walter, national editor of the Cook Political Reporter and a frequent political commentator, tweeted this about Trump: “Trump is right that voters want outsider/disruptor but his temperament—not his message—is the problem for them.”

Trump’s message is rooted in xenophobia, racism, sexism and other party favors of white nationalism. How is that not a problem? That said, I also saw someone on MSNBC declare, moments after Trump, speaking before a white audience, told black people they were being duped by Democrats for decades, that we should commend him for reaching out to black audiences.

I seem to have misplaced my gratitude, but I’m sure it’s somewhere lost in the history of Trump’s anti-black business practices and language over decades. Perhaps the punditocracy’s ambivalence with this is unanimously tied to white people’s collective anxiety over the term “racism.” So many act as if it’s the second-worst word behind “n–ger” while notably failing to understand that being called “racist” isn’t the worst thing in the world; being subjected to racism is.

Read the rest at The Root.

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Long before Jeb! Bush announced what would prove to be a dazzlingly disastrous bid for the presidency, I believed that if we were forced to endure another President Bush in our lifetimes, it would not be him. No, such honors would go to the former Florida governor’s son, George P. Bush, the one whom his paw-paw, former President George H.W. Bush, once affectionately referred to as “one of the little brown ones.”

At age 40, George P. is young enough to survive what will likely be a hard-knock life for the GOP when it comes to national politics in the coming years (unless all the white racists it largely caters to suddenly and collectively go on to glory and/or damnation). After all, this is a political party that sees an increasingly diverse electorate and decided to nominate a loud-mouth demagogue for president.

However, if George P.’s recent comments about said demagogue, Donald Trump, are any indication of not only his political skill but also the strength of his spine, he’s less likely to become commander in chief and more inclined to net a more worthy title: sucker.

According to the Texas Tribune, George P., currently serving in the role of land commissioner in the state, called on Texas Republicans to support their party’s presidential nominee. In video remarks provided by an audience member, George P. is quoted as telling his fellow Texas Republicans, “From Team Bush, it’s a bitter pill to swallow, but you know what? You get back up and you help the man that won, and you make sure that we stop Hillary Clinton.”

True enough, Bush was speaking in his capacity as the Texas GOP’s victory chairman. Nevertheless, if anyone can recall Jeb! Bush’s failed campaign, you instantly remember the repeated attacks he endured at the hands of Trump. Trump repeatedly described Jeb! as “low energy” throughout the primary contest. In addition, he berated Jeb! in myriad ways both on and off the debate stage, describing him as a “lightweight,” a “spoiled child,” “stiff” and, with peak audaciousness and irony, “not a smart man.”

Not only did Trump verbally go upside the head of Jeb! one time after another, but Trump also went after George P.’s uncle, former President George W. Bush, blaming him for the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Granted, Trump lied his smoked-tangerine face off when he claimed that Muslims were cheering the fall of the World Trade Center from New Jersey, but he wasn’t completely off about how W. ignored intelligence that might have prevented those attacks. Still, this is George P.’s uncle.

So, keeping score, Trump has disparaged both his father and uncle, and yet somehow George P. still votes for him because of party allegiance. Mind you, Trump has yet to show any real allegiance to the Republican Party. Then you factor in the other fun tidbit about George P. Bush: His mother is Mexican.

Trump has described Mexicans and other Latino immigrants as “rapists,” “criminals” and “killers.” Trump has also retweeted other like-minded bigots who attacked Jeb!’s wife and his own damn mama. Not once, but twice.

Last fall, Jeb! gave an interview to Telemundo and discussed—in Spanish—some of the taunting his children suffered because of their complexion and accent.

“I remember there was a time when my son went to Ocala to play baseball, a game on a team,” he explained. “And the team was a Miami team; the majority were Hispanics. My son George, he’s dark-skinned. And they spoke horrible things about those from Miami. And naturally I had to explain or describe that people who hate were not the majority, but that we have to forge ahead. Because I was quite upset.”

Now, I find Jeb! to be as likable as a student loan default, with political ideology as helpful as a payday loan, but if there is one thing to appreciate about him, it’s that he refuses to vote for Trump. In fact, he’s noted that his supporters will “feel betrayed” by a President Trump, since it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to deliver on his “big, beautiful wall” paid for by Mexico and on the banning of all Muslims from entering the United States. Jeb! is not the only Bush-family member to fail to endorse Trump; George H.W. and George W. have cha-cha-slided right pass that, too.

Read the rest at The Root.

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Pop quiz (and bonus points if reading those words made you think of Tamia): When is the last time Antonio Sabato Jr. was poppin’?

Most will likely answer the early to mid-1990s, when Sabato gained attention as a Calvin Klein underwear model and appeared in the legendary Janet Jackson video for her single “Love Will Never Do (Without You).” Sabato seized upon that buzz and used it to transition into acting, appearing on daytime soaps like General Hospital along with nighttime melodramas like my beloved Melrose Place (the OG version reigns supreme). After that, things got a lil’ fuzzy for most of us.

However, according to Sabato’s IMDb page, the man has maintained a career. In the last decade, Sabato has turned to the medium that best suits his talents as a pretty man with so-so at best talents as a thespian: reality television. Did I watch VH1’s My Antonio, which apparently was his stab at being Flavor Flav? No, but good for him securing a check in this stagnant economy.

Sadly, Sabato doesn’t see it that way. In a recent interview, the model-actor-Italian Flavor Flav complained that he’s been blacklisted in Hollywood because of his support for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Stop laughing. OK, keep laughing. Who am I to deny anyone the kind of hilarity these sort of delusional statements engender?

Speaking with Variety, Sabato explains: “I’ve had fantastic directors who have said officially to my agents and managers they will never hire me again. They will never even see me for projects. That’s unfair. It’s just like communism.”

That’s actually nothing like communism, but like most Trump supporters, Sabato is in a committed relationship with hyperbole. “The reality is, if you’re associated with the Republican Party, the casting directors and producers already blacklist you based on that,” Sabato later added. “I know people that just showed up, they didn’t speak—and they are not getting work because of it.”

One assumes that Sabato is referring to other acting phenoms like Stacey Dash, who made similar claims a month prior. “My acting opportunities have ceased because of my political beliefs. I’m being persecuted in Hollywood. I’ve been blacklisted,” the actress and Fox News political commentator complained.

Time for another pop quiz: When is the last time Stacey Dash was a big deal beyond her incredibly asinine statements made over at Roger Ailes’ former house of horror?

Dash hasn’t been poppin’ since LisaRaye allegedly tried to pop her in the mouth on the set of Single Ladies. LisaRaye would later acknowledge that she had Dash removed from the show, but it had nothing to do with her being a black Republican. Sure, that is often synonymous with being a damn fool, but in this instance, it was pure coincidence.

I feel sorry for anyone looking for work, but I’m not a fan of lending sympathy to marginally talented people who make a habit of saying absurd, nonsensical and often vile statements, and then act as though that does not come with consequence.

In Sabato’s case, shortly after delivering a speech at this year’s Republican National Convention, he told an interviewer that he “absolutely” believes President Barack Obama is Muslim (not that there is anything wrong with being Muslim).

“I believe that he’s on the other side … the Middle East,” Sabato also told ABC News. “He’s with the bad guys.” As for Dash, well, there’s a very long list of unfortunate political statements.

For all this political chatter about how “liberal” Hollywood is, ask anyone nonwhite, straight and male how progressive that industry truly is. Even if that were the case, again, every choice has a consequence. It’s funny that neither Sabato nor Dash acknowledges that their willingness to say such buffoonish things is what secures them political platforms for which they are largely unequipped to handle—all because they have such a smidgen of fame.

Read the rest at The Root.

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Understandably, it may be difficult for many at this moment in time to feel any empathy toward anyone with the last name Trump. The sole blame for that goes to the most famous one of the bunch, Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump, who was sadly bestowed with an irregular version of humanity at birth. A man who recently said that if his own daughter had been a victim of sexual harassment at work, the onus would be on her to find a new company or even a new career.

As vile a human being as Donald Trump is, and as after-school special as this may sound, the reality is: wrong is wrong. To be selective about when to exercise morality trivializes its very purpose. In the case of the New York Post publishing nude photos of Trump’s wife Melania—which were taken more than 20 years ago—it is undoubtedly wrong. The unfortunate cover touting Melania’s nudes is wrong. The article “Melania Trump like you’ve never seen her before” is wrong. The article entitled “Melania Trump’s girl-on-girl photos from racy shoot revealed” is wrong. Even the other feature “Donald Trump is not upset Melania’s nude photos surfaced” is wrong.

They are wrong because they seek to shame Melania. They are wrong because they reduce her to an object. They are wrong because they play off archaic ideas of nudity and sexuality and perpetuate elitist ideas of what kind of woman should be First Lady. They are wrong because they have absolutely nothing to do with a presidential election between candidates Donald J. Trump and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Yet, some have noticeably maintained that they refuse to feel sorry for Melania because of how badly conservatives treated First Lady Michelle Obama. Many of these complaints have essentially danced around the sentiment, “They wouldn’t defend her so I won’t feel bad for her either.”

Well, the they in question is the New York Post, a trashy tabloid that’s right-leaning, routinely racist, consistently sexist, and typically terrible. A tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch, the same person who owns FOX News. Perhaps some conservatives are speaking in support of Melania Trump in ways they never did for Michelle Obama, but ultimately, both women have now been ridiculed by conservative media outlets. That is a testament to the reality that no matter one’s ideology, if you are a woman married to a politician, you may find yourself the victim of vile attacks. You would think all Murdoch-owned media outlets might tamper down on its sexist attacks of women in light of the Roger Ailes scandal, but old habits appear to die hard ‘round those parts.

Read the rest at Complex.

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For much of the campaign and leading up to the Democratic National Convention, last night’s historic moment was often categorized almost like an afterthought, which has a lot to do with Hillary Clinton’s nomination appearing inevitable. Bernie Sanders ran a surprisingly strong insurgent campaign, but it became clear several months ago that he would be unable to defeat Clinton the way Barack Obama did eight years ago.

Even if it seemed unsurprising, history did happen last night, and we were immediately reminded why it took so long for the moment to manifest. Clinton is not touted for her oratory skills nor is she much of a campaigner. Hillary herself has attested to this, noting earlier in the year, “I am not a natural politician, in case you haven’t noticed, like my husband or President Obama.” No, but very little of that has to do with her smile volume and the sound of her voice, which was depicted in sexist terms such as “shrill,” “screaming,” and “sharp.”

I’m not entirely sure what an “average scream” means and I doubt Trump could explain it his damn self. What I can imagine, though, is that it is no surprise to many women that Hillary Clinton has spent decades of her life working, planning, compromising, and sacrificing to win this nomination only to end up facing off with a stupid, unqualified man for the job.

It is a testament to the unfair role gender continues to play in our society.

Nonetheless, it is a struggle among many my age and color to be excited about a Hillary Clinton presidency. That lack of enthusiasm is in many ways justified. There have already been countless articles written about the Clintons and the damage they’ve done to the Black community. Others have argued that the Hillary Clinton of 2016 will be better than the Bill Clinton of the ’90s, though those have routinely gotten nothing more than a “K” in response.

If you listened to Hillary’s speech last night, one cannot deny that she is far more progressive in tone than she’s ever been. Well, on domestic policy anyway. She continues to frighten me with her hawkish outlook on global politics, but with respect to domestic policy, there is a noticeable change in tone and language—and we owe Bernie Sanders and his movement for that.

Should Hillary win, I am hopeful but still unsure that she will make good on those promises. Whatever the case, I am not voting for the village idiot for president. Trump is a shining example of just how far one can go with no other virtues than being white, male, straight, and rich. Virtues he would use to become president and likely turn America into one big ass flea market largely patronized by Russians.

Read the rest at Complex.

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I’m not in the habit of complimenting Sarah Silverman, a person whose regret about wearing blackface for a skit once is largely rooted in the notion that it was “taken out of context” years later on Twitter. Even so, I found myself grateful to her on the first night of the Democratic National Convention for saying what needed to be said. First, Silverman, one of the first celebrities to support Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid, expressed why she supported the Sanders campaign and why she will now be voting for Hillary Clinton in November. The comedian and actress was greeted with some cheers, though none loud enough to drown out the ferocious boos.

Minutes later, joined by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Silverman was again met with boos while speaking only to say with visible annoyance, “To the Bernie or Bust crowd, you’re being ridiculous.”

Finally, someone said it. Much like Sen. Claire McCaskill expressed on Tuesday’s edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, I did not anticipate Sanders’ biggest fans to walk into the convention with smiles on their faces as they toasted Hillary Clinton officially becoming the Democratic Party’s nominee for president. However, there should have been some nominal level of civility in certain moments.

Before Silverman made that statement, Sanders supporters booed every single person who dared to speak Clinton’s name. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) was booed and heckled as he spoke about his dead father and Black Lives Matter. Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), the newly named convention chairwoman in light of the DNC email scandal, was also met with a wall of boos.

“May I just make a point,” Fudge said. “There are many of you that do not know me in this room, but let me say to you, I intend to be fair. I want to hear the varying opinions here. I am going to be respectful of you and I want you to be respectful of me.”

She was not given that respect, nor were most of the speakers before and in some cases after Silverman. Not even prayer could be spared from booing once “Hillary Clinton” was spoken. I mean this from the very bottom of my heathen heart: you are a pathetic, despicable, waste of humanity if you cannot be bothered to silence your anger during a prayer.

While it doesn’t apply to all of Bernie’s supporters at the convention, certainly enough of them behaved like spoiled, entitled, naive lil’ brats. Making matters worse was that many of them interviewed on networks like MSNBC could not even explain their vitriol. Some mentioned TPP—a trade deal that critics claim would lead to more American jobs going abroad—even though Clinton no longer supports it and it was only kept in the Democratic platform at the behest of our current Democratic president. Who knew TPP was the deal breaker for so many Sanders supporters?

Meanwhile, Sanders managed to push for what has been rightly called the most progressive Democratic platform. Then there was mindless chatter from some supporters about how technically, Hillary Clinton is only the presumptive nominee. As if God—whom they essentially booed—was about to step down in Philadelphia and personally hand Sanders the nomination.

Silverman, to her credit, managed to be an adult in a room full of adult-aged people who may have gotten one too many participation awards, thus having some false sense of entitlement as to what happens to a losing campaign . She, as Sanders tried to remind his supporters earlier that day (which was met with his own round of boos), understands, “This is the real world that we live in.”

This is in stark contrast to two other celebrity Sanders supporters in Rosario Dawson and Susan Sarandon.

Read the rest at Complex.

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If systemic racism employed the services of a carnival barker, that person would sound exactly like former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. A fusion of buffoonery and bigotry, there are only two things Giuliani is known for when speaking to the media: invoking 9/11 and bashing Black people whenever news of racism and state-sanctioned violence hits. Speaking at the Republican National Convention on Monday night, Giuliani called for racial unity, saying “It’s time to make America one again: one America. What happened to: ‘There’s no black America. There’s no white America, there is just America?'” The irony, of course, is that Giuliani himself is responsible for perpetuating systemic racism.

One recent example of this is Giuliani’s appearance on CBS’ Face The Nation.

Though Giuliani feigned sympathy for the plight of the Black experience in America, he quickly opted to dismiss those who seek to improve it as he categorized the Black Lives Matter movement—which advocates against police brutality and calls for criminal justice reform—as “inherently racist.” Giuliani then went on to offer the thoughtless critique, “If you want to protect Black lives, then you’ve got to protect Black lives not just against police.”

Of course, this is typical Giuliani. In 2014, he said the following about the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown during an appearance on Meet The Press: “The fact is that I find it very disappointing that you’re not discussing the fact that 93 percent of Blacks in America are killed by other blacks. We are talking about the significant exception here [in the Brown case]. I’d like to see the attention paid to that that you are paying to this.”

Giuliani has repeated this sentiment whenever he has been called to appear on television to discuss unarmed Black people dying at the hands of the police—which is not that significant an exception given the additional lives that have been lost since Brown’s death. Even so, Americans have one of the highest murder rates in the industrialized world. And although we don’t have more actual crime than other wealthy nations, we have more violent crime specifically because we have greater access to guns. Of that violent crime, murder in America is largely intraracial as 90 percent of Black Americans are killed by other Black Americans and 83 percent of white Americans are killed by other white Americans.

Giuliani, as Jamelle Bouie once noted for Slate, “does not know crime as well as he thinks.” What Giuliani does know, however, is racism (stoking white fear of Blacks) for the purpose of campaigning and racist policy (the implementation of “stop and frisk”) when governing.

To wit, Giuliani went on to say on Face The Nation: “If I were a Black father and I was concerned about the safety of my child, really concerned about it and not in a politically activist sense, I would say be very respectful to the police, most of them are good, some can be very bad and just be very careful. I’d also say be very careful of those kids in the neighborhood, don’t get involved with them because son, there’s a 99 percent chance they’re going to kill you not the police.”

And of course, Giuliani blamed Black culture for racial tensions, claiming, “They sing rap songs about killing police officers and they talk about killing police officers and they yell it out at their rallies.”

This recalls Giuliani’s criticism of U.S. President Barack Obama in 2015, when he argued, “He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up, through love of this country.” Yeah, Giuliani’s dad was a mob enforcer who, along with his five brothers, all avoided military service during World War II. And since we’re on child-rearing, the reality is, when Giuliani’s daughter Caroline Giuliani was arrested for shoplifting in 2010she didn’t have to worry about dying in a prison cell like Sandra Bland. Instead, she was leisurely escorted out of the store while Bland, an unarmed black woman arrested during a traffic stop, was found hanged in her jail cell under mysterious circumstances. Bland’s arresting officer was later charged with perjury, but there were no indictments related to her death.

The same goes for the many, many Black men and women have been absolutely respectful to police and have subsequently died—like the very Black men who were gunned down by police that netted Giuliani yet another unfortunate booking on a national platform.

Read the rest at Complex.

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On Tuesday, a typical, but no less still unnecessarily combative, Omarosa Manigault spoke with MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts about her role in the orgy of audacious idiocy and political amateurism known as the Donald J. Trump for President campaign.

As Omarosa spoke very seriously about an unserious person, I noticed that she was listed as the “Vice Chair of Donald Trump’s National Diversity Coalition.” Who knew such a thing existed? After I stopped laughing, I watched a noticeably ticked off Omarosa shoo, shoo away Roberts’ question about her referring to herself as Trump’s “Valerie Jarrett” in a Washington Post interview that ran earlier this month.

Omarosa claimed the statement was “paraphrased,” but what sticks out most about that interview is the logic she employed to validate her involvement in Trump’s increasingly polarizing campaign.

Although Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks says Omarosa “doesn’t represent the campaign in an official capacity,” she is undoubtedly one of Trump’s strongest surrogates. So, why would a black woman voluntarily speak on behalf of the political ambitions of a man whose ideology is marinated in at least three forms of bigotry? According to Omarosa, “I’m the person who pulls him back when he goes too far.”

Since anyone paying attention can confirm that that is not going especially well, again, why be a part of this campaign in any fashion?

Omarosa says that while she can elect to leave “the room,” i.e., the place where key decisions for the campaign are made, there is a reason she sticks around. To Omarosa, “anyone that thinks we don’t need to be in those rooms is naive.” It takes a lot of confidence to speak in condescension, but confidence alone doesn’t make dubious statements any more convincing than they actually are.

To her credit, Omarosa is quite adept at sounding like actions done out of self-interest are rooted in principle. In this instance, that would be the belief that Donald J. Trump would make a capable president and that she’s involved to make sure he places his best foot forward in convincing a skeptical public of that reality. Unfortunately, I am not one who has ever fallen for the GOP illusion that businesspeople are uniquely qualified to hold elected office. However, even if Omarosa did genuinely believe that Trump would make a better president than Hillary Rodham Clinton, her statement is rooted in a belief that being present matters more than it has largely ever proven to be with Republicans.

That’s why Omarosa’s assertions are not particularly new. There are plenty of blacks, Latinos, women and members of the LGBT community who work with Republicans who would make the same argument. However, what did Michael Steele’s run as the head of the Republican National Committee do as far as getting Republicans to be more respectful toward black voters? It certainly did not get the bulk of them in Congress to have any more urgency in restoring the Voting Rights Act. Likewise, it did not get many Republicans to skip the bad habit of being grossly disrespectful to our nation’s first black president.

When it comes to women’s rights, the GOP gets an F. Actually, the party gets an F and a U, but you get it. The same grade is assigned for its record on LGBT rights, though oddly enough, Trump is arguably the most progressive Republican presidential candidate on the LGBT community by the very low barometer that is merely acknowledging us without complete contempt. As for Latinos, the bulk of the Republican Party has worked to actively thwart immigration reform for years. Couple that with Republican primary voters electing a man who wants to build a “big, beautiful wall” along the Mexican border, and sorry to inform Latino Republicans, but they don’t love ya, girl.

Read the rest at The Root.

 

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In the coming weeks and months and, surely, the years after President Barack Obama actually leaves office, much time will be spent examining his political legacy from all angles. Already, writers like me are examining the Obama record on LGBT issues, while others concentrate on his record on the economy, foreign policy and the environment. And although there are certainly some areas worthy of critique and debate—namely his record on deportation and tackling issues that directly speak to the plight of black people living in America—some have started to critique Obama for essentially not being a racism-solving unicorn.

Late last year, Issac J. Bailey wrote an essay titled, “Why Obama Must Reach Out to Angry Whites” for Politico. In it, Bailey, who is black, argued that in the wake of the political ascension of Donald Trump, it is up to Obama to solve lingering racial divisions in America. One assumes that a laugh track played in the background the entire time Bailey was writing, but that remains unconfirmed.

That said, Bailey claimed, “There is only one person who can unite the country again, and he works in the White House. Yes, President Barack Obama—ironically, the man who is the personification of the fear Trump is exploiting—is the one in the best position to quell the anger being stirred up.”

If you remember correctly, Obama’s historic presidential campaign was marked as the launch of post-racial America. White people predominantly said this while the black people they don’t speak to regularly, or ever, rolled their eyes and went about their days. It’s clear now which party won that argument.

Still, Bailey went on to write: “What he needs to do is use the power of the office in a different way, one that matches the ruthless effectiveness of a demagogue with a private jet. Obama needs to go on a listening tour of white America—to connect, in person, with Americans he has either been unable or unwilling to reach during his seven years in office.”

Bailey proceeds to then offer his own anecdotal evidence of how this strategy works, though, spoiler alert: Bailey is not the first black president of the United States; thus, his comparison is inherently flawed.

Exactly one week later, another piece like Bailey’s surfaced. This one was titled, “Ending racism should be Obama’s life mission as he exits presidency.” Here, Leonard Greene, another black man, proceeds to make the same mistake as Bailey. Greene writes, “If Obama is really serious about attacking America’s original sin, he should immediately abandon any thoughts about creating some kind of post-presidency global foundation.”

So what should Obama do?

Greene says, “Instead, the nation’s first black president should dedicate the rest of his life to working exclusively on trying to heal the racial divide.

To quote Eeyore, “Oh bother.”

Read the rest at The Root.

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Far too often, we are collectively thrilled with people conveying basic human decency or, in other cases, simply acknowledging the marginalized in ways typically not done by anyone who is a part of the majority. When I was a child, of all things I remember about Bill Clinton, one that sticks out most is this notion of him being our first black president. Clinton was called this because, as a Southern white man from meager means, he not only appreciated certain cultural mores typically associated with Southern black people but also perpetuated select tropes about blacks, like, say, coming from a single-parent household.

In the years following that comical claim, it’s been consistently noted that former President Clinton is not our first black president—notably in terms of both policy and the political ascension of our actual, first black president, Barack Obama. Unfortunately, in recent years, some members of the LGBT community—notably the white ones—have not learned from this mistake. In recent years, I’ve seen Obama hailed as “the first gay president.” This claim is rooted in Obama being arguably the most progressive president in our nation’s history with respect to LGBT rights.

It is a claim with complete and absolute merit.

In 2009 President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which gave the Justice Department the power to investigate and prosecute violence in which the perpetrator selected a victim based on many factors—including sexual orientation and gender identity.

A year later, Obama signed a memorandum that protects rights related to hospital visitation and health care decisions for LGBT people.

Of course, in 2011 the Obama administration ended “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” the military policy that prohibited qualified gay and lesbian Americans from openly serving in the armed forces.

In 2014 Obama signed an executive order that guaranteed the protection of transgender federal employees from workplace discrimination, while setting stronger standards for federal contractors. That same year, Obama issued additional restrictions in the United States’ bilateral relationship with Uganda over its passage of its “Anti-Homosexuality Act.”

In 2015 Obama made history as the first U.S. president to reference transgender people in a State of the Union address. Later that summer, Obama lectured Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta about his country’s gay-rights record. In a joint press conference, Obama explained: “When you start treating people differently not because of any harm they are doing to anybody, but because they are different, that’s the path whereby freedoms begin to erode. And bad things happen.”

There are many, many other examples that speak to the testament of the Obama administration’s commitment to advancing the quality of life among members of the LGBT community. Just this year, Obama is set to declare the first national monument recognizing the struggle of LGBT rights.

Of course, this list of accomplishments goes far beyond simply being decent and willing to acknowledge the disenfranchised. And yet, as instrumental as Obama has been on LGBT rights, when it comes to anointing him with labels like “the first gay president” or “the gay president,” it is prudent to remember that Obama is a politician. Yes, Obama is a shrewd politician, for sure, but a politician all the same.

Indeed, let us never forget that in order for Barack Obama to even become president, he had to feign disapproval of marriage equality at a time when it was not widely supported by the electorate at large.

Read the rest at The Root.

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