a “Black Woman” Problem
April Ryan. Maxine Waters. Jemele Hill. Federica Wilson. Myeshia Johnson. All of these African-American women have been the targets of nasty and negative Tweets from the “President.” The “support-Trump-no-matter-what” base will say, “Oh, c’mon. Don’t you see how he attacks Bob Corker?” But Bob Corker is a U.S. Senator, a white man in a powerful position --- who is not running for re-election and has nothing to lose. What we need to take note of in Trump’s attacks on these women was articulated by Midwin Charles in Essence (Oct. 20, 2017):
Since taking office in January, Trump and his administration have made it a point to demean Black women on a public stage, especially when that woman challenges White male authority. At a time when black women bury their sons and daughters as a result of gun violence, police brutality and service to this country, the lack of respect from this president is unbearable. Worse, he sets a dangerous precedent on how black women should be perceived and treated in America.
Trump shows, once again, that he sees his “pulpit” not as “bully” but as a “bullying” one --- particularly if his perceived “enemy” is a Black woman. As Jamelle Bouie noted in Slate:
Whether it’s a knowing choice from the president or it stems from his utter lack of restraint, the attacks reflect his twin contempt for women and nonwhites. Trump pushes back against most criticism, but when it comes from a prominent black woman, the response is more aggressive, more interested in making a spectacle — and an example.
We need to remember this “President’s” history regarding women (“you can grab them by the pussy”) and people of color. Eugene Scott noted in the Washington Post on October 23, 2017: “Former national security adviser Susan E. Rice, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile have also found themselves on the receiving end of Trump's criticism in ways that, some believe, are different than his hits on those who are not black women.” Given what we have observed from our Chief Executive, we know that he cannot take criticism and he clearly does not see women and nonwhite people as his “equal” (just take a look at his Cabinet!).
The latest dust-up, involving Representative Wilson and Myeshia Johnson, the widow of the Sergeant killed in Niger, has proven all the worse because it dragged Chief of Staff John Kelly into the fray. In the Washington Post story Scott says, “White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly sought to defend his boss from Wilson last week and ended up sharing a false story aimed at painting Wilson as a self-serving politician. Black women in Congress are now calling on Kelly to apologize.” Like his boss, though, it seems Kelly is incapable of publicly apologizing for a blatant lie. Do these people forget that we live in an age where everything is on audio/video recordings somewhere? Or are they simply so arrogant that they believe they can simply LIE and get away with it?
What makes this worse is that Trump’s actions gain traction among his low-information voters who only believe Trump and Fox News. As noted in Quartz Media by Heather Timmons (October 23, 2017):
Trump using his perch as president and the resources of the White House to target black women is particularly chilling because the consequences include a barrage of threats and abuse from Trump’s far-right supporters. Since the White House criticized Wilson, her office has been overwhelmed with threatening phone calls and one man in Illinois was visited by police after he said on Facebook he was looking for “ten good men to help carry out a lynching.” Pro-Trump discussion groups are mocking her, and now Johnson.
The Divider-in-Chief revels in firing up the Breitbart/Bannon base, driving its thinly veiled white supremacist agenda forward. “In exit polls from Election Day, 76 percent of black women said they were ‘scared’ of a Trump win. And in a Gallup poll the summer before the election, 72 percent of black women said they ‘strongly agreed’ that they were afraid of what would happen if their preferred candidate did not win the election.” (Scott, Washington Post 10/23/17) Clearly we are seeing that African-American women are not surprised by Trump’s actions --- they saw it coming.
So did Malcolm X, of course. Years ago Malcolm said: “The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.” It’s 2017 and I would contend that quote still holds true.
One last note about the Trumps. Back in 2011 Donald Jr. used Twitter (like father, like son?) to criticize a speech by Representative Frederica Wilson against the Tea Party. Trump, Jr., however, mis-identified the Congresswoman (apparently, to the Trumps, “they all look alike”) and made a degrading comment to boot.
Whats w bedazzled red cowboy hat Maxine Watters is wearing criticizing T party? Easier 2 take u seriously when u dont look like a stripper;) August 24, 2011
Apples don’t fall far from the Twitter Tree and it’s not difficult to see the insidious pattern this administration has established regarding African-American women. #Resist.