A toxic stew of prejudice & politics: Reagan, Trump And The Rancid Use Of Racism For Political Gain

Message to Trump: You can’t hide your racism. (LBWPhoto)

By Linn Washington, Jr.

A presidential candidate, nakedly pandering prejudice to win votes, holds a pivotal campaign rally in a locale infamous for a bloody incident of white racist violence.

Sounds like President Donald J. Trump’s decision to schedule a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the site of one of the worst incidents of mass racist violence in American history.

However, decades before Trump’s Tulsa ‘Dog Whistle’ to bigots in his base, the icon of the modern Republican Party – Ronald Reagan – launched his successful 1980 campaign for the U.S. presidency in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the locale of a brutal racist incident that inspired passage of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Thinly disguised bigotry underlies the Trump campaign’s selection of Tulsa as the site for the President’s first rally since the COVID-19 lockdown as surely as bigotry was an operational element in the selection of Philadelphia, Mississippi for Reagan’s speech that formally launched his general election campaign in 1980.

In May 1921, rampaging whites destroyed the prosperous Greenwood community in Tulsa known as the ‘Black Wall Street’ with burnings and bullets. Those rampaging racists received assistance from police in Tulsa.

Trump and top officials in his administration claim racism is not a core part of contemporary policing in America. Their contention defies the historic record.

The grand jury that investigated the 1921 Tulsa Riot declared there was “no mob spirit” by the whites who systematically conducted arson and murder in the Greenwood community. That grand jury white-wash defies the fact that Tulsa, in 1921, was home to the largest Ku Klux Klan chapter in Oklahoma that included a women’s auxiliary and a rare children’s chapter.

Trump received a KKK endorsement during his successful 2016 campaign. He tepidly distanced himself from that endorsement after widespread criticism for his failure to immediately disavow endorsement from that racist organization.

In June 1964 racists murdered three civil rights workers who were then in Mississippi as part of a campaign to register African Americans to vote in that state where decades of systemic discrimination viciously denied blacks their right to vote. Police aided those racist murderers.

The bullet riddled bodies of those civil rights workers – two whites and one black –were discovered buried in an earthen dam just a few miles from where Reagan delivered that August 1980 speech.

Reagan used that speech to pronounce his support for the systemic prejudice that civil rights advocates battled for decades to end. During that speech Reagan declared his support for “state’s rights.”

The phrase state’s rights was the rally cry of Southern segregations who assailed federal intervention to protect the constitutional rights of blacks. 

For the rest of this article by LINN WASHINGTON, JR. in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, six-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative new site, please go to: https://thiscantbehappening.net/reagan-trump-and-the-rancid-use-of-racism-for-political-gain/

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