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The Trump Administration Continues to Disrespect Black Women

The behavior of President Donald Trump and his administration illustrates an ongoing disregard for Black women.

We are sick and tired of women being undermined, being dismissed,” Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) said Monday on MSNBC’s “The Beat.” She added, “And, Black women in particular being called names.”

The 17 women of the Congressional Black Caucus issued a statement demanding White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly apologize to Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) for sharing a false story about her, as he attempted to defend Trump, to portray Wilson as a grandstanding politician.

We were appalled by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s statements where he called Congresswoman Wilson an ‘empty barrel’ and accused her of taking credit for securing funding for a new FBI Building in Miramar, Florida,” the statement says.

MSNBC Host Ari Melber asked Waters, “Was [Wilson] being treated differently because of her race and her gender?”

I think the fact that, first of all, [Trump] called her ‘whacky,’” Waters said. “Secondly, that he didn’t back down. That he simply talked about her in a way that was not respectful.”

Only 4 percent of Black women voted for Trump in 2016. Former First Lady Michelle Obama was particularly critical of Trump, without ever mentioning him by name. Trump trying to discredit the statements of Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson who was killed Oct. 4 with three other soldiers in Niger, solidified for many Black women the reason why they didn’t vote for him.

Trump tweeted:

 

Back in April, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) suggested that the racist scrutiny Obama was subjected to as the first Black first lady had been publicly reemerging.

 

Lee tweeted:

 

The president and his supporters launched an attack on former National Security Advisor Susan Rice based on unsubstantiated reports that she illegally, and for political purposes, “unmasked” Trump associates caught up in a surveillance operation. Republican Sen. Tom Cotton has referred to Rice as “the Typhoid Mary of the Obama Administration.” Trump said Rice committed a criminal act.

 

Last month, Rice testified before House lawmakers saying she “unmasked the identities of senior Trump officials to understand why the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates was in New York late last year,” according to CNN.

Committee member Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) said of Rice’s testimony: “I didn’t hear anything to believe that she did anything illegal.”

In March, former Fox News host and friend of Trump Bill O’Reilly mocked Waters on air while watching a video of the congresswoman giving a speech on the House floor against the racist behavior of some Trump supporters.

I didn’t hear a word she said,” O’Reilly said. “I was looking at the James Brown wig.”

His disparaging comment inspired a viral hashtag dedicated to the experiences of Black women in the workplace.

The same day Waters was insulted, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer reprimanded journalist April Ryan. He told her at one point to “stop shaking your head” as he was answering her question.

A high-profile Black woman in Trump’s administration, Omarosa Manigault, director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison, is said to be on her way out.

Her days are numbered, but Trump is trying to give her time to resign,” a source told The New York Daily News.

In regard to Trump’s treatment of Wilson and Johnson, Waters said it reflects his demeanor toward people of color in general.

[Trump] seems to have this tendency to talk down to people of color, to treat them with disrespect,” she said. “And I think this adds to it.”

I think this adds to the suspicion of him and the way that he thinks about minorities, and Black people in particular.”

Recently, Trump has been calling for the firing of NFL players, who are predominantly Black, who kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality, a move initiated by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016.

At a rally on Sept. 22 in Alabama, Trump said:

Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now.’ Out! He’s fired.”

At a DiversityInc event last month, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. said Trump’s comment essentially disrespected the mothers of the athletes.

So now Trump comes and says to ‘fire the son of a bitch,’” Jackson said.

Black mothers are not bitches, they’re queens who produce champions. They’re not bitches who produce thugs.”

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White American men are a bigger domestic terrorist threat than Muslim foreigners

Since Trump took office, more Americans have been killed by white American men with no connection to Islam than by Muslim terrorists or foreigners.

Jennifer Williams This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Las Vegas police stand guard along the streets outside the Route 91 Harvest Country music festival grounds on October 1, 2017, in Las Vegas, Nevada. David Becker/Getty Images

When President Donald Trump signed his since-revised executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, he claimed it was to protect Americans from "radical Islamic terrorists."

"We don't want 'em here," Trump told reporters at the Pentagon, where he signed the order in January.

But in the eight months since Trump took office, more Americans have been killed in attacks by white American men with no connection to Islam than by Muslim terrorists or foreigners.

Radical Islamic terrorists inspired or directed by groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda do pose a clear threat to the US. There is no question about that. Before last night's deadly shooting in Las Vegas, the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history occurred in June 2016 when an ISIS-inspired man opened fire a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people and wounding 53.

And ISIS-linked militants have killed or injured dozens of people in countries like England, France, and Canada so far this year, including two women killed in a stabbing attack in Marseille, France, and several people injured in a car-ramming attack in Edmonton, Canada, just this weekend.

But here at home, the bigger threat has come from a very different kind of attacker, one with no ties to religion generally or Islamist extremism specifically.

Here are just a few of the attacks that have occurred in 2017:

 

Sunday night, a 64-year-old white man from Nevada opened fire on a crowd of more than 22,000 people at a country music festival in Las Vegas, killing more than 50 and wounding more than 200.

In August, a 20-year-old white Nazi sympathizer from Ohio sped his car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing a woman and injuring at least 19 others.

In June, a 66-year-old white man from Illinois shot at Republican Congress members during an early morning baseball practice, severely wounding several people including Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the House of Representatives Majority Whip.

In March 2017, a 28-year-old white man from Baltimore traveled to New York City with the explicit aim of killing black men. He stabbed 66-year-old Timothy Caughman to death and was charged with terrorism by New York state authorities.

In May, a 35-year-old white man from Oregon named Jeremy Joseph Christian began harassing Muslim teenagers on a train in Portland, telling them "We need Americans here!" Two men interceded; Christian then stabbed and killed them both.

In fact, between 2001 and 2015, more Americans were killed by homegrown right-wing extremists than by Islamist terrorists, according to a study by New America, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, DC.

A June 2017 study by Reveal and the Center for Investigative Reporting found a similar pattern:

Even the "radical Islamic terrorists" are usually US citizens

In Trump's very first speech to Congress, he claimed that "the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country."

But none of the perpetrators of the major US terrorist attacks carried out in the name of Islam in the past 15 years have come from the nations on Trump's travel ban (either the original one or the new, revised version that was released late last month). In fact, the country home to the biggest number of terrorists who have carried out successful attacks inside the US is the US itself.

The San Bernardino shooting that killed 14 people was carried out by an American-born US citizen of Pakistani descent and a lawful permanent US resident of Pakistani descent. The Orlando nightclub shooter who murdered 49 people was an American-born US citizen of Afghan descent. The Boston marathon bombers, who identified as ethnic Chechen, came to the US from Kyrgyzstan and grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, before carrying out attacks that left three dead. Faisal Shahzad, the attempted Times Square bomber, was Pakistani-American. Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 people at Fort Hood in 2009, was born in Virginia to Palestinian parents.

And as my colleague Zack Beauchamp has written, the average likelihood of an American being killed in a terrorist attack in which an immigrant participated in any given year is one in 3.6 million - even including the 9/11 deaths. The average American is more likely to die from their own clothing or a toddler with a gun than an immigrant terrorist. But we're not banning guns and T-shirts from coming into the country.

Adopting extremist views and committing horrendous acts of violence in the name of some "righteous" cause, be it religion or politics or just plain old hatred, isn't something that only Muslims, or Arabs, or immigrants, or any other group of people do. It's something humans do.

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Donald Trump thought targeting NFL players with his racialized venom would be smart politics. He was wrong.

The 1960s and ’70s saw a hurricane of political athletes: legends like Muhammad Ali, John Carlos, Tommie Smith, Curt Flood, and Billie Jean King. But nothing, literally nothing, in the history of sports and politics can compare to what happened on Sunday.

Expressions of dissent broke out in every single NFL game during the playing of the national anthem. Some players kneeled, some sat, some raised fists, and some linked arms. But all of them were standing in opposition to Donald Trump. Announcers and commentators discussed their actions sympathetically. The booing one might expect from fans was sparse. Two anthem singers—a black man in Detroit and a white woman in Tennessee—took a knee during the last note of the song. How did this happen? How did the sport that—from ownership down—has historically been associated with the most conservative politics see this maelstrom of united discontent?

It starts with Colin Kaepernick, and it ends with understanding the “brotherhood” that exists in NFL locker rooms. Kaepernick, of course, is the blackballed (or whiteballed) free-agent NFL quarterback who took a knee and protested during the anthem last season to highlight the issue of police violence. I can say unequivocally from my reporting that, while only a small group of NFL players joined Kaepernick in this protest last season, the respect he garnered throughout the community of players for doing it week after week for four straight months, weathering all kinds of brutal criticism, was deep. Kaepernick lit the match. It was kept alight earlier this season by players like Seattle Seahawk Michael Bennett, Philadelphia Eagle Malcolm Jenkins, Oakland Raider Marshawn Lynch, and a dozen members of the Cleveland Browns and others, but the gasoline was poured upon this flame by Donald Trump on Friday. People no doubt are aware of what should be known as “the Alabama speech,” in which he called for protesting NFL players to be fired and referred to anyone who protested as a “son of a bitch.”

It starts with Colin Kaepernick, and it ends with understanding the brotherhood that exists in NFL locker rooms.

This is where we get to the question of solidarity. Donald Trump never played football, and therefore does not understand what Bennett calls “the brotherhood.” Football players are very tight-knit as a community. It’s certainly not always a positive solidarity, most pointedly seen in the reticence of players to speak out when a teammate commits an act of violence against women, as well as in the pressure to play when hurt, which often comes from your “brothers,” not coaches. But this “brotherhood” also means that when someone threaten the livelihoods of the players and disrespect their families, they will stand as one.

From Trump’s perspective—leader of, as former NFL player Adalius Thomas called it in a scathing critique of Trump on MSNBC, “The Divided States of America”—these players probably seemed like a smart target. Trump reserves his greatest venom for black people and women—as we have seen time and again—and certainly thought that going after wealthy black athletic dissenters was a clever move. But it didn’t line up as he had hoped. First the union came out strongly in defense of players and challenged management to do the same. Then team owners and Roger Goodell came out—far less strongly, but still making it perfectly clear what side they were on. Even though their comments were not exactly fiery, they stood with the dissenting players. This matters, when we consider just how many of these owners supported Trump in the campaign. (If they were truly on the side of angels, not to mention meritocracy, they wouldn’t just talk the talk, but they’d sign Colin Kaepernick.)

Then this tumult spilled over into the Sunday morning shows. People like former NFL player Anquan Boldin had a platform on ABC News to say, “I don’t like the hate speech that is coming out of [Trump’s] mouth. Neither do the players in the locker room.”

Seahawk wide receiver Doug Baldwin shamed Trump with a statement so eloquent one wondered why he couldn’t be president.

Then there was the declaration of the entire Seahawks organization, on team letterhead, which read, “As a team we have decided we will not participate in the national anthem. We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed in continuing to work towards freedom and equality for all.”

But even beyond these voices, there was also Fox announcer—and Southern NFL icon—Terry Bradshaw, who said, “Not sure if our president understands those rights, that every American has the right to speak out and also to protest.”

Then there was former NFL coach Rex Ryan, a vocal Trump supporter who campaigned for the man. He said, “I’m pissed off I’ll be honest. I supported Trump, and I’m appalled at these comments. SOBs? Not the men that I know.”

One could certainly be forgiven for wondering what Trump he was watching during the campaign. But all of it speaks to the very intense, if at times deeply distorted, sense of solidarity that exists throughout the league at every level.

This is what Trump lacked the capacity to understand—and the divider in chief painted himself into a corner. For one day, the NFL was united.

The line of the day that explained it all was said by ESPN NFL commentator and future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson. He said, “This is choose-your-side Sunday. It really is. And what side are you on?”

When it comes to the NFL, that “side” does not involve standing with Donald Trump. In the 1960s, athletes made history. On Sunday, a new link was forged.

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