I have reached a regrettable conclusion in the era of Trump. I no longer have hope in white America.
After White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was politely asked to leave a restaurant in Virginia, discussion among the largely white political and media classes erupted into a firestorm over “civility” in the Trump era. Those of us whose identities have made us the direct targets of the Trump administration’s hateful rhetoric and discriminatory policies are told to not stoop to President Trump’s level. We are then fed cherry-picked quotes from black luminaries, often the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. — “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars” — or a favorite from Michelle Obama’s convention speech: “When they go low, we go high.”
The whitewashed version of a heroic, nonconfrontational King ignores the fact that he favored direct action and confrontation, and was painted as an extremist in his time. White Americans hated and jailed him. And ultimately, it was a white American who murdered him in broad daylight.