Go Back to Africa! Make America Hate Again. ——- Gregory Allen Howard
I first heard Go back to Africa! yelled at me by other 8-year-olds in the schoolyard in a small Bay Area town. I didn’t understand what they meant. Our family was from Virginia. Africa? It took some explaining from my mother to grasp the meaning of the taunt. Over the years of my youth, I heard it again from time to time. I came to understand its origins in hate and ignorance.
Yet never, ever in my wildest dreams could I have conceived that the leader of the free world, the most powerful man on the planet, would repeat the slur, “Go back to Africa,” as Trump did referencing Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, an American citizen born in Somalia. Coming from the President of the United States, this was a nuke dropped on the body politic of America. We are through the looking glass now, never to return. The boil of race hatred has been lanced and we will be choking on the pus for decades to come.
As a Navy kid, I grew up surrounded by trailer park whites, not Southern rednecks, blue collar and poor whites from the heartland. They were not rabid, vicious racists of the South. No, the crackers I grew up with were more ignorant of race than malicious about it. They simply looked at us as the other.
What Trump uttered is that it is not generally heard in the South. They didn’t want us to go anywhere. We were their slaves and then their cheap labor. Don’t go back to Africa. Keep your ass here and take care of my kids. Collect the garbage. Harvest my crops.
No, the slur, “Go back to where you came from,” is a product of the North, usually uttered by the descendants of European immigrants. Indeed, imagine the joy of the Irish and Italian immigrants who were processed through Ellis Island when they found out that there was actually a group of people lower on the social scale than them... us, black folks. These new immigrants reasoned, “I’m from Italy. Because you’re black, you’re from Africa. Or, in the case of Trump’s grandfather, “I’m from Germany. You’re from Africa.”
By taking this slur from the mouths of children and miscellaneous bigots, Trump is playing with fire, unleashing a monster. The result will be racial bloodshed. It will happen; it’s just a matter of when. It will need some time to marinate in the brains of zealots, but now that it’s been authorized, memorialized by the President, we can count the days before blood will flow in the streets. It will be horrible, worse than what happened in Charlottesville. There will be multiple incidents particularly because Trump is having so much fun fanning the flames. And Trump has the full support of the party of Lincoln which is now the party of hate, division, and white supremacy.
There is only one issue in 2020: Will we continue Trump’s racist dictatorship or return to a lawful democratic republic?
I hope America makes the right choice this time. And I pray it’s not too late.
© Copyright 2019 by Gregory Allen Howard. All Rights Reserved.