A few years ago my son and I were attending a Sunday service at the Albuquerque Indian Baptist Mission here in my neighborhood. The regular church pastor, who is Creek/Arikara, was out of town and he invited a guest speaker to give the sermon. It was an older white gentleman who was a former coach. As he began speaking he made the comment that times had changed in America – for the worse. He said something to the effect that this country was not the same as he once knew it.
I listened and he kept on making references to people not being as courteous to one another as they once were, and that neighbors on his street barely knew one another’s name or each other’s family members. Teenagers lacked respect for their elders and so on. As I read between the lines of his message it struck me what it was that was making me uneasy. He wanted to go back to a simpler time in America when things were more segregated — a time when there wasn’t so much diversity in our society.
I was reminded of that Sunday morning message when I saw a picture on my Facebook feed of four white women at a Trump rally and their t-shirts read: “Make-America-White-Again” — with a not-so-subliminal link to Trump’s rallying cry “Make America Great Again.” Even though the photo has been refuted and Trump supporters say it was photo-shopped, it wasn’t so far-fetched that at first sight it made perfect sense.
That’s what is driving this Trump phenomenon as he tries to snatch the Republican nomination for President. The unspoken mantra among many white people is they long for the days when they, and only they, ruled the roost. Civil rights, Native rights, Gay rights, Women’s rights – dammit, what about White rights? That’s when America was great and we can make America great again, by God. Black lives matter, well white lives matter more. It says so right there in the Holy Scriptures.
The problem with white privilege is that when that’s all you know and you’re comfortable with it; then you’re confronted with an equality movement that you didn’t necessarily see coming, you probably do feel like you are being discriminated against. Trump has tapped into that emotion, although we all know white privilege is not going away anytime soon. It may get ugly in Cleveland (I should say uglier) during the GOP convention this summer. But why is this campaign so highly charged?
Native Americans are all-too-familiar with double-speak coming from the white man’s forked tongue. It’s been scientifically proven that many white straight males have evolved over time and are now able to speak out of both sides of their mouths at the same time. Let’s “Make America Great (White) Again.” Sometimes I listen to these guys speak real closely and try to uncover their ventriloquism, but it’s really hard to catch it.
Let me clarify. I like white people. Some of my best friends are white. I don’t hate anyone. It’s simply not healthy for the soul. I grew up in a little Oklahoma town that was 95 percent white. But my siblings and I excelled athletically and academically. We weren’t subjected to out and out racism, although the subtle discrimination against the Indians in my community wasn’t realized until later in life. I grew up with white boys. I could beat them on the athletic field and court. I got the attention of their girlfriends, and that’s why I do not have an inferiority complex. Enough said before I get myself into trouble.
I have news for you White America. America will never be white again — through your nostalgic lenses. In fact, minorities will be the majority in a couple of decades here in the great USA. A revolution has already happened. Send all your wealth to offshore banks. It doesn’t matter. If your definition of Make America Great Again is white domination, it’s not going to happen, unless you totally segregate yourselves from the rest of us.
Maybe you guys can build a space station on Mars and move there. That would make the rest of us who have had to put up with your holier-than-thou attitudes and behaviors for the last millennium justified that you never really belonged here in the first place. Amen.
Harlan McKosato is a citizen of the Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma. He is the director of NDN Productions, an independent media production company based in Albuquerque.