After watching President Donald Trump get his talking point wrong about Frederick Douglass’ current status on earth, I percolated the idea of creating daily posts of the humorous sort about Trump’s Alternative Black History — but ultimately decided against this route.
First — mentalunrest’s (deliberate lowercase M here) editorial policy tells me to cover topics not explored by most, and I think social media is doing a fine job of spinning creative nonfiction about how much Trump really understands the contributions of African descendants.
Second — I’m looking beyond the Frederick Douglass gaffe to observe the way Trump is rewriting Black history in more dangerous ways.
But let’s quickly deal with Douglass, and then cover something more urgent.
For various reasons, I write tons of copy for a broad range of of web, print and media channels. I also proof the work of others on occasion.
During my engagements with the writings of others, I’ve found that people will mix up “has [verb]” and “[past tense verb]” in their sentences.
So, is Trump truly ignorant of Black history when he said Douglass “has done an amazing job,” or is the President simply Hooked on Phonics?
I don’t know. Either can be possible.
A friend of mine made an on-point observation a few weeks ago: how much reading, history and grammar did an immensely-privileged Trump have to study as a kid? It’s not like he didn’t have a guaranteed job waiting for him when school ended.
But while we make jokes about Trump’s grasp of history, something more dangerous is brewing: the President may remove White extremist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan from the federal government’s domestic terrorism focus.
This is almost like watching a slow-motion remix of The Birth of a Nation.
According to Reuters, the Trump administration plans to change the scope of the federal government’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program from battling all extremist ideologies in favor of a narrower focus: “radical Islam.”
Reuters also reports that the program’s name will change to “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism.”
Allow me to emphasize that Team Trump has not yet confirmed the Reuters piece.
Assuming this report is true, defocusing the KKK, et al, from the DVE program means Trump has taken a step towards effectively legitimizing the same brand of domestic White extremism that has championed America’s “Killing Fields” since the early days of African descendants’ fragile post-emancipation progress.
In favor of ditching “political correctness,” Trump’s move would also legitimize current White extremists who are responsible for most of the current-day acts of domestic terrorism.
This means future Dylan Roofs will receive more than hamburger dinners for shooting innocent Black church worshippers.
These people and their deadly legacies have now received the gift of deliberate revisionist ignorance. And this will lead to more acts of White extremist violence without proactive tools to prevent them.
What’s left to observe is whether or not the scope of additional anti-terror programs will change.
Welcome to the real world of Trump’s Alternative Black History …
song currently stuck in my head: “Where are you this morning jazz” – the rongetz foundation feat. gary bartz and sonia sanchez