Whitewashing of Black Holidays

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Whitewashing of Black Holidays

Afia Somiah, Writer

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This past Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed when I came across this photo of an MLK statue wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat. According to an article by The Hill, the picture was posted to Instagram by “students4trump,” a pro-Trump student group at the University of South Florida.

This picture displays yet another attempt at whitewashing black culture. This picture is a reminder that nothing of black culture – not even a holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. – has any value until white people appropriate it. And when white people take on black culture, they often do so in a way that perverts our culture’s beauty and blackness. They strip it of its ingenuity, reducing it to a social media trend. In doing so, they disregard the millions of black people that fought and died to preserve their identities.

In his famous “I Have A Dream” speech, Dr. King elaborated on how, despite being a hundred years out of slavery, black people in the United States were still far from being equal. He offered up hopes of a future in which people of all races could live in harmony, a future in which individuals would be judged “not by the color of their skin, but by the contents of their character” – a future in which people of all races, ethnicities, and religions had equal access to the same opportunities and resources. Dr. King died fighting for this future, which unfortunately, is still yet to come.

To place a Trump hat on a Dr. King statue displays an insurmountable lack of respect towards Dr. King’s life and his accomplishments. Donald Trump has repeatedly marginalized minorities. During Barack Obama’s presidency, Trump claimed that Obama was not a U.S. citizen, going so far so as to demand that Obama show his birth certificate. Trump has repeatedly referred to Mexicans as criminals, which has served as the basis for Trump supporters’ rallying cry of “build the wall!” On International Holocaust Remembrance Day last year, Trump made a speech without ever actually mentioning Jewish people. During a White House event to honor Navajo veterans, Trump took to the stage to call Elizabeth Warren the racial slur “Pocahontas.” In early January 2018, Trump allegedly expressed anger over the arrival of immigrants from “shithole countries.” These are only a handful of the times in which Trump has slighted minorities. Through his spread of negative stereotypes and racist language, Trump has done nothing but undermine the minority cause.

Trump’s motto “Make America Great Again” is touted by racists, Neo-Nazis, and white supremacists alike. Bigots have claimed “Make America Great Again” as their motto for an anti-Semitic, anti-black, pro-white state with Donald Trump as their figurehead. Trump represents an America in which anyone who is not white, Christian, or heterosexual is reduced to a second-class citizen. Trump represents the exact same America that Martin Luther King Jr. fought so hard against.

Anyone who has studied Dr. King in any depth would have the common sense to know that Trump’s actions directly conflict with Dr. King’s lifelong fight for equality. They would have the common decency to not disrespect Martin Luther King Jr. by branding his statue with such hateful words.

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