Black And White

If you were to do one of those “man on the street” polls,  asking “what are the qualities that make some people superior,” it’s likely you’d get a response listing behaviors that our culture considers admirable: kindness, generosity, honesty, civility. Some people might identify intelligence, excellence in a chosen field, or possession of a particular talent.

I really doubt that anyone would say that white skin makes people superior. Yet that is clearly the belief motivating the various alt-right eruptions we are experiencing–and even more clearly, the belief that animates Donald Trump and triggers his seething resentment of accomplished African-Americans.

A self-image so dependent upon something as irrelevant and accidental as skin color signals a monumental lack of self-awareness–and invites some very unflattering comparisons.

Take Trump’s childish tweet demeaning LeBron James.

James athletic prowess is well-known, and it has made him wealthy, but it is his generosity and concern for children in his home town of Akron that has generated widespread recognition and respect. Trump’s petty put-down came as James was being applauded for establishing and funding a school for disadvantaged children.

As SB Nation notes, the school is different from other local public schools in that it will have a longer school year, and have a “focus on accelerated learning to bring kids up to speed who otherwise might be lagging.” There are activities for students to prevent too much down time which might cause them to get in trouble outside of school. And there are services to help students deal with stress related to their home situations. But here’s what’s also really amazing about the school—it also has services for parents, including job placement assistance and a food bank.

This is not the first time that James has invested in the kids of Akron. Three years ago, his LeBron James Family Foundation announced that they were investing in an initiative to pay for the college tuition for 1,000 local kids. He has also funded a program that has provided school supplies, computers and bikes to keep kids motivated to do their homework and get good grades. Apparently, bikes were an important part of James’s childhood that allowed him to thrive in spite of the dangers in his community. Thus, he’s also giving each I Promise student a bike at the start of the school year.

The contrast with Trump–whose own family foundation is being sued amid charges of self-dealing– could hardly be greater.

The lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, culminated a nearly two-year investigation of Mr. Trump’s charity, which became a subject of scrutiny during and after the 2016 presidential campaign. While such foundations are supposed to be devoted to charitable activities, the petition asserts that Mr. Trump’s was often improperly used to settle legal claims against his various businesses, even spending $10,000 on a portrait of Mr. Trump that was hung at one of his golf clubs.

The foundation was also used to curry political favor, the lawsuit asserts. During the 2016 race, the foundation became a virtual arm of Mr. Trump’s campaign, email traffic showed, with his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, directing its expenditures, even though such foundations are explicitly prohibited from political activities.

During the campaign, reporters found that the Trump Foundation had made few actual charitable donations–and those it did make tended to serve other purposes (raising Trump’s public profile or ingratiating him with someone whose help or approval he needed.)

I’m not a psychiatrist and I don’t play one on TV, but research literature suggests that racism and misogyny often accompany deep feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. Trump’s obsession with obliterating Obama’s legacy, his cheap shots at women (especially black women), his mean-spirited attempts to diminish people who are far more accomplished than he is, his constant bragging and repeated reminders that he won the election are pathetic efforts to reassure himself that he’s really superior.

He really, really isn’t. And most Americans have noticed.


  1. Someone has made the argument that because Barack Obama’s father was black and his mother white, we could just as logically say that he is arguably white as people do that he is black. Now consider that about 50,000 years ago a small group of humans who were anatomically equivalent to us left Ethiopia and migrated into the Near East and then Europe. They are the ones whose descendants painted pictures on the walls of caves in Spain and France. We are all genetically related to t

    So, we are genetically related to that group of Africans, and it is logically safe to say that every human being on the planet is arguably part black.

  2. “…research literature suggests that racism and misogyny often accompany deep feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. ”

    “A self-image so dependent upon something as irrelevant and accidental as skin color signals a monumental lack of self-awareness–and invites some very unflattering comparisons.”

    “Take Trump’s childish tweet demeaning LeBron James.”

    I singled these specific quotes out to bring this issue home to Indianapolis where the strides forward during the 1970s – 1980s and into the 1990s are on a serious backsliding trend that deeply worries and frightens me. Here is where I will piss off many with my observations but so be it. I will make the disclaimer of reminding many that I have actively gone against racism since the 1950s with my choice of friends, interracial marriages and have biracial great-grandchildren. I watch the local news each morning and almost each morning there is a “shooting segment” of the news. I also watch that it is primarily Black on Black killing and I wonder why; I also wonder if the media is downplaying or covering up white violent crimes…it has been done before. This morning there were 3 more deaths, one unspecified cause, the 105th and 106th shooting deaths since January 1, 2018. Decades ago, Director Sam Jones of the Indianapolis Urban League went on the air to beg those involved to stop the Black on Black violence here. Our murder rate in this city has hit historical number for this is the 3rd year in a row. This state is known for having the laxest gun laws in the country. Does anyone else make a connection?

    Is it consequential that those 3 years include Trump’s political campaign and his 18 months in office; all of which, both openly and at times covertly, been racist in nature. During his campaign he approved and unleashed racism, bigotry and encouraged violence; has that brought about our local violence, primarily involving Blacks. If the media here is to be believed; it is only Rev. Harrison of Barnes Methodist Church and his Ten Point Coalition who appear to be doing anything to alleviate the local killings and other crimes with IMPD minimal support in our highest crime areas.

    LeBron James is an icon; in much more important areas than basketball, he has used his fame on the courts and the money resulting in that fame to help others and, to my knowledge, he has not specified that educational help go only to Black children. Aretha Franklin should be more than her incredible voice to all; she inspired girls and women of all races to stand proud. Maxine Waters, John Lewis, Corey Booker and our own Andre Carson and Dana Black who has made a name for herself in our local Democratic party should be inspirations to Black and white alike. Their messages should be heard and followed; their words are a bulwark against Trump, Pence, Sessions, Kavannaugh and all in government who are so determined to stop registration and voting by Blacks. We are already back to Jim Crow laws with the aid of Congress and SCOTUS.

    Those of us on the blog who are local; Indianapolis and Indiana, how can we make a difference at the national level when we are failing here at home? In my own small east side neighborhood I notice that more and more Blacks are moving in and I am proud to see it happening in this once white enclave with only one way in or out. But; as I pass on my daily walks I see them look away or ignore my smile, my wave or my hello. Just as they cannot “help” being born Black, I cannot “help” being born white; I look at them and I see neighbors, I fear they look at me and see an enemy.

    Why should LeBron James be doing the government’s work as Trump, et al, work to destroy the country?

    VOTE BLUE! It will only be a first step but it will be moving us in the right direction.

  3. I’d like to think “most Americans have noticed” but we live in the land of Trump/Pence. They can do no wrong even when they are stealing money from the poor and granny.

    Wait until after the midterms when attacks on the social safety net resume. Trump just eliminated significant revenue from the budget (tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest Americans) yet is crying over our deficit. He’s coming for social security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.

    It’s Robin Hood in reverse.

    Offsetting low self-esteem and personal insecurities is an inflated EGO which blocks out our defaults. Demeaning others or “barbed gossip” are shortcuts to feeling better about ourselves.

    Real personal growth is Knowing Thy Self and being open to change. When you’re already perfect, there’s not much room to grow.

    Herbert Spencer once said:

    “There is a principal
    which is proof against all information,
    which is proof against all arguments,
    which cannot fail to keep man in
    everlasting ignorance;
    that principal is –
    Contempt prior to investigation!”

    Closed-mindedness is the opposite of being liberal or open-minded…this simple quote explains Trumpians; closed-minded or ignorant. If people truly understood the motives of the Koch brothers, you’d know why they absolutely must prey on the ignorant. Voting against your self-interest or self-preservation requires a complete lack of awareness.

  4. Off topic but I just got a facebook notification that Sheila Kennedy has posted the first time in a while. ha ha. I’ve been busy and haven’t had time to post but I thought that was funny coming from facebook.

    Everything lately is upside down. Right is wrong, wrong is right, truth isn’t truth. It’s too bad IQ45 wears his racism on his sleeve (and tweets to keep himself in the news). It’s truly amazing how awful things have gotten politically over there. Europe doesn’t have much air conditioning for this heat wave that seems to never let up but we have saner folks here living their lives without 45’s shit falling out of their mouth. My mother and I won’t even waste our breath on that cruel human that poses as our POTUS. If only we could get him to resign.

  5. It would be nice to see the media try a little experiment. Don’t cover 45 so much. Don’t show his rallys. Don’t send top reporters to White House press briefings. Ignore his twitter feed. That would give us all a much needed respite from the insanity. We could see if that might cause a change in behavior. He acts like a two year old so let’s give him a time out.

  6. Todd,

    “If people truly understood the motives of the Koch brothers, you’d know why they absolutely must prey on the ignorant. Voting against your self-interest or self-preservation requires a complete lack of awareness.”

    Ditto. No change will be possible until PEOPLE [not talking about the ignorant]TRULY UNDERSTAND THE MOTIVES OF THE KOCH BROTHERS. That’s an imperative, even if the Democratic Party should prevail in November.

    From “How Democracies Die” by Steven Livitsky and Daniel Ziblatt (Crown Publishing Group, New York, 2018):

    “Turning back to our own country, we see three possible futures for a post-Trump America. The first, and most optimistic, is a swift democratic recovery. In this scenario, President Trump fails politically: He either loses public support and is no re-elected or, more dramatically, is impeached or forced to resign. The implosion of Trump’s presidency and the triumph of the anti-Trump resistance energize the Democrats, who then sweep back into power and reverse Trump’s most egregious policies.” p. 206

    “This is certainly the future many of us hope for. But it is unlikely. Recall that the assault on long-standing democratic norms—and the underlying polarization driving it—began well before Donald Trump ascended to the White House. The soft guardrails of American democracy have been weakening for decades; simply removing President Trump will not miraculously restore them. Although Trump’s presidency may ultimately be seen as a momentary aberration with only modest footprints on our institutions, ending may not be enough to restore a healthy democracy.” p. 207

    “Coalitions of the like-minded are important, but they are not enough to DEFEND democracy. The most effective coalitions are those that bring together groups with dissimilar—even opposing—views on many issues. They are built not among friends but among adversaries.”
    p. 218.

    We must create a PURPLE TSUNAMI for a real change, hopefully, by November.

    Vote Blue!

  7. As a Baby Boomer I recall then Cassius Clay announcing his name change to Muhammad Ali. He rejected his slave name. He also rejected Christianity in favor of the Nation of Islam. Ali, topped it off by refusing to be inducted into the Military In March 1966. Ali would later be stripped of his heavyweight title.

    Ali became a hero to the younger generation for his opposition to the Vietnam War. “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Vietcong,” he had told reporters. Ali, committed an even graver sin in the eyes of Jim Crow, when he said:
    “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?

    No, I am not going ten thousand miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end.”

    But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is right here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality”
    We should not forget, that President Agent Orange took a knee, via legal deferments when he was vulnerable to the draft.

    Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth, Muhammad Ali.

  8. I found these comments by Rick Wilson, hits the target rather well, concerning President Agent Orange.

    Trump has surrounded himself with Wall Street alumni “who have behaved with weapons-grade venality. They were there … only for the tax bill. Nothing else ever mattered to any of them.”

    “All the things evangelicals had said for generations that made a candidate anathema were suddenly just fine … Being a goddamned degenerate pussy-grabber with a lifetime of adultery, venality, and dishonesty is not, to my knowledge, one of the core tenets of the Christian faith … Trump has opened entirely new theological avenues … There is literally not one aspect of Trump’s behavior as a citizen, a husband, and as a man that shows the slightest scintilla of repentance for anything, ever.”
    Just when you think President Agent Orange has hit bottom, he finds a new even deeper crevice. Pastor Pence, the bobbled head dimwit, smiles in the background.

  9. The comments on the Trump Foundatin resonated with me since I spent my entire adult life with non-profit organizations. One NEVER uses foundation money for anything that comes even close to personal gain. Has this Foundation and its Board been penalized yet or is it business as usual when it comes to the Trumps? Had I tried anything like they have I would have been disgraced, fined, and fired.

  10. It would be hard to convince Jeff Sessions that he is descended from Africans – but he was – and so was I. It would be harder still to convince a latter day Teuton like Trump that he is descended from Africans – but he was – and so were these white nationalists running around the country trying to reverse racial history to cover their fears and other weaknesses of character. Trump, of course, has the answer – that what he says is reality, that alternative facts are to be factored in to and supplant reality to buttress his god-like view of defining the past. He has told us that he is very smart and knows more than all the generals and admirals along with other delusions he has hatched up in his narcissistic Otherworld. Trouble is, reality is reality and facts are facts independently of what anyone wants to call them and for whatever underlying purposes such definers have in mind to shore up their own insecurities and inabilities.

    I have no training in psychology or psychiatry but none is necessary to conclude that people who are plainly mentally ill are mentally ill, and that too is a fact that is not changed by alternative views of reality any more than observing that someone has an arm off has an arm off. Arguing that the arm is not off is itself a form mental illness. One may argue a view of reality but not the reality per se. Aristotle would not be amused.

    Trump has long since been a candidate for application of the 25th Amendment, but bobblehead Prince is too busy in feathering his own future political nest to make the move, hoping that somehow our sick president can withstand involuntary departure long enough for Pence’s orderly ascent to the throne (which, I hope, is not going to happen), but then I haven’t been sucked into Trump’s Otherworld – I still think two and two are four, that science and the law of gravity contain demonstrable truths etc., which does not prove I am sane but merely observant of reality as it is, and from such observation I have concluded that Trump is in dire need of couch time in some Vienna setting.

  11. JoAnn Green, the answer to your question, “how can we make a difference?” lies in your response. Continue to say “hello”. Continue to smile and wave in a neighborly fashion. After continuing these actions for the next 50 years and another 100 years (pre-Civil Rights), perhaps we (whites-Caucasians) can then say we’ve done our part.

    Do we really believe one action, one friendly gesture, will ameliorate 3, 4, or more generations of discrimination, abuse, and neglect? Or, do we think that a few such actions will let us off the hook? How many times have your neighbors encountered similar gestures only to have those actions negated by others, setting up a trail of mistrust and wariness?

    Mind, I am not personally denigrating your actions, Ms. Green. Bravo, kudos to keeping the light shining in your corner of our city, state and world. My comments are directed to the more general public.

    And it is not on OUR timetable to dictate when enough servilitude and conciliatory actions are satisfactory. I work to go over and beyond with gestures to my friends of color. Will it wipe out past transgressions by other whites/ caucasians? Maybe, maybe not. Yet I feel a Christian moral and ethical obligation to make up for previous denigrations even if they were not of my doing or that of my family or ancestors. What real difference do my actions make? For me, it’s practicing humility. For my maligned friends and colleagues, it’s a new mustard seed that gets planted. I am 100% accountable for the actions of all humans, as a human being myself.

    Let’s start there. Keep planting seeds until He/She says it’s enough.

  12. “Supremacy’ can be interpreted in a couple of ways. One way is meaning more capable. The few white supremacists that I am aware of like Trump are, it’s plain to see, superior only in their own minds. It’s pretty obvious to the rest of us that they really have nothing much to offer. They would struggle to come up to average in any way that matters.

    I think that understanding them requires the other definition of superior, entitled to power. That’s what has the present hornets nest stirred up. Obama was a daily reminder that whites simply aren’t entitled to power, if they want influence they have to earn it. Perhaps their ancestors were entitled thanks to guns, germs and steel but in the world today to have influence it must be earned.

    In 2016 voters faced the choice of honoring earned influence but by a woman, over a relic of entitled power. Well everyone knows that uppity women are just as bad as uppity blacks.

    But that’s not the end of the story. That must be explained by the present world’s leading oligarch, Vlad the Impaler, seeing opportunity which could be harvested by careful spy craft, his specialty. Using his assets he pulled off the coup that shattered America. With the minority that hates uppity, and a little brain washing on our favorite thing, entertainment media, he carried stupidity over the finishing line and elevated his influence by leaps and bounds.

    Of course there is nothing new about people seeking influence by organizing ignorance. Vlad was merely taking advantage of the weakness that we have; our entitlement mindset. The one fed by advertising using pervasive entertainment media. Predators are ever alert to opportunity, weakness. The lion doesn’t chase down the fastest or strongest or best organized. They look for the compromised.

    We were the perfect prey.

  13. Unfortunately a huge number of American Dunning-Krugers are just as superior as Donald J. Trump.

  14. Evolution and natural selection would say America today is ripe for extinction; too many members of our species are unfit for, maladapted to, the current environment.

  15. Pete:”Evolution and natural selection would say America today is ripe for extinction; too many members of our species are unfit for, maladapted to, the current environment.”

    It may not be the same “brand” of white-supremacy as Republicans ascribe…..But Pete is a white supremacist nevertheless.

    This blog has always resonated with more than a wisp of White-privilege.

    Speaking of women accused of being ‘uppity’….I remember the blog entry linked below which really says it all. I guess telling a truth depends upon just “whose” truth is “allowed”,eh? Some life experiences are more valued than others? Oh my,let’s just unite,vote blue and forget about “uncomfortable” truths about ourselves.

  16. A Quote from the linked blog entry…

    “You don’t win elections by unnecessarily alienating your friends and allies.’

    Yep,So is everyone here willing to forego pejoratives such as Bernie Bots and Purity Dems?

    Probably not,and how did that work out last time?

  17. Nobody has ever called me a “white supremacist” before. In fact I cannot imagine where that thought came from, I believe in the supremacy of knowledge as it’s what distinguishes us from all other life.

  18. “And it is not on OUR timetable to dictate when enough servilitude and conciliatory actions are satisfactory. I work to go over and beyond with gestures to my friends of color.”

    Carrie Savage-Zimmerman; do you actually believe what your “friends of color” want is “serviitude and conciliatory actions” and “gestures” from “us”? In my teens during the early 1950s, when I had my first opportunity of direct contact with “colored kids” at Tech High School; I was of the mistaken mindset that I should apologize to each of them for hundreds of years of racism by white people. That is offering “servilitude and conciliatory actions” in the form of a useless apology. My smiling, waving and my “little light” in my corner of the city is merely what I can do today; after 65 years of history out of my 81 years of life and my direct contacts, friendships, marriages, sharing meals, child care and problems with friends, spouses, in-laws and neighbors “of color”. In other words; living together and sharing our lives, our problems and our dreams.

    This city, and much of this country has lost ground which had been gained from the Civil Rights movement and distrust has seeped back into our daily lives and multiplied in intensity; if your humility and my smiles and waves are not accepted as extending our hands in friendship, we are not to blame for the rejection. It takes two to make a friendship or a relationship on any level; it only takes one to break it. I will continue smiling and waving as I walk through my Trump supporter neighborhood and hope for a smile or a wave in return. Trump and his racist, bigoted, neo-Nazi, White Nationalist, KKK, Fascist rule of America has infested all our lives…your humility and my smiles and waves are meaningless unless we back them up with action, our only action at this time is using our vote – before we lose that right.


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