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2019-07-18 18:14:061 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Police officer using a phone (Image source: Public domain)
While the House was voting to condemn Donald Trump's tweets, and people across the country are decrying his racist words, he also had supporters shouting "send her back" at his North Carolina rally, referring to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) who left Somalia as a child and became a U.S. citizen at the age of 17.
This is part of the president's attack on Omar as well as three other women from what is known as the "squad": Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).
In his initial attack, he suggested the congresswomen should "go back" to "the crime-infested countries from which they came." This is despite three of the women being born in the United States.
While it may be tempting to think if we could just get Trump out of office everything would be fine, that doesn't seem to be the case. The racism is more widespread than we would like to believe. It's not that his presidency has created racists; he just emboldened them to come forward.
The Philadelphia Police Department put 72 officers on administrative duty after the Plain View Project online database turned up more than 5,000 Facebook posts and comments last month by former and current officers from Philadelphia and other jurisdictions across the country.
Some of the comments were seen as racist while others were homophobic or advocated violence.
While we want to say that Trump created this, this shows it's always been there and that he's just emboldening them to come forward and spew their hate publicly.
A Philadelphia officer wrote in 2014 that a suspect "should be taken out back and put down like the rabid animal he is." In November 2015 another officer shared a photo and said that Islam was a "cult" that glorified "death."
2014 was before Trump announced he was running for president. November 2015 was five months after he announced his candidacy and started spewing comments about immigrants.
In February of this year an officer with the Philadelphia department commented on a news article about an alleged murderer and suggested that he be hanged.
Could any of these comments be different than Trump's words after the Charlottesville violence between white supremacists and protesters when he put the two sides on a level playing field by saying there were "very fine people on both sides?"
Trump didn't change anyone's opinion to become a racist; he allowed them to believe it's okay to feel that way and to speak that way. He allowed them to come forward.
And this is the true shame, as it means even if Trump is impeached or if he is voted out of office in 2020, what he created will still be around. The emboldened racists will still be living amongst us. And now not only will they be filled with hate, but they will be filled with anger for losing the freedom to share that with the president.
The Plain View Project notes that the Facebook posts and comments "could undermine public trust and confidence in our police." But it could also allow other like-minded individuals to further believe that they are in the right to feel the way they do.
Some of the officers that were placed on administrative duty will be suspended for five days, meaning they're free to spew hate again very soon. Four will be suspended for 30 days. 17 will face more severe disciplinary action with 13 of them being suspended with the intent to dismiss.
Those 13 who were fired made posts that "advocated violence." This means that those who made racist comments are among those who will be keeping their jobs, unless they also advocated violence at the same time they were making racist comments.
Losing their jobs or being suspended for a few days will not change who they are. It will not mean they have changed their minds about other races, people of color, or LGBTQ rights. It does not take away their hate.
Despite the civil rights movement more than 50 years ago, there are still many people in this country who feel the same way they did then. Laws have changed, but the feelings of some have not.
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