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GUEST COLUMN: A question for white people (friends and foes)

Willie Mae Samuel

Willie Mae Samuel, founder and director of the African American Connection for the Performing Arts in Rome

People, you do know that the question asked of the black man by Donald Trump is not a new question that has been asked of African Americans, or do you? While on the campaign trail Donald Trump asked the Blacks what did they have to lose. He said to black communities, “You have nothing. You are dying and suffering, so just come over and join my team.” He did not complete his request … ‘and let me help you suffer more.’

Please note that this was the second time that blacks were faced with that question. History tells us the communist government asked the blacks in America that question much earlier. During the Nikita Khrushchev era and before, that same invitation was extended to the black community, the Russian communists said to the black leaders, “What is your reason for being loyal to a government that treats you like second class citizens? Come join us so that we can band together and defeat the USA together.” The communist leaders said, “Let us list the reasons why we are extending the invitation. You have been brought to the country in chains and have been chained up ever since. You do remember the middle passage when 20 million of your people died during the crossing, and the same number died after the crossing from resisting? You do remember auction blocks? You do remember your black men were used as studs to produce more slaves? Have you forgotten that you were beaten if you were caught reading? You do remember that you never got your mule and forty acres so you ended up sharecroppers?” We have heard about how free black men were caught in Northern states and sold back into slavery. The Russian leaders continued on by asking, “Do we need to let you know how much more we know about your condition? We know that even as we extend this invitation, you are having to drink out of separate water fountains and use separate bathrooms and purchase food from the back door, and sleep in your cars when traveling.” The recruiters knew the entire story and continued up until 1980 to get blacks to turn their back on America. The Communist Party continued to try recruiting blacks for various reasons for long periods of time. Their overall efforts fell on deaf ears, just as the call from Trump fell on deaf ears and even angered some.

The efforts of the Communist Party failed from 1918-1980, and a very few scattered individuals accepted the call for a short period of time. When the African Americans did not prove to be a group rushing to the communist camp, the whites and Europeans became the next big target.

The question is now, “Why are you selling your country to the highest bidder, Russia?” You fought them off when they were recruiting blacks and even killed some of their leaders. What has caused you to lose your loyalty to and for this country? If the same conditions had existed for you as it did for blacks, I could understand you allowing the Russian government to invade your camp. But most of you were born in power and privilege. What is your problem with the government that you are in control of? Why not try wearing the black man’s shoes for a couple of years.

You would probably be sitting in Putin’s lap at the Kremlin if you just tried it for 24 hours. Blacks have had more of a reason to be disloyal to the flag and the national anthem than any other group except the Native Americans. But you allowed Trump with his misinformed, socially maladjusted mind, to bend your way of thinking and make you think that this entire situation was about disrespecting the soldiers and the flag. Are you aware that blacks died and fought very hard for this country and a flag that does not represent them? Can you not remember that when black soldiers returned from WWI, many were slaughtered and the killing was called the New York’s Red Hot Summer?

That is how much black blood was shed after the black soldiers had fought in other countries and many lost their lives. Many soldiers were killed during the Civil Rights struggle while trying to seek equal opportunities fought for on foreign soil that they did not have at home.

Now you see why it is so hard for many blacks to see how you turn the ‘kneeling of athletes’ into an unpatriotic move when it has nothing to do with patriotism or the lack thereof.

African Americans are, and have always been, the most loyal group in this country. How loyal would you be if you had suffered in this manner? By your reaction to the Russian love connection that Trump and the majority of the Republicans have for Putin and the Russian Regime, I see complete disregard for the national anthem (Star Spangled Banner) or anything American. Is it only wrong when you think that blacks are disrespecting the things considered American?

So now we ask, where is your patriotism? Are you exempted because you were born in the power and privilege status? Do you think Putin cares? Check out the Russian history and see where you line up with the special treatment that you get in this country. You must remember your president went to one of the best schools in the country and learned nothing about history, not even American History. How can you let a blind man who does not want to see lead you?

This is one time that I suggest that you stand with your marginalized, poor brothers and sisters of color, and call a spade a spade. The Russian government still plans to do what was stated years ago, ”We will bury America.” Why are you carrying the shovel to cover the grave that Trump is helping Putin to dig for us? Let me remind you, and I will continue to do so as, “We all inhabit this small planet. We breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

Willie Mae Samuel is the founder and director of the African American Connection for the Performing Arts in Rome.