As a general rule, the Republicans have refused to condemn “President” Donald Trump’s most recent egregious behavior. Some have tepidly said that they don’t agree with Trump, but one came forward to say that calling Trump’s words racist is “outrageous:” David Perdue, Senator from Georgia. No, Mr. Perdue, you are outrageous, as are your fellow Senate Republicans and Donald Trump.
David Perdue was born in 1949 in one of the reddest states in the nation, Georgia. He’s a good deal older than I am, and for him to claim not to recognize racist rhetoric is pure bullshit. He’s merely pandering to Trump. I wish I could tell Perdue the story that I’m about to tell you so that he might better understand racist rhetoric when he hears it again.
When I was a little girl growing up in Athens, Georgia, I recall being told — as a child — that I should “go back to Africa.” Knowing nothing about Africa, I asked my parents, who told me what I already knew: We’re not from Africa. I also spent many of my childhood years watching my mother drink from “colored” fountains and enter her doctor’s office through the door marked “colored entrance.” Many years later when a new doctor took over the practice, he pulled my mother aside and told her that he had not had time to remove the offensive words but that she should come through the same entrance as his other patients. Having spent her life obeying those commands, my mother continued to come through that entrance until one Saturday, Dr. Clark came in and personally scrubbed the words from his secondary door and permanently locked it from the inside. Despite all they went through, my parents went out of their way to raise us “color blind.” It’s a shame that some white parents didn’t return the favor.
No one knows how any of this feels unless you’ve been there. To have all of those negative thoughts resurrected by one thoughtless man’s thoughtless words does so much damage, not only to me and other people of color who just want to live our lives, but to this country and to the world’s view of this country. Does that matter to them? No, but it should. And it matters to those of us who care.
My point in telling my personal story is this: there is no seemingly possible way that David Perdue or Donald Trump don’t recognize that telling someone to “go back” to wherever their ignorance tells them these people originated is racist. Trump can proclaim he doesn’t have a “racist bone” in his body, but his words say otherwise. Charges filed by the Justice Department in 1973 regarding his refusal to sell or rent to blacks say otherwise. As the cliché goes, “if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.” You, sir, are a racist duck (with an “i”). He continues to pander to racist people and continues to divide our country. I don’t know about you, but I am counting the days until his “presidency” ends.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years