Subcontinental Divide - 2017

We are Winning; We Just Don’t Know It Yet…

By Ahsen Jillani

So I've written enough diatribes in the past 10 months about how the world was going to end for the fringe members of society as America was being made great again. But it wasn't just the most recent “Racism is as American as Baseball" sign unfurled by activists at Fenway Park; it wasn't the mind-numbing flip-flops about how some Neo-Nazis with automatic weapons were high class individuals; and it wasn't all about discussing the dreaded “Wall" while Houston, a majority Hispanic city, was several feet under water.

I am numb to racism now. When I landed here in 1979, the Iran hostage crisis gripped the country. Within a span of a few months, the rich Arabs in sports cars hanging out in discos were choosing to stay home. I got attacked at a gas station at 11pm one Saturday night by two drunks calling me “Sand N-Word" and tossing beer bottles at me. And on and on it went. “Do you have cars in your country, or just camels?" And I would try to explain that I was from the lush Punjab region and had never seen a camel. In 1985, while B-movie actor and bobble head Reagan was starting to make latently prejudiced statements about the criminal thugs and welfare queens in impoverished black areas, I shared the sorrow of other people of color who were seeing the 1964 Civil Rights Act becoming about as valuable as toilet paper.

And on it went. 1986, I was thrown out of an Eastern NC gas station because the toothless old man ran toward the pump and told me to leave his property because he didn't serve the “damned sand races." As I slowly integrated into the fabric of America, I started to see the more subtle prejudice under the surface. It seems the wounds of being forced to integrate colored people into America were still raw a quarter century out—and a percentage of white America thought they were being hurt a lot more than the slaves they traded like cattle.

The rich, it seems, had a racism threshold that could be crossed either with a few glasses of alcohol, or by challenging their pocketbooks. I started hearing things like, “Well, Joe's a black man, he's not a n-word. He almost acts white." And indeed, several white people made that statement to me, jesting or not: “You can almost pass for white." I bit my lip every time and smiled, thinking that my parents' servants lived in better conditions than the hillbillies who thought I would be flattered to be called “almost white."

In 1992, Clinton derailed the rising tide of racism, xenophobia and defense industry obscenity by bringing in a somewhat liberal bent to what a 21st century America should look like. Things were far from perfect but you could hardly inflate a global technology bubble and move around trillions of dollars without Chinese and Indian talent, without a stable Middle East, and without a new injection of confidence in industries where the underprivileged blacks and Hispanics could make a living and help grow the economy.

The Bush W. era became a fluke due to 9/11. Racist incidents came and went but those seven years became all about raping the taxpayer to create trillion dollar wars that could never end. At worst, however, it laid down a template on how to begin a systematic process of overt discrimination right under the noses of citizens, legislators, and the judicial system. It was widely reported than 80 percent of the prisoners who rotted at Guantanamo Bay had no connection to terror. They were innocent people turned in by friends and neighbors to get the very large cash rewards offered by an ill-conceived defense department plan to nab terrorists in nations they knew nothing about. That ended the Bush era…then the floor fell out from under America's racists.

Barack Hussein Obama's election was the last straw for those struggling with the harsh reality of becoming a minority by 2043. A guy with a Muslim middle name, probably a terrorist sympathizer and he dared lay his head at night where great saviors of America like the B-actor Reagan, and the womanizer with a bad back Kennedy slept just in recent memory. I argued with conservatives a lot about their moronic critiques of Obama, a guy who saved us from a crippling recession, set up a template that finally brought us out of an elitist Third World style health insurance system—and killed Osama Bin Laden to boot. They all denied racism. I didn't believe them.

From constant comparisons of the first lady to a monkey, to critiques of Obama's daughters' clothing, to the birther movement that crept out of the Kenyan Muslim myth and exploded under the guardianship of none other than President Donald J. Trump, the first black president became a litmus test for where a significant portion of white America stood at the tailing edge of 2016. Trump is a man whose first appearance in the '80s on the front page of the New York Times was a discrimination lawsuit about not renting property to people of color. Also a man who called Mexicans rapists and murderers two minutes after he announced his presidency. A man who promised to build The Wall. A man who swore all Muslims would be banned. A man who wants to restrict all colored immigration unless people are rocket scientists or Nobel Prize winners.

Trust me today, we are winning. British intelligence gathered dossiers are going back as far as eight years in possibly implicating Trump in suspect behavior in regard to Russia. Robert Mueller's investigation will shed further light. Pundits are in agreement that the 34 percent support Trump enjoys will never abandon him. These are racists and their offspring who reluctantly retracted their talons in 1964 and were slowly and surely enabled by a gradual and calculated shift in the mechanism of how to be racist in 2017.

Donald Trump's cursing, sexism, tapes of nasty exploits never stopped this crowd. But these voters, who don't want the dirty jobs; who only want to see distant silhouettes of coloreds in fields or washing dishes or painting houses, but not see their faces like in the utopian Camelot of America's heyday—these people will soon be returning to the dark holes in the ground where racism breeds in secret—fed by the slop of ignorance.