today in black history

May 27, 2024

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, founded by the Quakers, established in 1837, is the oldest historically Black college.

A Triumvirate of Stupidity

POSTED: April 15, 2022, 5:30 am

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A hallmark of the southern resistance to integration was the outlandishly bold racism of southern governors. Segregationists like Alabama’s Jim Folsom and George Wallace, and Georgia’s Lester Maddox and Mississippi’s Ross Barnett took great delight in thumbing their nose at White House administrations. These men wore their racism with pride and did not shy away from their White supremacist roots. No matter the determination of the federal government or courts, racist southern governors were determined to maintain the status quo and oppress Black people while manipulating poor Whites.

Today, a new trio of villainous White Republican governors have inherited the Dixiecrat mantle and have become the Pied Pipers of hate and ignorance. Not to trumped by a racist former president, Governors Brian Kemp of Georgia, Ron DeSantis of Florida, and Greg Abbott of Texas are competing for the title of ‘Most Offensive Governor.’ Their politics is rooted in racial resentment and aimed to undo any progress made on diversity and equity. These governors see it as their holy mission to preserve whiteness and to deter the full representation of Black and Latino people, women, and LGBTQ Americans.

Governor Abbott is a rolling case of White entitlement and White-male paranoia. The Texas governor finds new and inventive ways to express his hate of diverse communities. His latest strike is his outrage over trucks transporting goods from Mexico through his state, and his attempting to create an uproar over the alleged import of drugs through trucking channels. Not satisfied with tarnishing a nation, Abbott has now targeted Mexican immigrants and placed them on busses he sent to the nation’s capital. It is all a ploy in the latest Republican telenovela scripted to drive White anger.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in full homophobic rage signed legislation preventing educators from using the word ‘gay’ in public school classrooms. DeSantis then went on to issue not so veiled threats against the Walt Disney Company for its supposed support of LGBTQ rights. Any smart politician would have the common sense to gauge their temper when raging against one of the state’s largest employers, and a company that is beloved by many American families, but the new Republican modus operandi is outrage. And what can be more outrageous than a company that purports family values and speaks up for its gay employees? Granted, Disney was not vocal when the bill was winding its way through the Florida legislature, it has since indicated its displeasure with the new law. DeSantis, who fancies himself the heir apparent to Donald Trump, shows no shame in riding the racist wagon to endear himself to the far right.

In Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp is attempting to fight his Trumpian demons by presenting himself as a more palatable version of the kooky former president. Kemp has jumped on the anti-Critical Race Theory (CRT) bandwagon to present himself as a savior for parental rights. Despite no evidence that CRT is a part of K-12 curricula in public schools in the state, Kemp is leading the charge to ban books and strip school-based instruction of any reference to race or racism. The governor also has embraced a nonsensical position on gun ownership by signing into law the right of Georgians to carry concealed firearms with no license. In a state where White assailants tracked down and gunned down a young Black man while he was jogging through a neighborhood, Kemp’s signature is a license to kill…Black people.

These three governors are the embodiment of White-male privilege. They harbor a desire to turn the clock back and reinstate Confederate rules of engagement. Abbott, Kemp, and DeSantis are governing from the same script. They must project strength by being unapologetically racist while at the same time striking a protective posture of so-called family values. All three also project themselves as God-fearing while angling to suppress the Black vote and end women’s reproductive rights. They have perfected the role of compassionate racist.

This is the Republican Party of the 21st Century. In Washington, DC and in states, the GOP is operating on a platform of revisionist history and racial resentment. The party’s strategy is lies and deception, and its primary weapon is social media and right-wing media to sow hatred of Black and brown people by Whites, and racist militia groups. Left unchecked, this is a recipe for violent conflict that can spell the end of this nation.

Walter Fields is Executive Editor of

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