The Trump flag in my neighborhood
By Bill Fletcher, Jr.
You can’t miss it. The house sits off a main road in my county, about five minutes’ drive from my home. Three flag poles; three flags in support of Trump. And in a neighborhood that is overwhelmingly African American and pro-Democratic Party voters.
Yes, these are white folks and, yes, they have the absolute right to fly their flags. There is the First Amendment to the Constitution. But each time that I drive by their house, which I must do with frequency, I ask myself the same question: if this was a Black family in an overwhelmingly white neighborhood, dominated by pro-Republican voters, how long would they be able to fly a red, black & green, Black Liberation flag or to fly a flag in support of the Black Lives Matter movement?”
I think that you know the answer.
In my life I have found African Americans to be very tolerant of different political views (we can be somewhat less than tolerant when it comes to matters such as religion and sexual orientation, but that is for a different discussion). In many of our families we have wide differences from conservative to Black nationalist to communist, and it is recognized that there can be legitimate points of view.
White America, overall, is much less tolerant and this is certainly the case within conservative white America. It is more than lack of tolerance, that is at issue here. There is an assumption, as in the case of the family with the Trump flags, that they will face no ramifications for flaunting the images of a racist, sexist, xenophobic President in a predominantly Black community. No ramifications! Yet were the shoe to be on the other foot, it is highly likely that the family would have come under physical assault by right-wingers, and quite possibly run out of town.
Don’t misunderstand me. I am not suggesting that these white Trumpsters get run out of the neighborhood. I am suggesting, however, that white privilege plays itself out in ways that is always in our faces, but becomes invisible to most white people. An African American family flying a red, black & green flag in a conservative white neighborhood would be considered insane, provocative, and quite possibly having brought down the wrath of white conservatives on them deservedly…unless, of course, the commentators were, themselves, Black.
I am glad that Trump is gone. I wish that he was relocating to an iceberg in the Arctic, but such is life. I know, though, that the Trump flags of my ‘neighbors’ will probably not be lowered any time soon because the problem is not Trump, nor the flags. The problem is that there is a virulent right-wing populist movement, and Trump was only one of many manifestations of this evil.
Bill Fletcher, Jr. is an author and activist. He is a past president of TransAfrica Forum.