Let me say after betting for a Donald Trump win, and promising my opponents a goat each, if I lost, I have now gone into hiding. After paying two goats, I find myself on the verge of impoverishment.
Letter from America:with KENNETH MUFUKA
I have, therefore, gone into hiding at a Christian retreat and taken a temporary vow of silence.
Former vice-president Joe Biden has won the election and early signs show that he has learned from his past mistakes and wants to make amends. However, his compatriots, emboldened by their “Dump Trump” movements, are yearning to return to the good old days of revenge.
Biden made his name in his campaign against apartheid in South Africa in 1984. His nemesis then was President Ronald Reagan, who supported white civilisation in that country.
Biden has given a warning to the stalwarts in his party that revenge against Trump’s supporters is not in the works.
Even as he prepares for transition, he has appointed a former Trump coronavirus advisor to head his new team on the pandemic.
In another significant move, half his transition team consists of people of colour. Despite the entire hullabaloo about Barack Obama’s presidency to end racism, it was the whitest cabinet since President Jimmy Carter (1976-1890).
People do learn.
But the mountain is yet to be climbed.
If Biden, as he says, came to power on the shoulders of people of colour and white people of goodwill, and the rebellion by #BlackLivesMatter, leaving out the hurricane years of Trump, the mountain before him now is to settle, in some significant fashion, the mountain of racism against young black males.
In this struggle, he was part of the problem. Fearful of school integration, he thought that it would create a “racial jungle”.
Secondly, as the war on drugs came to the forefront of policing, he guided through Congress, “Three Strikes, You are Out”, later called the Crime Bill, 1994.
By separating drugs commonly used in white communities from those used in black neighbourhoods and targeting the latter to mandatory severe penalties of 10 to 15 years in prison, the result was genocidal among black youthful males.
Statistics place the number of young males in prison, or who are under some judicial supervision, at 40%.
I have worked in streets where the whole male population of those streets has been to jail.
Privileged citizens like Bill Clinton and Obama smoked marijuana, were never arrested, and went on to do great things in their lives.
In this case, Biden has expressed an opinion that the missteps came not from his Crime Bill 1994, but from application by state courts who then used it as a tool to wipe out drug use in black neighbourhoods. It is assumed that drug trafficking starts in those neighbourhoods, which are then heavily policed.
Biden, however, was expressing a deep-seated prejudice against Africans which can be traced to and embedded in slave codes and Jim Crow laws.
Policing is a community issue. Each county elects a sheriff who is the highest elected official responsible for law enforcement. In some states, the chief judge is also elected. These officers therefore are not far removed from the prejudices of the communities which elected them.
In 1696, under the guise of a scientific explanation, the South Carolina legislature explained the need for heavy policing in the black neighbourhoods thus:
“Whereas,” it confessed, “the plantations cannot be well managed without…the labour and service of negroes and other slaves”, however, it must be realised that such “negroes…are of a barbarous, wild, savage nature, and such as renders them wholly unqualified to be governed by laws, customs, and practices of this Province”.
Laws aimed at restraining, regulating, the “disorderly rapines and inhumanity, to which they are naturally prone and induced”, were necessary for everybody’s safety. (Year, 1696)
In unguarded moments, even the super liberals like Hillary Clinton have referred to black criminals as “super predators”.
The Crime Bill itself was enacted by these super liberals; Bill Clinton was president and Biden was chairperson of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In everyday parlance, a white person visiting in a black neighbourhood is assumed to be a Seventh-Day Adventist missionary or a crack cocaine buyer or dealer.
The mythology espoused by the Democratic Party is predicated on the belief that the government will supply all one’s needs.
That kind of benevolence on the part of government creates rather than eliminates poverty.
In the US, when children were at first provided with breakfast, it was assumed that parents would feed them when they returned home in the afternoon. When children reported that they were hungry when they went home, schools then provided lunch. Then it was decided that children went hungry over the weekends. Fill in the blanks.
So when the pandemic witnessed school closings, black families already marginalised, were affected the most.
Yet the myth that people of colour have made progress persists. Yes, Sir, progress has been real to a third that have grasped the affirmative action provisions favouring black employment in public institutions and corporations.
Yet Yale professor Jennifer Richeson was surprised by these statistics.
“In 1963 the median black family had about 5% as much wealth as the median white family. For 2016 … the correct answer for that year is 10%.”
This needs explanation
A poor white family living in an inherited mobile home on a three-acre plot is 100% richer than a poor black family living in a government-owned apartment.
Both may receive food stamps.
When Keemaga Taylor, a writer for the New Yorker, went home to Philadelphia, she found that the percentage vote for Trump among people of colour had risen from that of 2016.
A Democratic city, Keemaga was not surprised to find that: “Twenty-two percent of households in the city were severely cost-burdened” (a new phrase for financial stress), a number she says is the highest of any city. Under these circumstances, the city fathers sought to forbid eviction, while expecting landlords to continue paying property taxes.
It is these trickster solutions for which Democrats are famous for that Biden is struggling to rethink. The Democratic Party platform, true to its roots, says that it has a contract with America. Housing is a right, not a privilege, good paying jobs will result from infusion of cash from the federal government and fundamental reforms to address structural racism and income equality will be implemented.
Biden has promised not only to unify the party, but the country as well.
Biden has a mountain to climb. He has only two years before the next Congressional election, and the Democrats have a reduced majority in the House. The Republicans are regrouping. Trump is planning to buy a television company so he can avoid fake news media.