Why Trump’s disavowal of the KKK is enough for some — and never enough for others.
I was struck with the closed-minded vitriol of Van Jones in his heated exchange with Jeffrey Lord on CNN on March 1, 2016. My impression of the exchange is that Mr. Jones is offended by the reaction of a certain candidate who was endorsed by a certain group.
“I can affect change by transforming the only thing I ever have control over in the first place, and that is myself.” ~ Deepak Chopra
First of all, the Ku Klux Klan is as offensive to most black people as the swastika is to Jewish people, especially when the last documented lynching of 19-year old Michael A. Donald occurred in 1981. Racial resentment has been an infected wound which refuses to heal, in part, because those who carry the torch of resentment keep digging at the wound instead of allowing it to heal and develop scar tissue, which is far tougher and stronger than the broken skin.
Before you make a snap judgement about me, know that I am a woman of color. My mother is Korean. I can only trace back my Korean heritage as far as my great-grandparents, partly because of the language barrier and partly because with the onset of the Korean War, where I’m fairly certain a good portion of my family was stuck in the north. And my father’s side is Irish, where the aggrandized “indentured servant” really means slavery; where King James VI made the Proclamation of 1625 to sell Irish prisoners to English settlers in the new world.
Here’s my question: How many generations of separation does it take to look at one’s heritage before you can say, “Oh, well, that sucked. Moving forward”?
Listen, I’ve been called “chink” and “gook” and told to go back to my country up until I was about 22-years old…by black people, of all beings. And yet, I do not hold all black people accountable for the bad behavior of a few. I don’t hate England because of Irish slavery. And, well, even if Kim Jong-un is a creepy, narcissistic dictator, I don’t hold him personally responsible for the separation of 60,000+ families during the Korean War.
As the first-generation born on American soil from my mother’s side, and third-generation born on American soil from my father’s side, I have an emotional disconnect from the grave injustices experienced by my ancestors. And it does suck what happened — but I don’t live in that reality. I choose not to be held in a catatonic state of perpetual outrage. It’s in my history — but not my story.
So, going back to Van Jones’ censure of Donald Trump… The condemnation would be deserved if Trump actually wore the hood. Can we simply agree that his disavowal of the KKK is appropriate enough? Trump cannot possibly have the same emotional or visceral response of a black person because of an imposed endorsement. It would be ridiculous to expect him to have any level of righteous indignation on that subject matter. To demand an intrinsic response is just as prejudiced.
That being said: I have no historical ties to the KKK and I have absolutely no reason to disavow them — but do not mistake that for condoning them either. There is a huge difference and I think we need to recognize the distinction.
CNNs Van Jones, Jeffrey Lord launch into fiery debate. http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/01/politics/jeffrey-lord-van-jones-cnn-debate/index.html
Divided Koreans prepare to meet after lifetime of separation http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/19/korean-family-reunions-separation
In the Bad Old Days, Not So Long Ago http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/13/arts/television/13lynch.html?_r=0
Originally published at merej99.wordpress.com on March 3, 2016.