Impeachment Inquiry Against President Donald J. Trump

Prologue: There is a “listening room” in The White  House where presidents make their phone calls.  The day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified publicly under oath at a televised news conference on May 30, 2019,  President Donald Trump made a call to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.

Trump had rejoiced and boasted when Attorney General Barr had given his four page biased interpretation of The Mueller Report and said, “No collusion!”  Barr had neglected to cite the ten specific examples of “Obstruction of Justice” that were in the 400 page report.

When Trump made the call, he had already put a hold on money that Congress had approved for Ukraine.  The funds were desperately needed to buy Javelin missiles as defense against Russian tanks.  Russia had already annexed Crimea on their southern border.  During the phone call,  Trump asked Zelensky “for a favor, ” He asked him to help his personal lawyer, and the Attorney General who would be coming to visit Ukraine. Their purpose was to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter to find illegal activities they had taken part in.  It was a clear ‘quid pro quo’ against his main political rival in the 2020 presidential race.

By the time the thirty minute phone call was over,  White  House aides were alarmed by what they had heard after Trump had congratulated Zelensky on his election. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had also been in the room.  A decision was made to “lock down” records of the call , a process that has occurred since Trump was elected in 2016.   This removed the call to a separate electronic system reserved for classified information.

Enter The Whistle Blower:  A C.I.A official who had once worked in the White House learned of what had occurred with the phone call.  He (or she) wrote a complaint that was declassified and given to The House Intelligence Committee.  “The White House officials who gave me this information were deeply disturbed by what happened in the phone call.  They told me there was already a discussion going with White House lawyers because in the likelihood, in the officials retelling , that they had witnessed the president abuse his office for personal gain. “

Friday, September 27, 2019, The New York Times : COMPLAINT ASSERTS A WHITE HOUSE COVER-UP

President Trump was in New York at The United Nations when the whistle-blower story broke.  He spoke at the  U. S. Mission to The United Nations.  Trump immediately wanted to know who provided information to the whistle-blower, saying whoever did so was “close to a spy” .And “in the old days” spies were dealt with differently. ( When his response was shown later on TV , it was interpreted  as “ they were “executed.” )  He also condemned the news media as “crooked” for reporting on the complaint.

For the record: The Whistle Blower Protection Act was passed by Congress in 1989 .  It protects whistle blowers who report activities that violate laws, rules and regulations in government as well as business and industry.

By October 3rd,  the president on the White  House Lawn called on China to join Ukraine to “investigate Joseph Biden and his son Hunter for illegal activities”.  He called them “crooked” earning millions  in China.  His similar comments about them in Ukraine have been debunked on television by reporters who followed up on the charges .  When  Joe Biden spoke to a crowd the same day, he said, “I’m not going anywhere!  I never made a dime in China.  And I resent him attacking my family!  The crowd responded with loud cheers.  The president has also targeted Adam Schiff, Chair of The House Intelligence Committee since he received the complaint from the whistle-blower.  An avalanche of tweets accused Schiff of being a “traitor”.

 On Wednesday, September 25, 2019, The New York Times  had run a full page headline: “PELOSI WILL OPEN FORMAL IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY, ACCUSING PRESIDENT OF ‘BETRAYAL OF THE NATION”.  A growing number of Democratic members of The House of Representatives had been urging her to make this decision.  Leading House committees were already holding hearings:  Judiciary, Intelligence, Oversight and Ways & Means.   As Speaker of The House, she had waited until a majority of the members were behind Impeachment.   There was also strong support from leading Democrats running for President in the 20/20 Election.

Framing Articles of Impeachment: The current uproar over Trump asking Ukraine and China to investigate Joe Biden and his son is the last in a series of presidential abuses of power.  Historians have cautioned that articles of impeachment should include harmful actions he has taken since he became president rather than focus only on this latest scandal.

The three charges against President Richard Nixon would be appropriate for Donald J. Trump:  Abuse of Power,  Obstruction of Justice and Contempt of Congress.  His current actions could be first among many Abuses of Power. Next, The Mueller Report details ten clear examples of Obstruction of Justice.  Last, Contempt of Congress would stress Trump’s instructions to everyone in the Executive branch to ignore subpoenas from the different Congressional committees.

Donald Trump has never displayed knowledge of The Constitution of The United States. ( He thought there were 12 Articles. ) He has never realized that The Founders placed The Legislature first as Article I, rather than The Executive branch of government because they fought King George during the Revolution to create this nation.  They feared another despot at the helm.  They created the system of checks and balances to make sure the Executive did not become another despot.  Congress controls the “power of the purse” among other important powers.

Donald Trump in his remarks on October 3 made clear that he will do and say whatever he wants to remain in office and win the election in 2020.  He appeared to be daring the Democrats, “Impeach me! “  The House of Representatives where they hold the majority may do just that.

It is hoped that the Republican Senators who will decide Donald Trump’s fate in a trial will think about the founders of this nation as well as their seat in D.C. when they vote.  The future of this nation as the leader of the free world is at stake.

………………………………………………………….Joyce S. Anderson

 

 

Immigration to The United States: Past. Present. Future?

Prologue:  “A Nation of Immigrants” by President John F. Kennedy describes the history and ethos of our country.  We have been called “the last best hope” for people across the globe who have sought a better life for themselves and their families.  For centuries,  men and women left their ancestral homes and traveled thousands of miles across oceans to reach our shores.  Many families came in shifts, since the money for passage was not easy to accumulate.   They often walked miles to reach the nearest port of embarkation.

Oscar Handlin in his Pulitzer prize winning book “The Uprooted”   describes the greatest migration in history. From Europe , 1815 to 1915 the people came for multiple reasons.  Some sought political freedom or to escape religious persecution.  Many hoped to own a piece of land some day.  Ellis Island in New York Harbor was the largest port of entry.  The Statue of Liberty became the symbol  of welcome with the Torch she held aloft.

Immigration from Asia was restricted first by The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.   Japanese men had been allowed to enter when the railroads were being built in mid century.   1869 , post Civil War was the date the gold spike joined the east and west tracks that had been laid to provide rail travel coast to coast.

Men and women from Africa had been ruthlessly brought to America since the 1600’s on slave ships.  The infamous Middle Passage where as many died on board as lasted to reach shore.  Their African American descendants today are 14th Generation Americans , while most of us in the  current population are second, third and fourth generation.

20th Century:  In 1924,  Quotas were established for countries in different regions of Europe.  Larger quotas for Northern:. England, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark ; Smaller for Southern and Eastern:. Italy , Spain,Greece, Poland , Russia. People waited for years in many countries to come

After World War II,  President Harry Truman signed The Displaced Persons Act in 1948 .  This welcomed the thousands  of people in Europe who no longer lived in their cities and towns that  had been destroyed during the fighting.  In the years that followed,  forty thousand  Hungarians fleeing Russian tanks were admitted.  After 1958,  hundreds of thousands fled Cuba under Castro to the United states.  The Refugee Act of 1980  brought Vietnamese,  Cambodians and Laotioans after the Viet Nam War. Three million people were welcomed from Asia.

It was not until 1965 that the  Quota system  had been repealed and people from Southern and Eastern Europe had better opportunity to emigrate to The United States.

Present:  Trump Administration policies.

When Donald Trump descended the escalator in Trump Tower to enter the Presidential race, he called Mexicans crossing the Southern border, “rapists and murderers”.  His rhetoric has not changed and his policies as president have   included three travel bans on Muslims coming to the United States.   He has called Hispanic people fleeing gang violence in Central American countries “caravans coming as an invasion with some very bad people.”  The facts are that most of the people are women and children who walk thousands of miles from Guatemala, Honduras and San Salvador to find a better life for their families.

Trump has been fixated on building his WALL to keep them out.  He originally proclaimed that “Mexico will pay pay for the wall”, leading chants in each of his myriad rallies before and after he won election.   His latest ploy is to take funding from the Pentagon budget for the military to build The Wall.

On August 11 – 12,  2017, a Unite The Right rally of white supremacists was held in Charlottesville, Virginia.  On Friday  night ,August 11,  men  marched through the University of Virginia campus holding torches and chanting “Jews will not replace us!”.   Neo Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members were included.   Saturday morning, violence broke out between the Rally members and protestors who had gathered in the city.   Television cameras carried the full day of events, culminating in a car driven deliberately into a group of protestors.  A young woman protestor was killed in the attack.

The president’s response to the event was to say that “there were fine people on many sides.”   Within two days, it was clear that he needed to speak again.  This time he modified slightly, saying “Very fine people on both sides.”    Meanwhile David Duke, spokesman for the Ku Klux Klan praised him for his responses.

Before the 2018 Midterm Election, Trump led his rallies with condemnation of the “Invasion by caravans coming  in the thousands to the Southern Border”.   Reality checks revealed after the Blue Wave swept Democrats into control of The House of Representatives that there had been no caravans of thousands at the border.  Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, has said that” Donald Trump wants to make America White again” after his  twitter attacks on the  four young women of color elected in 2018.

Now, Trump is aiming at the 2020 election with rallies across the country.  His administration has created new policies   aimed at limiting immigration to the United States. His latest policy rejects the poor for green cards, the official sign of legal status. If they will need government benefit programs like food stamps or subsidized housing, they cannot receive a green card. Newspapers  call it a Wealth Test.

Marielena  Hincapie, the executive director of The National Immigration Law Center said, “This is a cruel new step toward weaponizing  programs intended to help people that are making them instead,  a means of separating families and sending immigrants and communities of color one message: “You are not wanted here.”   She added “It will have a dire added impact,  forcing some families to forgo critical health care and nutrition.  The damage will be felt for decades to come.”

The Trump administration has also declined to grant temporary protected status to Bahamains devastated by Hurricane Dorian.

Epilogue:  Donald Trump learned the real estate business working with his successful father, Fred Trump. One particular thing he learned was that his father, on receiving   an application for rental or buying a property,  might circle the name clearly with a LARGE LETTER  C .  This was his code for “Colored”.  And they very rarely rented to those people.

That fact has always brought a famous song from “South Pacific” to my mind.  Lieutenant Joe Cable delivers it with passion and power, “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught”.   It explains how prejudice and discrimination are developed in the minds of children.

“You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught “

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,

Before you are six or seven or eight,

To hate all the people your relatives hate.

You’ve got to be carefully taught.

 

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid,

Of people whose eyes are oddly made.

And people whose skin is a different shade.

You’ve got to be carefully taught.

 

You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear.

You’ve got to be taught from year to year.

It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear.

You’ve got to be carefully taught.

 

…………………………………………………… Joyce S. Anderson

Trump at The 2019 G-7: Ultimate Chutzpah!

Prologue:  The countries with the largest advanced economies began summit meetings in the1970’s to discuss global  issues.  Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, The United Kingdom and The United States of America.

In 2014, Russia took over Crimea and was excluded from future meetings of the G-7.

In 2018, the meeting took place in Canada where President Trump insulted the host, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau as well as others at the sessions.  Since Trump’s basic motto is “America First”, he refused to sign the final communiqué that was always a joint statement of all the members. A famous picture shows him seated at a table with his arms folded tightly as Angela Merkel backed by other members stand and try to persuade him to join them.

Trump at the G-7 in August 2019.

First: a definition of the word “Chutzpah”  –  a display of outlandish NERVE flouting the norms of society.  Yiddish.

The meeting was held in France with President Macron as the host.  He and his wife greeted the U.S. president and Melania warmly.  From there, it was downhill  from beginning to end of all the sessions.

Macron had planned the topics for the different meetings , including  Iran, climate change, and the effects of trade wars among the nations.   Trump had pulled out of the Iran Treaty signed by six nations  to limit Iran’s production of nuclear weapons.  He had also taken the U.S. out of the Paris Pact that set yearly targets  for each country  spewing carbon dioxicide and other gases into the envioronment.  Finally, the U.S. trade war with China would be a concern of all the participants economies.

What happened in the days that followed was summed up in the lead editorial in The New York Times:  “Group of 7 Minus Trump: “  “The leaders of the major economies tiptoed around the irascible and unpredictable American president.”

Friday, the president had left the U.S. saying that Xi, the  president of China was “ the enemy”.  On Monday, he described him as “ a great leader and a brilliant man”.  When asked about his order that American businesses leave China… three days later, Trump said , “That’s the way I do business to get a deal”.   Never mind that issuing his order by tweet had caused the stock market Dow Jones Average to plummet over six hundred points immediately.   “Sorry,” he told reporters. “That’s the way I negotiate.”

When Climate Change was on the agenda for all leaders and their staffs, Trump never appeared at the session.  It was clear that his decision to exit the Paris Pact was based on his refusal to accept that carbon dioxide and other gases in the air and water affect nations all across the planet. He has never accepted the research and conclusions of the world’s leading scientists on the polluting effects of gases ejected by factories and power plants .  It is ironic that Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State was instrumental in organizing what became the Paris Pact of nations committed to saving the planet.

It became clear during the sessions Trump did attend that the other leaders had learned from past meetings with Donald Trump how to approach subjects they disagreed on.  Boris Johnson, the newly elected prime minister of Great Britain spoke to Trump deferentially, saying , “ We’re in favor of trade peace on the whole, and dialing it down if we can.”  Most of the other leaders used flattery at first before they disagreed with any of his positions.  Macron in a master stroke had not planned a joint communiqué to close this entire session.

On Sunday, Trump said “The lunch was the best hour and a half I ever spent with him.” and the dinner Saturday with the other leaders was “fantastic.”  Also, “Mr. Johnson was “ the right man for the job”.

The dinner had included a “lively discussion” about Trump’s desire to bring Russia back into the G-7.  The other members rejected doing so until Russia reversed its intervention in Ukraine.  They said it rewarded Russia’s aggression.   Trump had been touting that proposal at home for months to see it fall completely flat.

Ultimate Chutzpah:  The United States is the country where the 2020 G-7 meeting will take place.  Before he left France on Monday, he offered The Doral Golf Club Resort near Miami, Florida which his company owns as the site for the meeting!

At a news conference, he boasted why Doral should be the host site, “ With  Doral, we have a series of magnificent buildings, we call them bungalows, they each hold from 50 to 70 —very luxurious rooms with magnificent views. We have incredible conference rooms.  incredible restaurants.”    “And what we have also is Miami and many hundreds of acres for parking or all the things that you need, the ballrooms are among the biggest in Florida and the best.”

A follow up tweet by the official White House account appeared to  present the site selection as a done deal.

Reactions to this proposal were immediate.  Was it ethical or legal for a president of the United States to host the G-7 meeting  at his Resort and make a profit for his corporation?   Deepak Gupta, an ethics lawyer told The New York Times, “Trump would basically be compelling the foreign governments to be spending money at his personal resort, while promoting the resort on the world stage.”

This raises the issue of whether Trump would be violating the emoluments clause of The Constitution that prohibits presidents from profiting from public office from foreign countries.  There have been lawsuits already that have not been successful in federal courts on this matter. A third is still moving through the courts.

When Trump was asked whether he would be profiting from his offer, he replied that the presidency is a money loser for him, estimating   that it would cost him “anywhere from $3 to $5 billion.”

The host country leader usually makes the arrangements for the official visit.  It is very possible that Trump waited to float this offer at the last minute to avoid any questions raised there or at home or  while he was in France.

We will have to wait and see if the Doral Golf Resort is the setting for G-7 in August 2020 ……right before Donard Trump will find out if he wins or loses the Presidential Election.

…………………………………………………..Joyce S. Anderson

 

Ken Cuccinelli Rewrites Emma Lazarus on The Statue of Liberty!

The latest foray of the Trump Administration into the ethos of this nation is now under way.  Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration is hawking the  “public charge” philosophy  of Donald J. Trump.   On NPR when being interviewed,  Cuccinelli  said that the famous words inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty should now read: “ Give me your tired and your  poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.”

Millions of Americans who love “The New Colossus”, the poem by Emma Lazarus,  were dismayed that nothing was sacred anymore with the Trump Administration.

Cuccinelli  set off an avalanche of criticism from members of Congress as well as U.S. citizens who found this  a shocking  new policy that would reject the poor for green cards.  Cable television featured historians who cited John F. Kennedy’s “Nation of Immigrants” book to stress that except for Native Americans and African Americans  who are 14th generation since their ancestors were brought here as slaves, the rest of our population came as immigrants, seeking a better life. And most Americans today are descendants of immigrants who came in the one hundred years between 1850 and 1965.

Exclusion laws began with The Chinese Exclusion Act in l882 followed by Laws in 1924 that favored immigrants from Northern and Western Europe over Southern and Eastern Europe.  Quota systems lasted for each country until 1965.  People waited for decades and families often came in shifts when money for tickets was not available.

Ellis Island was the main port of entry and The Statue of Liberty became the symbol worldwide , holding her torch high as the welcoming beam to guide them safely here.

Stephen Miller who wrote the president’s “American Carnage “  Inauguration Speech created the new public charge policy. He was described in The New York Times as  ‘ the architect of Trump’s immigration agenda.”  Cuccinelli reflects Miller’s view that immigrants should not rely on financial government support like food stamps or Medicaid.

Donald Trump’s negative view of immigrants was heard in his first words descending the escalator in Trump Tower in 2015 that Mexicans crossing the Southern Border were “rapists and murderers”.  In his three bans on Muslims entering the country, he continued to denigrate immigrants.  He also hyped imaginary caravans of thousands of immigrants coming before the midterm elections.  An Invasion!  After it was over, the caravans disappeared from his tweets.

Advocacy groups estimate that 26 million legal immigrants living and working in the United States will reconsider their use of government benefits because they would fear that acceptance of assistance would affect their ability to remain in the United States.  Several immigration groups have pledged to sue the Trump administration .  Over the past several months, tens of thousands of people opposed the new policy in a public comment period.

Cynthia Buiza ,  Executive Director of The California Immigrant Policy Center, said, ‘Shame on the Trump Administration for expanding a rule with racist roots in a shameful ploy to rig the immigration system for the wealthy.  We thank all who stood up against the administration’s hate filled agenda, and we will continue to fight for our values of community , compassion and concerned humanity.’’

Epilogue:  Emma Lazarus came from a prominent New York Jewish family whose ancestors settled there before The Revolutionary War.  She was an established poet and donated her poem “The New Colossus” to raising funds for the Pedestal of The Statue of Liberty.

It was being built in France as a gift to the United States by the sculptor, Frederic Auguste Bartholdi.  He called it “La Liberte eclairant le monde. Liberty Enlightening  The World. ‘’

The closing words of the poem as written by Emma Lazarus:

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send them, the homeless, the tempest tost to me.

I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Her entire poem is engraved on a bronze plaque on the Pedestal of The Statue of Liberty.

……………………………………………….Joyce S. Anderson

 

 

Trump Insults Elijah Cummings and Baltimore

As I read the latest insults the president hurled in his tweets, castigating Elijah Cummings, Chair of The House Oversight Committee, I could hear the words of the famous poem, “Incident” by the African American poet, Countee Cullen.  1903 to 1946.

INCIDENT

Once riding in ole Baltimore

Heart filled, head filled with glee.

I saw a Baltimorean keep looking straight at me.

 

Now I was eight and very small

And he was no whit bigger.

And so I smiled , but he poked out

His tongue and called me “Nigger!”

 

I saw the whole of Baltimore,

From May  until December.

Of all the things that happened there

That’s all that I remember.

 

This poem captures the Impact of a racially insulting name yelled at an African American boy many years ago.  We know that poets have the ability and power to describe truths that will last for years to come.

Today, in 2019, there are children and teens in Baltimore hearing and seeing on television, and reading in newspapers the president’s virulent untrue descriptions of their hometown.  How does that make them feel?

I doubt they will ever forget what Donald J. Trump said about Baltimore.

………………………………………………………….Joyce S. Anderson

Orchid Fever

 

Twenty six years ago, when I first ventured into Waldor Orchids, the lush greenhouses a few miles away, to find one perfect white phalaenopsis, Bill Off, the owner fixed a practiced eye upon me and pronounced, “You are going to become an orchid junkie!”  “Now, how do you know that?” I asked. “This is the first orchid I have ever bought. I don’t even know how to grow them.”  His answer reminded me of what Justice Potter Stewart said when he was asked for his definition of pornography.  Bill just smiled and said, “I know one when I see one.”  And that was that. Of course, he was right.

Today, Bill and I are close buddies. I’m in the greenhouses on a regular basis. And the orchids are taking over our house. I certainly have not become an expert, but I have learned a lot about the growing and care of the amazingly hardy plants. And I’ve discovered a new dimension of nurturance and creativity along the way.

First, let me share that the first orchid, the one I call my “oldest living baby” is alive and well, putting forth seven to eleven exquisite flowers every year on a single, long graceful stem.  Each identical white bloom has a dark purple center and lasts for up to six or seven months, delicate and ephemeral in appearance, yet actually strong and hardy requiring very little care. Bill had given me a culture sheet that spelled out the optimal conditions of light, shade, water and food that a particular variety need.  Two hours attention a week take care of the twenty plus plants we now have.

Maybe it was luck that my first orchid plant did so well.  Or maybe it was that  walking into that greenhouse was for me what the Greek poet Kazantzakis meant about having one’s “brush and colors and painting Paradise.”  In I went and what an aesthetic treat it has been. Most of my orchids live on the floor in the family room next to the sliding glass doors in full southern light. Some of the most popular varieties require 4 to 6 hours of sunlight, and our indoor garden is three rows deep to catch the best light. Never mind that we cannot reach or open those doors. A small casualty for the cause.  We can reach the deck through the sliding doors in the adjacent kitchen.

Other orchid varieties reside on tables next to northern and western windows in the living room, southern windows in the dining room and arrayed around the Jacuzzi tub in the master bathroom. Where there’s space and light, there’s room for a new baby. My husband has been very cooperative and I’ve steered clear of his office.

So, why do all this?  And what does “requires very little care” mean? Most orchids need water and food only once a week. Different species thrive with different light, temperature and humidity, all detailed on the culture sheet. Food is a liquid mixed with water at the sink in a large plastic pitcher. Thursday is usually Orchid Day at our house, taking about two hours. All the plants are brought into the kitchen where they sit in plastic drain dishes on the counters. Each is then taken to the sink to water, feed if necessary with Grow or Bloom depending on their progress in a yearly cycle, and thoroughly drain.  Water should be tepid and added until it runs out of the hole in the bottom of the plastic or terra cotta pot. All reside in lovely decorator pots during the week.

Wow! Sounds like real work. Yes, but nothing compared to the rewards. Each Thursday, I may spot the beginning of a spike or efflorescence on at least one plant , just a tiny green nub pushing its way out at the base of the leaves or between bulbs.  I call my husband and he oohs and aahs with me. The next week, I check to see the extent of growth of the stem that has already grown two to four inches.  Over the months that follow, buds will emerge on the lengthening stem and develop into flowers. Once they are ready, a flower may open overnight. One can almost watch the petals unfold.  Thus, each stage of the yearly cycle has its pleasures for the grower. Very different from buying an orchid plant from a florist with flowers in full bloom.

Bill says I should consider a small greenhouse attached to the house on the back deck . I told him I’m not ready for that kind of commitment yet. This love affair with the oncidiums ‘Dancing Dolls’ , exquisite yellow flowers, and ‘Shary Baby” , tiny lavender blooms with the aroma of chocolate, has to be kept under control. But when ‘Kaleidoscope‘, the spectacular phalaenopsis whose petals are coral with fuschia stripes, and ’Golden Elf’ a yellow cimbidium with a lemon scent bloom at the same time, I know I may be weakening.

Meanwhile, I’ll just drive over to the greenhouses to walk around and enjoy the hundreds of gorgeous orchids in bloom. Chat with Bill a little. He always takes time. Maybe, bring one new baby home. There’s always space for one more on the family room floor. It’s a beautiful sunny day. Why not?

………………………………………………………………………………………………Joyce S, Anderson

 

 

 

Race: Man’s Most Dangerous Myth

Prologue: When I began to teach at Atlantic Community College, the country had witnessed the Watts riots in Los Angeles in l965, inner city riots in Detroit and Newark in l967, and prolonged riots in cities nationwide after the assassination of Martin Luther King in l968.  The pattern was the same; burning buildings and looted stores while most of the victims were the black residents of the neighborhoods that were destroyed. Police strategy was to contain the violence and destruction to the inner city area. The Kerner Commission that investigated the riots gave a comprehensive analysis of the underlying causes of the riots as well as the precipitating incidents. At the heart of their report was the deep anger and frustration of the black population within the inner cities who faced discrimination and prejudice in all areas of their daily lives — work, education, housing and police intimidation.

 

It is now 2017 and the issue of race and racism is emblazoned in the headlines once more. When thousands of white supremacists invaded Charlottesville, Virginia on Friday night, August 11, they brought racist bigotry and deadly violence with them. Ku Klux Klan, Neo Nazis and Skinheads were met by counter-protestors the following day. President Trump at a press conference the following Tuesday blamed “both sides” for the mob violence that ensued.

 

Today’s events brought back what happened in l968 when race exploded across the country. I approached the Dean at Atlantic Community College to see if I could prepare a course syllabus on Race, Ethnicity, Prejudice and Discrimination.  The country was exploding and I wanted to do something constructive in my new position.  He asked me to give him a book to read before he made his decision. I gave him “Race: Man’s Most Dangerous Myth” by the anthropologist Ashley Montague. After he read the book, Dean Young gave me the go-ahead and I began teaching “The Individual and The Group” in the Spring semester of l969. It was offered until 1983 when I took a leave of absence.

 

Twenty seven students signed up for the course offering, a night class once a week. I will never forget that first class. The average age of community college students was 28 and most of the class members were mature working people. There were also two Atlantic City High School seniors who were taking part in Project WILL, inter-racial learning and living.  She was black and he was white. The future black mayor of Pleasantville and his wife were in the class.  There were Vietnam veterans as well as a fire fighter and a couple who were attendants at the state hospital, Ancora.  There was almost an even number of black and white students. I learned as much that semester as the students.

 

History: The heart of the course, presented in both lecture and discussion was the night for “Race: Man’s Most Dangerous Myth”. I began by asking the class , “ Please jot down in a phrase or sentence what the word ‘race’ means to you.” Their answers included: “ Different groups of people.”  “Skin color.” “Different religions.” “Different backgrounds.”  “Black, white, red, yellow.” and “Different nationalities”.  Two people wrote There’s no such thing as race.”

 

The lecture that evening took the students back to the l8th century when the concept of race as we know it began. Before that time — for thousands of years —  discrimination and group hostilities grew from religion, class, caste, political and cultural differences. The man who inadvertently created the modern concept of race was a Swedish research botanist, Carl Linnaeus. In his passionate study of plant life, he developed a system of order — a way to classify according to kind and type — genus and specie.  After he classified all plant life in The System of Nature (l735), he went on to classify every known animal as well. Finally, he came to humans whom he named in Latin: Homo sapiens – man the wise.

 

Linnaeus then took the next step and divided Homo sapiens into four sub groups.  Europaeus albus, Asiaticus luridus, Afer niger, and Americanus rufus.  He linked geographical location with skin color: white, yellow, black and red. (The latter described only native Americans.)  He then added, from his ethnocentric point of view what he thought were characteristics of each group.  Europaeus albus — superior, creative and lively. Asiaticus —haughty, stern and opinionated.  Afer niger – slow, negligent and cunning. Americanus rufus – easily contented, free and tenacious.

 

Linnaeus had used objective evidence when he classified plant and animal life. However, when he reached Homo sapiens, he became completely subjective and drew upon hearsay, random anecdotes and his imagination. He had never traveled to Asia, Africa or America.  Nevertheless, the stereotypes were formed and the classification was picked up by other scientists who were intrigued with measuring physical differences among human beings.  A veritable frenzy ensued, measuring cranial indices, ears, noses, hair texture and other permanent features of adult humans.

 

Linnaeus did state that his categories were arbitrary groupings and he never used the word race. The term was coined by George Buffon, a French naturalist, for the first time in l749 when he decided there were six groups of human beings.   It is supremely ironic that skin color was chosen as the prime measure of difference …since skin color is NOT a permanent trait. It is an adaptable trait, affected by such factors as sun, disease, emotion and pregnancy. It is also clear that true colors — white, black, yellow and red of a painter’s palette never appear in actual skin pigmentation, Complete lack of color in an albino is the closest to white. The genes that transmit skin color are very complex in contrast to the genes for eye color. And most significant, there is a range of skin color within every human group that is far greater than the differences between the groups. These are scientific facts based on deep research studies.

 

Ashley Montague called race the “witchcraft of our times.”  He knew that people believe in myths.  And if something is defined as real, it is real in its consequences.  The two skeptical students in my class who wrote, “There is no such thing as race.” sensed what was correct.

Now, in 2017, we need to separate reality from the myth of race. Human qualities are the result of genetic endowment and nurturing as we grow from infants to maturity, often called “Nature and Nurture”. Racism — the result of centuries of defining people by their skin color — permeates our society and our lives. It is linked inextricably to our country’s history with slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction as an aftermath. We need to separate reality from the myth of race. . Our democratic society has many levels of class and economic conditions. Where one is born and to whom, has an enormous effect upon the level of education, opportunity and success one will achieve in one’s lifetime.

Epilogue:   It is now 2019 and Race remains a central issue in our lives.  The president has sent a tweet telling four young Congressional women of color to “go back to where you came from.”   In addition , he continues his condemnation of immigrants trying to come  from Central America to escape the danger in their homelands.  Most are women and children walking thousands of miles seeking a better life in America.

Nancy Pelosi, The Speaker of The House of Representatives, has accused Donald Trump wanting to “make America White again.”  Three of the four women are natural born citizens; one became a citizen.  All were elected by voters in their districts to represent them in Congress.  They believe America IS GREAT RIGHT NOW.  Freedom of speech is in the First Amendment to The Constitution.  Amen!

Joyce S. Anderson