Prior to Donald Trump’s first few days in the White House, his mantra, “Make America great again” had only been a refrain contrived by him for the unification of his supporters. This writer and many others openly questioned which American time-period Trump distinguished as great. In response to this hyperbole, some hinted that people of color were never recipients of this greatness—so by the process of elimination, it appears that Trump’s “great America” is for whites only.
Trump Borrows African Practice for Unification
Having an advanced degree in Speech Communication afforded this writer the opportunity to take numerous courses in voice and articulation. In the Speech curriculum, the oral traditions of African-Americans were part of the course sequence. “Call and response” was a communication process examined in several courses, as this is a verbal exchange that brings the speaker and the audience to a unified movement. The origins of this exchange can be traced to Sub-Saharan Africa where the pattern was utilized to solidify democratic participation in public gatherings and civic affairs. The practice came across the Atlantic with African slaves and became a staple in black congregations. To illustrate a call and response scenario, the preacher (speaker) would “call” and the congregation would “respond.” An example might resemble a speaker saying (calling), “What are we going to do?” and the congregation (audience) responding, “Make America great again.” On the online cover page of African Interactive it reads, “Call and response encourages participation by the audience, improving their own sense of self-worth and of having a voice.”
Trump might not realize that having his audience repeat after him is linked to a very long tradition steeped in African culture. The concept of the call-response methodology has been referred to as the (Jackson) “politics of perfection.” The latter is a very scary proposition when one considers Trump’s policies, his over-exaggerated American utopia, and his enmity towards the truth.
The Making of Trump’s Great America
African slaves were transported to America as a labor force to make America great for the European settlers. Unfortunately, African-Americans have yet to establish an advantage point in America. Likewise, Trump added new vigor to his “Make America great again” quest when he challenged blacks to go back to Africa and see if black lives matter there. On that day, he officially raised the torch of racism while representing to his supporters that the times could be turned back to when America was great, and greatly divided.
Trump is also keeping up the great American tradition of pillaging. Just as the colonists pillaged the land while exploiting the Native Americans, Trump wants to take the oil from Iraq after Iraq finishes fighting side-by-side with Americans to defeat ISIS. Iraq is worried because Trump said that he may re-invade Iraq to take their oil, as he addressed CIA staff on Jan. 21, 2017. On Jan. 22, The New Yorker headlines read, “Trump Says U.S. Should Have Stolen Iraq’s Oil, and Maybe We’ll Have another Chance” (Margaret Hartmann).
One Iraqi official responded that, “We kept our ammunition and weapons from … the Americans for fighting ISIS…. But once ISIS is gone we will save our weapons for [fighting] the Americans.” “There’s no way Trump could take the oil unless he launched a new military front and it be a new world war,” said Kareem Kashekh, a photographer who works for the Popular Mobilization Units.
Another aspect of Trump’s great America will come to fruition when he brings manufacturing jobs back to America, despite critics saying that, “The nation no longer has the infrastructure for large-scale…. manufacturing or the labor force”. Still, discord is on the horizon for Trump as Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump's $100 million apparel line maintains production in Asia. Trump has emphatically argued that American companies bringing goods into America that are produced overseas will be heavily fined. We will see. Last Oct. in Greensboro, N. C. Trump blasted the following statement in response to overseas manufacturing, “They get the jobs, they get the factories, they get the cash, and all we get -- we get illegal immigration and we get drugs."
There is a lot to take exception to when considering the Trump administration. As an African-American female, I have raised three strong black warriors. Picking and choosing how and when to reproduce was my own personal beautiful choice. On his first day in office, Donald Trump signed legislation that will severely limit a woman’s ability to govern her own body. It appears that turning the clock of reproductive freedom back would give way to the great America that witnessed women having back-alley abortions, bearing children without proper prenatal care, and placing Planned Parenthood in the ranks with the card catalog.
Trump Does Not Know Detroit
In his Inauguration Address Trump said, “And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator.” Trump knows nothing about urban sprawl nor does he appreciate Detroit. This writer is a native Detroiter, delivering three children in Detroit hospitals; and the urban sprawl he so cavalierly refers to bears the memories of families, the artifacts of human dwellings, and it evokes a historic nostalgia that many Detroiters still treasure. For sure, it is not the great America that Trump envisions, but it is the America that “we the people” made great.
Jackson, R.L. (2004) African American Communication & Identities: Essential Readings. Sage Publications. CA.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.