NEW ORLEANS (Nov. 22, 2016) – Nationally syndicated commentator Roland S. Martin said the surprising upset by Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election occurred because white backlash always follows black success in U.S. history.
“Fear is at the root of what took place” on election day, he said, speaking at a Brain Food lecture Wednesday, Oct. 16, in Georges Auditorium.
Martin, the host of TV One’s “News One Now,” received a standing ovation from more than 200 that discussed the role of African American and other minorities in society and politics and how to truly fix the problems that we face in American we need “ a new foundation.”
He challenged “people of conscience” to work together: “Wake up; dust yourself off and go to work” on the issues everyone cares about.
He recalled several instances of such a white backlash, including after the Civil War and Reconstruction, when Jim Crow became policy, and the second Reconstruction of the civil rights era ended with the Nixon “law and order” election. Now, we have backlash after eight years of the Barack Obama White House and the “post-racial” hype that came with his election.
One clue that “white minority resistance” was growing, he said, was a 2009 poll in which only white Americans said they were NOT optimistic about the future of America.
Martin emphasized the importance of understanding how our country was founded. He said whites are concerned about how quickly they are losing their majority status. The estimate on when that will happen initially was 2060, then 2055, then 2051; now it’s 2044, he said.
Martin said America is in denial because “they want black folk at the table but don’t want black folk at the head of the table.” He went on to say that America will soon be a majority minority country, and that is what many white Americans fear.
The host of a black news show stressed that black people should “not rely on CNN” for all of the information what is going on in the world. He said blacks should also get news from people that not only look like them but those who want to explain what these policies and bills mean for people in your shoes.
A graduate of Texas A&M University, Martin recalled a time when he was watching a Texas A&M football game in a public space, and when he shared that he was an alumnus, a white man asked Martin whether he played football there. Martin said he has never been an athlete, but this white person assumed he had to be a black athlete in order to go to Texas A&M; he used this story to say that “race is so deeply embedded in our DNA.”
Martin suggested that all Americans are all in this thing together, yet race and class are intertwined in the fight for dominance over policy.
Martin said a blue-collar white person might say, “I’m broke, but I’m white,” but he would respond, “No – You’re just broke.”