Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

November 10, 2016

Black Lives Matter Protests Racial ‘Trumpism’

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The Bernie Milton Pavilion in the Ithaca Commons was the site of disbelief, frustration and sorrow Wednesday night as hundreds of Ithacans and students gathered at an anti-Trump demonstration organized by the city’s Black Lives Matter chapter.

Ithaca residents were joined by students and faculty from Cornell and Ithaca College, many of whom brought candles and signs reading “Love Trumps Hate.”

“This is not a time for mourning — this is a time for organizing,” said Prof. Russell Rickford, history, and a member of the Black Lives Matter Ithaca chapter.

A grueling and often ugly presidential campaign culminated Tuesday night in a victory for Trump, which Rickford called a victory for racism, xenophobia and misogyny.

“Today, we’re facing an intensified form of white supremacy — we call it ‘Trumpism,’” he said.

The election unearthed undercurrents of bigotry in American society whose existence Americans can no longer deny, Rickford said.

“The basic elements of ‘Trumpism’ have been here all along,” he said.

Rickford said de-unionization and “right-to-work” laws, coupled with the loss of social safety nets, allowed Trump’s exclusionist strain of populism to take root. During his campaign, Trump characterized Mexican immigrants as rapists and called for a ban on immigration from Muslim countries. 

While Trump’s election jeopardizes the progress made under the Obama administration for people of color, Rickford said Trump’s victory has the potential to be America’s “great awakening,” a wake-up call for white Americans who thought of their country as progressive. 

“Last night, we got a rude awakening,” he said. “And once you’re awake, you can’t go back to sleep. You can’t pretend. You can’t accept the same lies.”

Rickford called for a general strike of black professionals, artists and academics — a grassroots uprising to counter the one Trump rode to the White House. He voiced his skepticism that political elites would be the ones to effect change — a skepticism that extended to Hillary Clinton.

“A black face in a high place didn’t save us, and a woman in a high place wouldn’t have either,” he said.

Rickford explained that the grassroots movement would begin on the local level, calling for a minimum wage increase in Tompkins County, increased funding for local schools and demilitarization of Ithaca’s police force, including the removal of Ithaca’s SWAT truck.

Carlos Gutierrez, a Chilean man who spent three years in one of Augusto Pinochet’s prisons, echoed Rickford’s misgivings about a heavily armed police force. Gutierrez pointed to Ithaca’s SWAT truck as evidence of a growing “us versus them” mentality among members of law enforcement.

“The military police is not armed for invaders — it’s to fight us,” he said.

Gutierrez said there are clear parallels between Trump’s ascent and the rise of Pinochet in Chile, which he saw firsthand. He urged the crowd to counter the election’s vitriol with solidarity.

“The closer you are to each other, the stronger you are,” he said.

Cornell and Ithaca College students stood for hours listening to their peers’ misgivings and voicing some of their own. Thea Kozakis grad said she attended the demonstration because of her frustration with her parents, who support Trump.

“It’s been really hard,” she said. “[Trump] doesn’t believe in climate change, and I’m a scientist who studies the atmospheres of planets.”

Kozakis added that her father became much more xenophobic during Trump’s campaign.

“Now I’m hearing my dad saying these horrible things about Muslims,” she said. “I just mentioned I knew some Muslims here at Cornell, and he’s like, ’They’re academic Muslims, and academic Muslims are more likely to be terrorists.’”

Kozakis said she has not spoken to her parents since Trump’s victory was announced, except to ask about her grandparents’ nationality.

“I texted my mom asking if my grandparents were born in Italy, because I’m trying to get Italian citizenship now,” she said.

Abhinav Jindal grad from Mumbai, India said he had long considered the United States a model of tolerance, making Trump’s victory “really shocking.”

“As a foreigner, we see the United States as a very multicultural environment where people from all different countries living together in peace and harmony, so during this campaign it was a little shocking to hear someone with such strong views against people of color contending for the position of president,” he said

Delmar Fears ’19 described waking up to news of a Trump presidency — a reality that once seemed a distant possibility given his comments about Muslims, Mexicans and women.

“This morning, my bubble was burst,” she said. “The silent majority has spoken, and you know what it told me? That America is not a loving country.”

Fears called Trump’s victory a setback for America, a reminder that progress is not self-propelled.

“America is not inevitably marching towards equality,” she said. “We have to fight for our rights — bitterly, consciously, tenaciously.”

  • Jason

    With that said.. Trump got more votes from the black and hispanic community than did Romney 4 years ago.

    Explain that socialist mindless professors?

    • Alumnus

      Trump didn’t run against a black man. Romney did. The votes from people of color were so overwhelmingly in favor of Hillary that if they were the only voters, she would have received all 538 electorate votes.

  • Ezra Tank

    How can anyone openly support a group that was caught multiple times chanting, “What do we want dead cops, when do we want it, NOW!”

    Seriously this generation of students who grew up with smart phones, full bellies and almost anything they needed are very disheartening.

    • Cu

      Where was this group when Anthony Nazaire was murdered? Demanding to know who killed one of their own? No. Not a word. And the Cornell Sun was complicit. Moral failure. Shows you do not really care. It’s just cynical politics.

    • Cu

      We almost had a dead cop in Ithaca. Look up Tony Augustine and Jamel Booker. Tragic. I hope this is not what BLM wants.

  • Anna

    The call was not for a general strike of black people, but of ALL people of conscience.

  • A Nobody

    The only way to get ahead is to start @$#”^^&#(explicit delete) right away.

  • George

    Socialism took a huge step backwards on Tuesday.

  • TRUMP2016

    This reminds me of when white people took to the streets rioting and burning down stores because Obama was elected ~ oh WAIT…that DIDNT HAPPEN.

    GET OVER IT. Despite what the MSM might try to stir up..the world isn’t going to end…have a nice day 🙂

  • Mr Nathan King

    The silent majority has spoken. Would the vocal minority kindly pipe down?!

    The lack of grace and composure displayed, in the face of a result that has not gone your way, serves only to undermine the few legitimate issues highlighted by your camaign and frame yourselves as petulant, spoilt children.

    You had your voice and you had your vote. You have stood up and been counted like everyone else and a greater number of people share in a view that is different to yours.

    You don’t have to like it, but if you cant respect the views of others in the same way you would have expected in return, had the outcome been reversed, then perhaps democracy isn’t for you!?

    • Alumnus

      Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, so your silent majority is nonsense. She would have won the election if voter turnout had been higher.

      • Nathan King

        Woulda shoulda coulda.

        There’s no way you can back that statement up with fact. .

        You simply cannot know how anyone voted or would vote once that curtain is draw, despite what you want to think, and so it is pointless to speculate.

        Not enough people, who felt the same as you, felt it strongly enough to walk to a polling station. It is not the county as a whole nor the opposition who has let your side down, but your brethren and your kin who squandered their chance to vote.

        There are many nations in the world where you don’t get a voice, be thankful and avail yourself of the fact that you live in one where you do.

        Now, grow up, accept the fact that you lost fair and square and move on, like someone worthy of living in a democracy.

        • Alumnus

          There are numerous methods to statistically analyze voter turnout down to a very, very specific demographic and assess how the election would have gone under x condition. Yes, it’s a would have should have could have situation as you said. But there are ways with sound statistical methods to analyze this down to near certainty.

          And thank you for reminding me that I’m not worthy of living in a democracy. I was actually reminded of that fact when half of my country told me they don’t care about my rights and civil liberties by voting for Trump. I really needed the reminder Nathan. I appreciate the kind words.

  • borris batanov

    I protest BLM beating white people and Trump supporters. They’re racist criminals.

  • Trebor Larsen

    I applaud your stand against racism, but how does BLM the justify its anti-Semitic railings in its manifesto against the State of Israel, in the name of Palestinian justice. Exactly who do you think started the 1967 war that gave Israel its lands on the West Bank?

    • borris batanov

      Black anti-semitism is nothing new. Notice how reticent and careful Obama was to denounce the Nation of Islam, with which his black liberation theology church of 23 years, Trinity United Church, and its minister, Rev. Wright, was directly affiliated. Notice also, the unspoken legitimacy of the Nation of Islam among blacks, e.g. Spike Lee’s movie X — remember all those blacks wearing baseball caps with “X” on them?

      Further, anti-semitism, which hides in the BDS movement, is flourishing on the Left, from ANSWER to the British Labour Party.

      This is particularly poignant at CU: Michael Schwerner, a Jew and a member of Cornell’s fraternity Pi Lambda Phi, was murdered trying to register Mississippi blacks to vote.

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  • Steven Kennedy

    I want to thank all the snowflake Social Justice Warriors and their academic enablers for their assistance in getting Trump elected. When you continually call someone racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and fascist without any basis in fact, eventually they get tired of it and decide to vote against you. Keep up the good work!

    • Alumnus

      “Trump: we need to ban all Muslims from this country. Mexicans are racists, drug dealers, and bad hombres.”
      Social Justice Warrior snowflakes: “That’s racist and xenophobic.”
      You: “Lol that’s not racist! Where are your facts?”

  • George

    Presidency, Senate (Republican majority likely to increase in 2018), House, 1-3 Supreme Court Justice appointments, Cabinet, Agency Heads. No more socialists like Tom Perez or Julian Castro. No more liberal federal court judges. No more DOJ investigations of police departments or voter suppression allegations. No threats to cut off federal funds because of bathroom bills. No more warships named after gay icons. The sun is shining in America!

  • Phil Hanlon

    Dartmouth lucked out when Rickford left. Sorry Cornell, but he’s your disaster now.

  • Cu

    Where was this group when Anthony Nazaire was murdered? Demanding to know who killed one of their own? No. Not a word. And the Cornell Sun was complicit. Moral failure. Shows you do not really care. It’s just cynical politics.

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  • Jeff

    Being a Native of Ithaca but gone after 911 How things have changed I dated interracial a good portion of my life in Ithaca Hearts my heart how MLK’s Dream is getting Tarnished but funny I live in Midland TX now and gee everyone gets along no riots no race inequality we are all one unless you want throw us out of balance but that doesn’t happen Because we all bleed Red and talk to each other !

  • Jeff

    Being a Native of Ithaca but gone after 911 How things have changed I dated interracial a good portion of my life in Ithaca Hurts my heart how MLK’s Dream is getting Tarnished but funny I live in Midland TX now and gee everyone gets along no riots no race inequality we are all one unless you want throw us out of balance but that doesn’t happen Because we all bleed Red and talk to each other ! Fixed the typo yes it does hurt my heart !

  • Hugh Mungus

    Funny, the snowflakes didn’t show any sympathy for others when Obama won two times in a row. Where were the administrators and puppies then. Oh, to be so fragile……..

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