I’ve been watching “The People vs. O.J. Simpson” and Tuesday night I happened to catch the episode about Mark Fuhrman. You may remember that in 1995, he denied under oath he’d used the word “nigger” in the past 10 years. Afterwards, over 13 hours of audio tapes came out where not only did he frequently use the word, he discussed a pattern of policing where it was typical to beat and or frame black defendants. He outlined that the abuses were not rare but systemic in the Los Angeles Police Department happening frequently. To quote a line from the show, “it proved what black people have always known”. Although only two sentences from the tapes were able to be used in testimony to show Fuhrman committed perjury. All of America came to know he used the word “nigger” 41 times in the tapes and described his personal mistreatment of blacks and animus for blacks, Mexicans and women.
Fast forward to the present and Mark Fuhrman hosts a radio show, has written best-selling books and is a frequent contributor on Fox News. While I would love to single out Fox News, prior to his appearances there he worked for ABC, CBS and Court TV. My question is, what is it about Mark Fuhrman that makes his opinion desirable or acceptable. He was found guilty of perjury (only got 3 years’ probation) which calls into question his credibility and the tapes he made demonstrated no concern for following procedure except for how to get around it. Most of all he demonstrated he was an avowed racist who used his position to persecute those who didn’t look like him.
Make no mistake; his presence on Fox News is not in spite of his clear racist beliefs and abuse of power. It is because of it. Fox News presents Mark Fuhrman to assure their white base of viewers whose side they are on and that they give zero damn’s about whoever might be offended.
Given this background, it is easier to look at the campaign of Donald Trump and see more clearly how he enjoys a certain level of support despite his clear racism, xenophobia and misogyny. He is not receiving votes in spite of his clear views but because of them. If you have any doubt who Trump is nakedly appealing to, look at who attends his rallies. The people that have few other places where they can publicly display their confederate flags, or swastika tattoos have found a home at Trump events. Donald Trump is who he is and has discriminated against blacks in housing, taken out a full page ad advocating the death penalty for 5 black youth who turned out to be innocent. Hired illegal workers and paid them a fraction of their worth and done what he said you have to do which is, “treat women like shit”. Donald is who he is which is finally becoming clear and he will not become the next President of the United States. What he has revealed is the number of Americans that feel he is speaking for them and their desire to make America not great again but white again.
America has become far less of a melting pot than a place where a percentage of the population has a great fear of losing the privilege they have always enjoyed. They have done all they can to retain power despite shrinking demographics thru gerrymandering and redistricting and voter suppression. Trump’s campaign has helped shatter the illusion that racism is a thing of the past. It is front and center as perhaps it has always been.