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An open-letter to my sons about President (Elect) Trump


I decided to write this letter to tell you guys, first and foremost, that I love you. As I sat down to write this, I realized that I have not told you how much I love you since you were pre-teens. Fathers will often neglect telling their sons “I love you.” We will, however, express how proud we are of your grades in school or your performance in sports, etc., but many of us are conditioned or refrain from using the word “love,” when it comes to our sons. I cannot explain why, other than to say that we wish to meet all of your needs and most of your wants, and we shower you with whatever gifts we can afford to give you. Maybe we feel in doing so, our actions symbolize the love we have for you.

With this undying love, comes the realization that we live in a country that has always been brutal to African Americans since the beginning of our ancestral history here in the United States.

When the first African American, William Tucker, was born in America in 1624 as a servant born into slavery, I am sure his father, Arthur, had anxiety and fear about his welfare. Millions of African American fathers in the ante-bellum South pondered the fate of their families and particularly their sons. The fear of death and beatings, and other violent crimes was a daily burden our ancestors endured.

As fathers, we have new fears today—fear of gang violence, fear of police brutality and murders classified as justifiable homicides. These threats have caused some activists to declare young African American males as an endangered species.

With the recent election of Donald Trump as president, it is my biggest fear that in the next four years he will foster and give a stronger voice to racist ideology. The country will continue to transform into a racist society at an accelerated rate making life for young Black males significantly worse than it is today. Unfortunately, if he wins a second term, you will grow into adulthood under a presidency not fond of  the color of your dark skin.

I want you guys to realize that this election has given some White men the idea that it is okay to oppress, be hateful, and angry toward people of color. You guys must realize this campaign was used by Trump to spew 18 months of racist rhetoric.

In addition, Trump will select the next U.S. Supreme Court justice. Based on what I know of him thus far, he will more than likely choose an ultra conservative who shares the same beliefs as the above-mentioned White men.

With the defeat of Hillary Clinton and the election of Trump as the 45th president of the United States of America, our world has changed and the world view of the U.S. is changing too. Your success as an African American will be dependent on one thing—hard work. As Trump assembles his cabinet and takes office Jan. 20, at noon, “your clock is ticking.”

The term, “your clock is ticking,” is borrowed from the Doomsday Clock, a symbolic timepiece created in 1947 by scientists who participated in creating the atomic bomb. As the world situation worsens, the clock hands move towards midnight which represents destruction of planet earth. It was initially set at seven minutes to midnight and according to the University of Chicago now reads three minutes to midnight.

Therefore, sons, I want you to know that your clock is ticking and you must be proactive and prepare yourself for Donald Trump’s reign as POTUS.

You must refrain from four-hour video game sessions, marathon Netflix watching sprees, and all activities that prevent the development of the brain, which you will need to overcome obstacles and navigate a path to success.

During his acceptance speech, Trump paid homage to the United States Secret Service and New York Police department, something no president-elect has ever done. To me, this is a signal to the law enforcement community that he is going to be tough on crime. Further, during his campaign he stated that the inner city (Blacks) needs more policing to include police profiling, or “stop-and-frisk” similar to what was done in New York in recent years under former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and later found to be unconstitutional.

You must avoid all illegal associates and activities. “Bad hombres” are not just Latinos. They are people of color. I am almost sure the present prison industrial complex will become even larger with the expansion of the privatization of prisons. The labor force in these revamped prisons will thrive off of the backs people of color. Remember, he is a savvy businessman and surely knows that the prison industrial complex and private prisons turn a pretty profit.

If President Trump enacts his so called “New Deal for Black America,” there may be a large increase in law enforcement presence in Black neighborhoods. This may lead to more arrests and therefore more free prison labor.

There is a strong possibility that former Mayor Giuliani will get some kind of cabinet post. Giuliani was infamous for being a big supporter of stop and frisk, and was the first to deny that Abner Louima was beaten by NYPD with fists, nightsticks, and hand-held police radios while being transported to the station to have a sadist shove a wooden handle through his colon.

During Giuliani’s tenure as mayor, there existed a pattern of White police officers hunting down Black men and killing them in cold blood, as if to say that their lives are expendable and disposable.

Sons, as Black males in America, you are considered a potential criminal, a suspect, a troublemaker, and a dangerous person. Being a Black male means that White police officers should “fear” you and “protect” themselves and society from you in a most violent manner.

I strongly believe that over the next two years, there will be boots on the ground in the Middle East since President-elect Trump has promised a quick defeat of ISIS. We also have adversarial leaders in North Korea, China, Syria, and maybe Russia. These reasons alone should tell you to prepare for the future and utilize all your time in a positive manner because your clock is ticking.

While I am a concerned father attempting to give you some guidance for your survival during the Trump Administration, it appears that you may be faced with a dynasty of future Trumps running for public office. Not only does he plan on doing two terms, but I fear he is preparing for his kids to hold office and is rumored to currently be in talks of getting them top-secret security clearance. An unprecedented presidential request. He wants his family to become a political dynasty like the Kennedys, and the Bushs. He has the money to back their campaigns. This should be more than enough evidence for you guys to take seriously my call for you to buckle down and stay focused.

And then there is this: President-elect Trump selected White nationalist Steve Bannon as an advisor during his campaign and top server on his staff as chief strategist. Bannon is a known racist and anti-Semite. He has publicly embraced the flying of the Confederate flag and is backer of many White nationalist organizations.

I have always felt a sense of uneasiness as you guys grew older. My uneasiness isn’t abnormal for an African male father reared in the “low bottoms,” (an area that includes zip code 90011) during the 1970s and 1980s.

I have experienced street violence and police brutality; it was considered a rite of passage, when I was growing up. Today, the situation has worsened. Gang members have transitioned from using zip guns to automatic weapons. Police officers no longer beat you; they kill you.

As a freshman at Long Beach State, I was beaten up by the Signal Hill Police Department while driving to my apartment and arrested on “trumped-up” charges. Two weeks later, my classmate, Ron Settle was found in a jail cell in the Signal Hill Police Department hanging, I believe, from a belt. I found the circumstances unbelievable, because within seconds of being escorted to my cell I was told to surrender my belt and shoelaces.

It is my belief that most of these police shootings today are a result of fear, because society and media have painted us as predators, Hillary not excluded, and Trump has amplified such feelings.

The election of Trump sends cold chills down my spine realizing the apparent racial hatred he harbors towards people of color. His rhetoric has awakened the White American Right, and I believe has given racism a boost. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center—since his election—more than 300 hate crimes have been reported across the nation.

More than likely Trump will do two terms, and during his last term you guys will be in your mid 20s. His agenda to “make America great again,” will have been completed, and the doomsday clock time may be at midnight.

Consequently, you guys need to take heed; “your clock is ticking.”

Your loving father,

William Covington