Thoughts and commentary by James DunnJames Dunn is a Dallas area activist, writer, author and contributor to SoMetro News. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of James Dunn and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SoMetro News.
January 17, 2019
The year was 1965.
The afternoon was sunny and I was a happy second grader. When I came
running out of Gabe P. Allen Elementary School that afternoon and got
into my grandmother’s car I was in for a surprise. After I had sat
down she told me that maybe I wanted to ride with my father and that
he was parked across the street in a brand new 1965 Pontiac Catalina.
As any kid would be, I was excited. This would be the first new car
that I remember. I climbed in the car excitedly and my father and I
rode the short distance home.
I later learned that my father had purchased the car so that we could
go on a family vacation to Los Angeles California that coming summer
and he wanted to drive out. His birthday was on August 11 and he
wanted to spend it with his brother, my Uncle Frank.
That summer we loaded up the car and drove as far as Palm Springs
before we got the news. Los Angeles had erupted in flames. A riot was
going on in the large, Black section of town knows as Watts. We
stopped at a motel and checked in for the night. My father called
Uncle Frank. Uncle Frank said that it was alright and to come on
through. That next morning we arrived at my uncle’s house only to
discover that he lived one house from South Central Blvd. South
Central Blvd. was the main street where the rioting was taking place.
On August 11, my father’s birthday and the day the rioting started,
white police had pulled over a Black motorist for reckless driving.
The man, Marquette Frye, had argued with police and the argument
escalated into a fight. A pregnant woman was hurt. For the next six
days Los Angeles’ Watts neighborhood burned and I was there. Watching
Watts burn started a burning flame in me.
After this riot I thought that racial problems in this country would
begin to be solved. I was wrong. Later, during the 1960s more and
more American cities erupted in flames. The country rushed to pass
civil rights laws and attempt to make things right for Blacks merely
trying to exist in this country. As I grew up I thought that, surely,
by the time I was an adult things would get better for Blacks. Some
things did, others didn’t.
Then came Trump.
Having been a witness to years of Black struggle and someone who read
several newspapers per day starting at the age of 12, I have always
been keenly aware of the struggle that seems to never end. As a Black
man it seems that we take one step forward and eight steps back. And
now the wall.
As this country elected an avowed racist for president, this president
seems to be intent on taking people of color all the way back to the
darkest days of Jim Crow. Donald Trump’s wall is nothing more than
his expression of racial hatred of brown people who speak another
language. Any idiot knows that if the people of Mexico, Central, and
South America were blond and blue-eyed, the president would have no
problem with them. The problem with these desperate people seeking
humane refuge is that they are people of color. The wall itself is
only a manifestation of one orange bigot’s xenophobia. Trump has to
There is an old gospel song that says, “I’m too close, I can’t turn
back now.” As a Black man I know that we are too close to winning the
battle against bigotry to close our eyes to the damage that Donald
Trump is doing in this country to sit back and do nothing. We must
demand that our leaders remove this cancer from any position of
leadership in this country and we must demand that it is done ASAP.
We must demand that our always-too-timid Democratic representatives
get a spine and give the Republicans what we are getting and have been
taking for too long.
When newly elected Democratic representative Rashida Tlaib dared say,
“Impeach the motherfucker,” a couple of weeks ago, Democrats cringed
and showed their yellow cowardly bellies. They should have been
touting her for president and seconding everything that she said.
Indeed, right now there are web sites selling tee shirts quoting the
bold new representative. These tee shirts show the sentiment from
everyone that I know. We are not timid and we do not want
representatives who are afraid to stand up to these Republican
bullies. It is time to toughen up, Democrats.
The Watts riots broke out because the country was boiling over from
the effects of racial animus. Trump and his Russian buddies are
sewing seeds of hatred on purpose in order to tear this country apart.
Do not allow this man to continue until 2020. By then we will have
lost our country.
I lost my innocence in Los Angeles, California in 1965. Since that
day I have been paying attention. We are a country on the verge of
erupting with racial hatred. We have to stop Trump RIGHT NOW! We
cannot afford to wait until the 2020 elections. We must act now.
Impeach the motherfucker.