“Sup with ya man’s?”
I knew Kanye West had done something wrong. The text was from a frat brother I never hear from unless we are debating Ye’s music or behavior.
“What did Ye do now?” I replied.
I hung my head in shame.
The past 360-odd days have shown us that while Ol’ Dude may be remembered as the 2016 Pied Piper of Racism, racially problematic behavior was not limited to the president-elect. Below, a countdown of the biggest racists of the year not named Trump.
10. Phil Jackson
9. Country Music Fans
They tried it.
Folks whose skin was kissed by the sun created country music; therefore, it’s not surprising that Beyoncé did it better. Facebook trolling doesn’t take away from the fact that the Queen made the best country song of the year.
8. Steve Clevenger
The former Seattle Mariners backup catcher took to Twitter to express his outrage about the protests that were taking place in Charlotte, N.C., after the police killed Keith Lamont Scott:
Black people beating whites when a thug got shot holding a gun by a black officer haha [s—t] cracks me up! Keep kneeling for the anthem!
He then said: “[Black Lives Matter] is pathetic again! Obama you are pathetic once again! Everyone should be locked behind bars like animals!” In response, Major League Baseball suspended him for the remaining 10 games of the season without pay. Thereafter, Clevenger issued one of the worst apologies in the history of terrible white apologies for racist behavior. He said that he had black friends, that his words were misunderstood, and then ended with an allusion to a Martin Luther King Jr. quote. Scholars of rhetoric will spend countless hours studying his apology for years to come.
7. Ol’ Dude’s Cabinet …
… is very white—and very male. There are a few women (and Uncle Ben), but since he picked them, I’ll just call it racism by association.
6. The American Media
American news organizations assumed that Ol’ Dude could not win and, therefore, spent most of their time trying to understand why white working-class voters supported Trump. This assumption was rooted in their reading of the polls and, quite frankly, white supremacy. Most outlets cared more about why someone would vote for him and less about the devastating impact his presidency would have on black and brown people. Now the normalization of the Trump media tour is underway.
5. The United Kingdom
In June the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. As a result, global stocks plummeted and the pound reached a 31-year low. Why did they do it? Racial tensions over immigration, exacerbated by rhetoric from the right-wing, populist U.K. Independence Party. They wrecked their economy because of xenophobia, and I arrogantly laughed at them, thinking that it could not happen here. I’m not laughing now.
Yes, I know white people died in 2016 (David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, etc.), but damn: Prince, Phife Dawg, Gwen Ifill, Muhammad Ali (just to name a few)? Death was racist as hell this year.
3. Black Trump Supporters
Self-explanatory. They’re all a bunch of Herbs.
2. Police Officers
Philando Castile, Korryn Gaines, Terence Crutcher, Alton Sterling … 2016 was not the year police officers decided to stop killing black people. In 2015, there was a total of 258 black men and women killed by the police. Thus far this year, there have been 228. We will likely exceed last year’s number.
1. White Men, White Women … White People
No, not every single one—but as a staff, record label and as a motherf—king crew … y’all put this dude in the Oval Office. Save me your analysis lacking in nuance about how the number of black voters for him were higher than the votes cast for Mitt Romney in 2012. You guys are why he was elected, and you continue to be the real MVPs of racism. Congrats. America is great again.
Lawrence Ware is a progressive writer in a conservative state. A frequent contributor to Counterpunch and Dissent magazine, he is also a contributing editor of NewBlackMan (in Exile) and the Democratic Left. He has been featured in the New York Times and discussed race and politics on HuffPost Live, NPR and Public Radio International. Ware’s book on the life and thought of C.L.R. James will be published by Verso Books in the fall of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.