The Apprentice: Trump and the Triumph of Old-Time Racism

“Something is holding me back
Is it because I’m black?”

—Syl Johnson

“Hurry up. Hurry up!” the middle-aged White man called to his four or five-year-old daughter. Oblivious, she kept waltzing slowly behind him. So he raised the stakes: “Hurry up—before you get kidnapped!” And on cue, she raced into his arms.

This happened, last Saturday—and I was the potential kidnapper.

Perhaps he’d just screened Birth of a Nation the night before, and Griffith’s masterpiece had left a stain on his consciousness; so he knew among other interests young Black men held one highest: the snatching and defiling of White flowers. Or perhaps he’d overdosed on nightly news, which never relents in keeping the nation ever alert against the criminal proclivities of Black youth. Whatever his poison, he’d saved enough for his daughter to swallow.

She would grow up taught well the dangers of people who don’t look like her, how she must stay far away from them, cross the street when they’re passing by on dark evenings; she would learn how to look the other way so as not to make eye contact with any of them, how to hold a mace tight if ever approached for, say, directions. And much wouldn’t make sense at first, but over time she’ll know that her daddy loves her, and he means best, and wouldn’t stress these concerns if they weren’t real. She would grow up part of a society that still believes Black men are criminals by default.

And so would Malia and Sasha Obama, the two daughters of the nation’s first Black president, who was hauled out last Wednesday to silence millions of his citizens, Republican and Democrat, who’ve believed all along, holding firm this convictions for three years—that he most likely lacks the qualifications to be president: that, somehow, he’d gamed the system and passed as a natural-born citizen. They must find strange a society that swiftly patted itself three years back for tolerating a “post-racial” candidate who spoke against divisions, remembrances, and regressions, and dreamt of a colorless utopia where rising tides lift all boats. They would try unsuccessfully to justify why their father, like none of his predecessors, had to come out a second time, or ever at all, and post photocopies of his papers to document his 3/5th humanity and prove he wasn’t perpetrating some elaborate fraud.

They just might come to conclude that, contrary to all they’ve been told, racism is still alive—“they just be concealing it,” as Kanye West once sang. The “they,” of course, come from all backgrounds and rise high enough to determine which ways the pendulums of law and order swing in society. They craft legislations to be rid of the criminals, and keep them at bay for long as possible. And they enjoy the salivating worship of a corporate media estate relinquished of all ethical responsibility to inform the public of pressing issues.

They also lap up the ignorance of a civically illiterate mass, trained to cynicism and skepticism—especially when the truth is laid bare. “You mean prejudice is still…” And we all answer: “No shit. It’s just by accident these dark children are placed into schools that look like prisons, and later on siphoned into juvenile halls, which lead shortly after to jail cells which remove them forever from all forms of active citizenship.” But they know even when exposed to the light of truth, darkness is the preferred state, for it helps absolve responsibility to seek societal transformation. And many White progressives have long bid Old Racism farewell, assuring their Black brothers and sisters, “You see, now it’s a New Racism, no more overt, it’s covert; it’s all financial; the COLORED ONLY signs are now Redlining and Subprime Mortgage: so, it’s really Class—not Race.”

Only, truth crushed to earth, as William Cullen Bryant knew too well, always rises. So, out struts this bumbling billionaire buffoon, and since he’s managed to hold onto enough wealth from schemes, scams, and inheritance, the tarts of the corporate media remain bent at the knee, refusing to get up, pumping up every inch of Trump’s ego, trying their best to see him climaxed into the glorious height of idiocy only few ever reach—so even in the throes of defeat, he kept shooting, trained to mastery in the art of grand delusion: he was “proud” of himself for forcing the most important man in the world to prove he was human and wouldn’t lie to get ahead or pull a fast one on the entire world, as the shiftless niggers are fond of. And as he rose in popularity, tapping into the stream of belief millions have drunk daily from, the White House drew into panic, with eyes aimed at 2012, rushing to halt the “distraction” and “silliness.”

The president strolled to the lectern and chastised the media for commissioning this three-act tragedy, and enabling a professional ninny who believed he could rebuild his rusty brand by picking a fight with the biggest kid on the block: “We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers.”

Then candor began making a long overdue appearance. Many in the media now felt obligated to call the hissing viper by its name. “Oh, yeah, he’s totally a racist,” they lifted in one chorus. But not until the nation had suffered the brutal harassment of history—in which Black people had been once declared unfit for freedom, let alone leadership—did their tongues start moving with the right tune. Didn’t matter that the carnival barker had been steadily tossed by their peers for weeks, and no one—beyond the semi-convincing puffs of Lawrence O’Donnell—bothered pointing fingers and naming names.

From ABC to NBC, CBS to CNN, top correspondents had all come with open mouths because Trump seemed on a mission, and if anyone could do it he could, and if they stuck tight to this one, placing all their chips in one load, who knows the possibilities—what if he wasn’t born here?

Well, he was. And they walked off empty-handed, absolved of what little credibility Iraq didn’t incinerate. But not before returning to the service of their customer of the month. At the infamous New Hampshire press conference, one of his many tarts, Andy Hiller of WHDH-TV News (Boston), serenades the defeated cretin: “Mr. Trump, are you playing with us, or are we playing with you?” Before reaching for a paper towel, he pressed further:

Hiller: “Sir, your hair looks so much better in real life than on TV…”

Trump: “I love this guy…”

Hiller: “Why can’t you get someone to fix it, it looks fine.”

Trump: “It looks much better than people think.”

Reporter: “Who has better hair, you or Mitt Romney?”

Trump: “He has good hair…”

Hiller: “But you have more money.”

On the station’s website, Hiller is “widely regarded as the most provocative political reporter in New England.” No wonder Mayans think we’ve barely 20 months to go before the aliens take over. Hopefully they keep the trade decriminalized, and institute weekly screenings—should guarantee for a safer society, as the state of Nevada decided.

Tolu Olorunda is a cultural critic and a former AHH editorial columnist. He can be reached at:


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  • behind da barz

    --------the chemicals R identical, we're one & the same / with 7 letters in all 3 of my government names / walked on water, nah, neither did jesus / its a parable to make followers & readers believers--------i gave her my honorable discharge & she took it like a soldier--------what's a black beetle anyway, a fuckin roach-------she told the director she tryna get in a school-he said "take them glasses off and get in the pool"---------what ya'll call swag to me is faggotry-------my outfit so disrespectful / u go 'head n sneeze let my presence bless u--------its quite amazing that u rhyme like u do / & how u shine like u grew up in a shrine in peru-------its hard fuckin with niggaz u hope u can trust / ure a fool if ure main bitch is easy to fuck--------beyond the walls of intelligence life is divine / i think of crime when im in a new york state of mind - ------THE WAY SOME ACT IN RAP IS KINDA WACK / IT LACKS CREATIVITY & INTELLIGENCE / BUT THEY DON'T CARE BECAUSE THEIR COMPANY IS SELLING IT / ITS MY PHILOSOPHY ON THE INDUSTRY--------From days I wasn't "Abel/able", there was always "Cain/caine-------know how to leave anything in 30 seconds / when you feel the heat coming & flee with the murder weapon--------ayo my silent moments' loud as the crack of thunder / my hunger like the crocodile that attacked the hunter-------i'm something between platinum & flop, underground & mainstream / conscious, backpack, scratch dat; same thing---------this phiscal year im'a stay hot, buzzin / wit dudes that help me shoot like a-rod's cousin-------i fight chicks who bite dicks / give 'em lock-jaw then make 'em fight pits ------all we see is terrorism on telievision ------i'm da illest nigga alive watch me prove it / i'll snatch your crown with your head still attatched to it ------slap your face till your head ache your neck break / the next day slash your throat thru the neckbrace ------ I'm ahead of the game, ahead of these lames / I'm a head case, the head nurse gets me better with brain ------ure now dealin with da kid who heat-holds & reloads / like god gave him a gta ammunition cheat-code ------once upon a time i used to grind all night / with dat coke residue that was ipod white ------ --i took trips with so much shit in the whip / that if the cops pulled us over the dogs would get sick (sniff) ------ i put my lifetime in between the paper's lines / i'm da quiet storm nigga who fight rhyme ------brain cells are lit ideas start to hit / next the formation of words dat fit / at da table i sit making it legit / when my pen hits da paper...aah shit -------i save money while u spendin ure doe / i must stash like da hair between your lip & your nose ------age don't count in the booth / when your flow stayed submerged in the fountain of youth -------when i'm writing i'm trapped in between the lines / i escape when i finish da rhyme - ------if we can't eat together then u aint my mans / so when u see me in da streets dont shake my hand- -----money is da root of all evil / dats why u always gotta now where u stand with your people--------i can show u how to gamble your money, handle a gun / & be a family man & go home to your sun- -------black diamonds in my jesus-piece / MY GOD-------its like da ball be over the plate & they dont call it a strike- ------i'm a gangsta & a gentleman, show you both sides of the coin / knife at your throat-gun at your groin- --------my testimonial be "death to a phony mc / you wanna impress me, show me a ki--------lord knows what homey would do if i showed him da 9 / a one-eyed man is king in the land of the blind--------on da road to riches & diamond rings / in the land of the blind a man with one eye is the king--------you lack the minerals & vitamins, iron & the niacin--------stares get exchanged then the 5th come out / the tough guy disappears then the bitch come out--------if you got a bith you dont argue with dat bitch / you dont listen to dat bitch all you do is fuck dat bitch-------know da bitch b4 you call yourself lovin it / nogga wit a benz fuckin it------went from $20Gs for blow to $30gs a show / to orgies wit hoes i never seen befo'-------i'm intelectual; passed more essays / than police motorcade parades thru east l.a.-------DEAD IN THE MIDDLE OF LITTLE ITALY LITTLE DID WE KNOW / WE RIDDLED SOME MIDDLE-MAN WHO DIDN'T DO DIDDLY-------visualizing the realism of life in actuality / fuck who's da baddest; a person's status depends on salary-------mechanical movement, understandable smooth shit / that murderers move with-the thief's theme--------DEEP LIKE "THE SHINING" SPARKLE LIKE A DIAMOND / SNEAK AN UZI ON DA ISLAND IN MY ARMY JACKET LINING / HIT THE EARTH LIKE A COMET - INVASION / NAS IS LIKE THE AFRO-CENTRIC ASIAN; ½ MAN, ½ AMAZING-------& why certainly i'm squirtin / bust a nut then get up & wipe my dick on your curtain-------walk by your casket & spit in your face--------i know how to get my peers off me / make 'em cry & die from high blood-pressure cuz tears are salty-------i'm not trying to give you love & affection / i'm tryna give you 60 seconds of erection / then im'a give you cab fare & directions / get your independent ass outta here - question?---------black cat is bad luck; bad guys wear black / must've been a white guy who started all that--------either you're slinging crack-rocks or you got a wicked jumpshot--------all us blacks got is sports & entertainment--------2 many athletes, actors & rappers / but not enough niggaz at nasa - ------why did bush knock down the towers?--------I REACT LIKE MIKE / ANY ONE TY-SON, JOR-DAN, JACK-SON / action, pack gunz, ridiculous--------all the teachers couldn't reach me & my mom couldn't beat me / hard enough to make up for my pop not seeing me---------kings from queens, from queens comes kings / we're raising hell like a class when the lunch bell rings---------excuse me miss, can i give you a minute? / may i buy you a glass of ice with liquor in it?--------what goes around comes around i figure / now we got white kids calling themselves nigga / the tables turn as the crosses burn...---------YOU LOVE TO HEAR THE STORY AGAIN & AGAIN / OF HOW IT ALL GOT STARTED WAY BACK WHEN--------i guess they got a grudge cause i won't budge / playin tough, staring down the judge with my hands cuffed---------A CHILD IS BORN WITH NO STATE OF MIND / BLIND TO THE WAYS OF MANKIND--------who shot biggie smalls? if we don't get them they gon' get us all / i'm down to run up pn them crackers in their city hall----------its kinda hard to be optimistic / when your homey is laying dead in a casket----------they say the blacker the berry; the sweeter the juice / i say the darker the flesh; then the deeper the roots---------i took your breath away then we'd perform cpr---------there's no real way it can be explained / i guess its just the way i smile when i hear your name--------CASH RULES EVERYTHING AROUND ME / C.R.E.A.M. GET THE MONEY, DOLLAR DOLLAR BILL Y'AAAAALL------------see I’m a poet to some, a regular modern day shakespeare / jesus christ the king of these latter day saints here / To shatter the picture in which of that as they paint me as / a monger of hate and satan a scatter-brained atheist--------i remember marvin gaye used to sing to me / he had me feeling like black was the thing to be------------this be that put-you-out-your-misery song / that makes you ask your man 'is this the joint he's dissin me on?'---------foul all your life now ure 90 / on ure death bed u regret being grimey---------INDUSTRY RULE #4080, RECORD COMPANY PEOPLE ARE SHAAADYYYY / so kids watch your back cause i think they smoke crack---------society's a weak excuse for a man-----------planet earth my place of birth / born to be the sole controller of the universe---------the mic had my prints, on on it was a body---------a squealer tells, but the dealer still sells---------some young male put in jail / lawyer so good his bail was on sale----------i'm just takin a piss......unless you're gonna do it----------fuck street clothes, we thug it out in tuxedos / stomp niggaz with hard bottoms in casinos--------people higher up have the lowest self-esteem / & the prettiest people do the ugliest things-----------IF YOU ADMIRE SOMEONE YOU SHOULD GO 'HEAD & TELL 'EM / PEOPLE NEVER GET THE ROSES WHILE THEY CAN STILL SMELL 'EM-----------goddamn, what a nigga gotta do to make a million / without the fbi catching feelings--------i got a story to tell / in these streets we got drugs & guns for sale---------we keep the nine tucked chop dimes up rap about it / wild out fuck niggaz up laugh about it---------- read between tha lines of ya eyes and ya brows / ya handshake aint matchin ya smile---------what the fuck i rap for? to push a fuckin rav-4?-------fuck all the glamour & glitz, i plan to get rich / i'm from new york & never was a fan of the knicks----------the white boy blossomed after dre endorsed him / his flow on renegade-fuckin awesome...applaud him-------before i start you know i gotta / pay homage & respects to afrika bambaata---------DRUGS IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS / MONEY IS THE KEY TO SEX------i pimped my crib so i must exhibit------- I - WILL - NOT - LOSE !
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