Pastor Warren Stewart Sr.: Race relations are moving in reverse
Jan. 15, 2018
Local community leaders believe rhetoric towards race in America has shifted under President Donald Trump and his administration in a way that empowers white supremacists.
Today’s rhetoric toward non-white groups looks as if it has taken a few steps back since the days of Martin Luther King, Jr., says Interim Director at Arizona State University’s Center for the Study of Race and Democracy Keith Miller.
“Trump’s language has hurt America because he’s so clearly racist,” Miller says. “I think he’s encouraged white racist rhetoric to come out.”
Miller reflects on the ideas that King preached, saying he thinks there is a misrepresentation of Dr. King in the national memory. King does not only represent racial equality. He spoke about overcoming what he called the triple evils: poverty, racism and war.
Warren Stewart, Sr., senior pastor for the First Institutional Baptist Church, says Trump has “moved us in reverse when it comes to race relations.” Instead of shifting direction toward a more inclusive and respectful environment, Stewart says today’s atmosphere has led people into an “us versus them mentality.”
Miller and Stewart agree Trump did not start this kind of rhetoric – it’s the same ideology King fought against. The president is part of a result that includes polarizing people into good and bad groups, Miller says. According to Miller, both groups see themselves in the right and they don’t want to hear what the other has to say.
Stewart says it’s very dangerous for Trump to continue to “spew that venom” of accusing people of lies. Miller points out that King’s harshest critics tried taking him out of the public political discourse by saying he was a communist and, therefore, not loyal. A similar situation occurred with former President Barrack Obama when there were unfounded accusations that he wasn’t born in America.