Many supporters of POTUS 45 are relentless in manifesting support for him by donning his political campaign slogan MAGA (Make America Great Again). A large number of the POTUS adversaries find MAGA paraphernalia, especially hats and tee-shirts highly offensive. Those who choose to don MAGA paraphernalia must understand that for people of color, especially African Americans, America has never been great for them.
One must note that under slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation, White America may have prospered and been considered great, but African Americans continued to be trivialized, dehumanized and intentionally denied economic opportunities available only to their White counterparts. While America may have grown as a worldwide economic giant, it benefited Whites off the backs of African Americans whose free labor, toil, and sweat made it possible—but who were not compensated.
Many MAGA supporters reminiscing about a time when America was great envision a time of great economic growth and political dominance by White men—a time when America was not inclusive of others. It was a time when White supremacy was dominant and unapologetic in its reign. Whites who are adamant that their families didn’t personally benefit are not acknowledging what we all know as a fact, that White privilege has always existed in the history of this country. Make no mistake, racism and discrimination are etched systemically in all the major institutions, industries and corporations making up our country. White supremacy continues as the dominant norm, although we say we are a nation working constantly for inclusion and diversity.
As an American, you have the right to wear a political slogan representing your political support for a party. But make no mistake, publicly displaying the MAGA slogan is seen as highly offensive, disrespectful and even racist to most African Americans. Therefore, one should not be naïve or surprised when African Americans and those knowledgeable about the turbulent history of people of color in America look you at as insensitive, apathetic and racist. You are literally being disrespectful. The attire displays a lack of caring about African American’s feelings, as well as supporting the stance for White supremacy—a stance that many feel MAGA supporters represent.
I can only imagine how America would feel as a whole, if large segments of people decided to publicly don paraphernalia honoring Hitler or the Nazi party. There would be a public outcry, especially by Jewish citizens whose loved ones were persecuted during the Holocaust (six million Jews were murdered by German Nazis under Adolf Hitler). They would view the bearers of the paraphernalia as provoking hate as well as invoking pain and suffering among the survivors or descendants of those killed. No doubt it could only be viewed as insensitive, disrespectful, and hateful. So why are the pain, suffering and feelings of African American irrelevant or inconsequential when compared to other groups?
Some citizens find it extremely insulting when you have elected officials wearing the MAGA paraphernalia, elected officials who are supposed to be concerned about what is in the best interests of all the citizens of this country—not only that of which many consider a segregated hate group. But if any good comes out of the MAGA paraphernalia, it’s that it becomes clear for people of color to know who you are and where you are coming from. Like they say, “If someone shows you who they are the first time, you should believe them.”
So if you choose to wear the MAGA hat or tee shirt, be cognizant of how you are viewed. Although many wearers are proud of White nationalism or White supremacy, there is a stigma surrounding MAGA.