After three days of high-profiled shootings of white police officers and black men, President Barack Obama will meet with families of the shooting victims, federal officials and other stakeholders to discuss race and policing in America.
Obama will also visit Dallas on Tuesday and will meet other stakeholders on Wednesday, White House officials said.
The upcoming meetings about race and policing is a wrong-headed move, given the smoldering issue of race and ethnicity at the White House. That’s because the Obama administration is deemed xenophobic, a demonstrated bias toward natives.
For example, in President Obama’s last meeting with activists about how he could spend his final year tackling issues that impact the black community, the nation’s first African-American president and his staff left out notions of ethnicity within the black community. This offense to black immigrants–thier absence in these national debates–impacts the nation’s agenda to reach a “more perfect union.”
If black lives matter, it must be obvious black immigrants and Afro Latinos matter in discussions about race and policing.
The absence of mostly new immigrants in these televised debates also impacts my research, writing and reporting. That’s because they were consistently left out of those meetings about race and law enforcement. Thier inclusion would allow the discussions of ethnic bias by African American law enforcement officers. These nativists in law enforcement have demonstrated an agenda to marginalize Afro West Indians and Afro Latinos who identify as black on the U.S. Census. Supposedly, our black is not black enough. And I should not speak and write about black issues, hence the staged and unwarranted incident with the Secret Service.
Additionally, these native-born blacks think they should speak for black immigrants, as evidenced on all the major networks. Thier attitude, some say, presents tangible manifestation of ethnic bias, which is also noted on the White House beat. This kind of ethnic bias affects my bottom line.
So with this kind of taxation without representation in the White House, Congress and state legislatures nationwide, I have to scream: enough is enough.
If black lives matter, it must be obvious black immigrants and Afro Latinos matter in the discussion about race and policing.
— Hartford Guardian (@guardianeditor) July 21, 2016
Currently, there is no black immigrant covering the White House beat. And this black immigrant has noticed that there is no black immigrant in the White House or Congress. And that may be why I’m considered an oddity at the White House. So much so that I had to be interrogated by the Secret Service after I was spotted on July 7 walking on the White House grounds. In fact, I was told recently that that incident, and others, was staged to show discord toward the White House staff, so that I don’t continue my relationship with sources on the beat.
This incident of bigotry with culturally incompetent individuals must be addressed because, among other things, The Hartford Guardian has the first Jamaican-American White House Correspondent. And the Secret Service might also be upset about that very fact.
While they are wondering about how to stage a reason to deny me opportunities in the country, here’s what’s left out of the national debate about race and policing. The recent incident with the Secret Service at the White House is systemic of a larger problem of xenophobia by law enforcement officials, especially African Americans and other native-born Americans who don’t know what naturalization means and who are just prejudice.
This notion of me occupying in-between worlds: Afro West Indian, African American and Afro Latino was evidenced after I was lured onto the beat and told it was not the practice of the White House Communication staff to discriminate based on race, gender, age and class.
The assumption by the White House staff was that I was African-American. After all, I usually check African-American on the Census and job applications, so I did not object to being identified as such. After I began covering the beat, however, I didn’t think it would be a problem to self-identify as African American in the Obama era. That’s because he is the son of a black immigrant. And in native-born blacks’ quest to paint me as ‘other’ in the Obama era, and systematically damage the business of reporting and writing in this contested space on the job market, they forgot that I had rights.
Additionally, a White House source said, I “fell through the cracks between the White, Hispanic and black communities” when it came to doling out press privileges related to the beat. To mask their prejudice and justify this mistreatment, they hired political operatives to sabotage my reporting and writing.
My most recent encounter of this kind of bigotry was on July 7. That was after I was screened to enter the Brady Room. I later learned from Brian Gabriel–based on his approach to this encounter–that I did not fit a clear ethnic category. And that he and Desiree Barnes, his co-conspirator for monitoring blackness, will only cater to bonified black people on thier list. Translation: All black people who cover President Barack Obama must be born in the USA. As a result, they wanted the Secret Service to engage me as a foreigner. This is a new approach to this beat and to Obama, whom I have been covering since 2007 while at Howard University.
So on July 7 when President Obama took to Facebook and penned his thoughts about the shooting of five police officers in Orlando, Fla., Sgt. Dougherty found it necessary to call 10 of his colleagues to interrogate me. It was quite a jarring experience after Dougherty approached. He then proceeded to violate protocol and engaged me directly, instead of allowing contact with Secret Service press office. I told Dougherty that he was circumventing instructions given to the press pool. His response?
“I’m in charge,” he said. “And my name is D-O-U-G-H-E-R-T-Y.”
With that authority asserted over my freedom and intellectual ascent as a White House Correspondent, Dougherty escorted me off the White House grounds, reached into my handbag, took out my bible, opened it and removed my passport without permission.
Dougherty’s arrogance did not end there: Using surveillance and other form of intimidation tactics, he followed me home and continued to use microscopic electronic nodes, I’m told, to block my thinking, reporting and writing. This kind of torture, and other forms of micro-aggressions, not just the use of force such as hog-tying and shoot-to-kill tactics, or detention, should be considered deadly and corrosive tools to harm the black psyche.
With this matter bubbling up at the White House, Obama’s plan to discuss the recent tragic shootings should include a discussion about micro-aggressions and ethnic bias doled out by police officers and other law enforcement agents, especially toward immigrants.
And until Dougherty presents evidence to the contrary, I will say this: Dougherty and others targeted me because I was born in Jamaica. This kind of prejudice must be addressed before it leads to another incident of bigotry in this country where civil liberties and freedom of the press have been elevated as sacred tenets of democracy.
Dougherty and his colleagues must now know there will be no taxation without representation of me and and other black immigrants in this so-called land of immigrants. Afro-West Indians have been coming to America since 1620. Therefore, I intend to assert my right to think, report and write without being harassed by whites and blacks who think they should be afforded more rights than new Americans.
Let’s be clear: New Americans will no longer wait for equal rights and justice while watching you all talk about your need to have Civil Rights and other freedoms guaranteed by the constitution.
Featured Photo Courtesy of White House Staff: Peter Souza.