Mary C. Curtis, columnist, Roll Call and NBCBLK and contributor to NPR and WCCB-TV Charlotte, N.C.
When president-elect Donald Trump returned to Fayetteville, N.C., early in December, on the second stop on his victory tour to thank supporters, not many outlets reporting on the trip referenced candidate Trump’s earlier appearance in the city, when a white supporter was arrested for punching an African-American protester in the face.
A few mentioned the March rally, calling it “raucous,” a relatively genteel description. Instead of using that disturbing history to help understand how and why Trump was successful on Nov. 8, it was as though the incident was erased.
The normalization of soon-to-be President Trump has started, a clean slate provided, with past behaviors and statements downplayed or forgotten. Black journalists have a special obligation to provide context to the actions of President Trump, to know history — that of the United States and of Donald Trump, who has left a long, well-documented, often videotaped record.
The truth is more than what happened today. It isn’t even the truth if it fails to also include and interpret what has come before, in order to understand what is ahead.
What happens next — in criminal justice, fair housing, voting laws, environmental justice and more — will most affect those whose voices are most ignored. We need to be that voice.