Columnist: A potential race war in America – real or imagined?

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 27, 2016

Are there some Americans who have not gotten the “memo”?

It appears as if some Americans are preparing for an eventual war between the races. The proliferation of guns in the United States to some is an indication that many in our country have already gotten their memo to be ready when that time comes.

Americans appear to be taking advantage of their Second Amendment right and are buying guns in record numbers. Years ago a belief in an ultimate conflict between the races was held generally by groups such as the neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan and those associated with the Aryan nation and its splintered organizations dispersed around the country.

It seems as if there are a number of factors driving this animus in America. Our country is becoming more diverse each year. Whereas years ago, Americans seemed more tolerant of immigrants, that feeling has changed immensely over the past decade. You might say that this ethnocentrism became more entrenched after the attacks on the World Trade Center orchestrated by foreign invaders.

This ethnocentrism has become more apparent during this year’s presidential election. Attendees at many of the gatherings leading up to the selection of our next president have been very vocal in expressing their displeasure with foreigners entering the country legally or illegally.

Mexicans and those who practice the Muslim faith so far have been the primary targets by those who believe that the United States should tighten its restrictions on who should be given permission to live in our country.

The past decade has also been a period of increased tensions between blacks and whites in America. The incubation for this tension, ironically, is the integrating of our country.

Visit any mall, church, neighborhood or watch practically any television program and you will see interracial couples, and the children of these relationships. Historically, a major fear by those who were against the civil rights movement was that black men would marry white women. That has, in fact, taken place, but there appears to be a growing number of Caucasian men also who regularly marry black women.

Michael Jordan, the famous and popular former NBA star, has finally signed on, realizing that race relations are deteriorating in the country. For years he was very adamant about being apolitical when it came to racial matters and controversial issues.

He had been successful in dodging questions related to his political affiliations and would say without equivocation that Republicans and Democrats bought tennis shoes. The NBA great and Charlotte Hornets owner recently donated $1 million to the Institute for Community-Police Relations and $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

The aim is to help build trust following several high-profile police shootings of blacks around the country.

An encounter with a believer

Most recently, my water heater stopped working, resulting in my calling in a plumber. In the course of his installing a new unit, we talked comfortably about a number of issues including the presidential elections.

It was clear to me in our discussion that he was a Donald Trump supporter. When I asked him what he liked about Trump, he was quick to say that the hotel mogul was not a politician and spoke from the heart on things which mattered to him and his family.

The subject immediately turned to Trump being called a racist and misogynist. He stated to me that he did not believe that Trump hated or disrespected women.

He did acknowledge, however, that he agreed with the Republican nominee on issues related to race and immigration. To him, and most of his friends, he stated a race war is just around the corner. He intimated that he, along with his inner circle of friends, have prepared for that eventuality.

He was even benevolent enough to say that the two of us could become friends, but in the event of the racial war, we would have to choose sides. He was very clear which side that he would choose.

You know what? I was not angry with him. I am listening to this same conversation in the African-American community.

Some “memos” are meant to be thrown in the trash. This is one memo that definitely needs to be disregarded — and with prejudice.

By Glenn Dowell

Contributing columnist

Dr. Glenn Dowell, a LaGrange native, is an author and columnist who lives in Georgia. He has been an instructor at Texas Southern University, guest speaker on major college campuses and appeared on TV programs including ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show.’ He may be reached at