This last week, Jeff Sessions, a Republican politician from Alabama, was named by Donald Trump as his nominee to become Attorney General of the United States.
The choice was shocking to most Americans, because Sessions has an infamous past as an unrepentant racist, with a long history of prejudice toward African-Americans. Sessions doesn’t just nurse a personal hatred of African-Americans either. He has built a career out of persecuting African-Americans, making his racism a part of his professional resume.
Jeff Sessions first made a name for himself by persecuting civil rights workers who were trying to register African-American citizens to vote. Sessions accused them of electoral fraud, but never could find adequate evidence to make his case. That didn’t stop Sessions, who was so obsessed with suppressing African-American involvement in Alabama politics that he took the case to trial regardless of his own shoddy preparation. Sessions was laughed out of the courtroom.
Sessions continued his obsession with racial purity and power for European-Americans. He became notorious for calling African-American lawyers “boy” rather than addressing them as equals. Sessions called a European-American lawyer a “disgrace to his race” for representing an African-American client.
The political philosophy of Jeff Sessions brought together racism with nationalism to create a blend that could only be called white nationalism. He attacked the NAACP, calling it “UnAmerican”, even though the NAACP is a thoroughly American organization. In the view of Sessions, people of African descent don’t have the same status as Americans as people whose ancestors only came from Europe.
The embrace of Sessions for white nationalism was made more plain when he explained to his colleagues that the only reason he didn’t support the KKK was that he heard a rumor that some members of the racist militia smoke marijuana. After these comments, Sessions heavily promoted the judicial nomination of Charles Pickering, an extreme racist who believed that African-Americans should be legally prohibited from marrying European-Americans.
The racist shadow cast by choice of Sessions as Attorney General isn’t an accident. President Elect Trump made his choice of Sessions days after he was criticized for choosing known racist and antisemite Steve Bannon to be his chief strategic advisor in the White House. Donald Trump’s selection of white nationalists for top positions in his new government seems to be a purposeful plan for a racist takeover, taking America back decades to the bad old days of Jim Crow.