By: Donald V. Watkins
Copyrighted and Published on January 3, 2024
An Editorial Opinion
I understand why Nikki Haley desperately wants to be "White." Let me shed some much needed light on this subject for my reading audience.
On August 28, 2019, I entered the minimum-security Federal Prison Camp at FCI Talladega, Alabama as a high-profile "political prisoner." My designated Federal Bureau of Prison name was Inmate 36223-001.
This was my assigned "slave" name in a federal penal colony. As American historians know, penal slavery is an express exception to the Thirteenth Amendment's ban on commercial and private slavery.
To be clear, inmates in America's state and federal penal colonies are legally and technically "slaves." See, Ruffin v. Commonwealth, 21 Gratt. 790, 62 Va. 790, Virginia Supreme Court (1871). For political correctness purposes, American society refers to these slaves as "inmates."
Anyway, the Camp at Talladega, which is located about 40 miles east of Birmingham, Alabama, had an overwhelming Black inmate population, staff of guards, and administrators.
Unbeknownst to me, when I was processed into the Camp, I was officially classified as a “White” inmate. I would later learn that White inmates actually ran the Camp, bossed the guards, and held great sway over the administrators.
During the walk from the intake office to the Camp, the counselor who was escorting me there provided me with an unsolicited explanation of all of the benefits, perks, and privileges that White inmates enjoyed. She apparently did not realize I am Black.
I was told how to create my own job. She suggested that I consider a teaching job for myself. I was told how to get the highest inmate pay and best working conditions. She told me that the Camp assigns the hardest manual labor jobs to Black inmates, who often performed these jobs in unfavorable weather conditions and without adequate safety training and equipment.
Once I entered the Camp, I noticed that the small white inmate population ran the Commissary, served as “town drivers” who transported inmates to the bus station and doctors’ office, and filled the administrative jobs in the Library and Warden’s office. Prison officials even bought a $7,000 Baby Grand piano for one White Camp inmate.
The White inmates also received new prison uniforms, underwear, towels and face clothes, mattresses, sheets, and blankets, as opposed to used clothing and bedding items that were routinely issued to Black inmates.
All of this "White Privilege" occurred under the ingratiating watch of Warden Cheron Y. Nash, a Black female version of Clarence Thomas. Like Thomas, Nash was a failed experiment in affirmative action. What is more, the Camp’s drug-dealing ring operated directly out of Warden Nash’s office.
My status as a “White” inmate changed four hours after I entered the Camp when I visited the Camp’s psychologist, Dr. Petty, for the routine questions asked of new inmates (i.e., Do you have suicidal thoughts? No. Have you abused drugs or alcohol? No. Were you abused as a child? No., etc.).
During Dr. Petty’s questioning, she astutely realized that I am a light-skinned Black man. She politely asked me to confirm this fact. I confirmed my ethnicity without hesitation. Dr. Petty immediately called the intake office and demanded that I be reclassified as “Black,” right then and there. The intake office made the change on my racial designation to "Black."
Once I reverted back to being officially “Black,” all of the generous benefits, perks, and privileges I enjoyed as a “White” inmate were gone, except for my newly created job as a teacher (without the high salary). From that point on, I was treated in the same shabby manner as all of the other Black inmates at the Camp.
Why Nikki Haley Wants to Be “White”
Given my weird personal experience of being “White” for 4 hours, I understand why Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley is desperately trying so hard to escape her status as a “Colored” person to become “White.”
Haley, whose real name is Nimarata Nikki Randhawa, even falsely claimed on her voter registration application that she is "White."
I do not agree with Nikki Haley's endless efforts to achieve an officially acknowledged reassignment of her racial identity, as evidenced by her rhetoric and actions. In fact, I find it to be sickening.
Nikki Haley knows that Whites are routinely treated better than Blacks in American society, even when they are imprisoned. This has always been the case. It's engrained in our culture.
Unfortunately for Nikki Haley, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rejected the “Aryan racial purity” claim that a Sikh Indian like Haley argued in his bid to be reclassified as “White.” In the case of United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind, 261 U.S. 204 (1923), the Supreme Court ruled that Sikhs like Thind and Haley are “Colored,” just like me.
Like her political bedfellow Clarence Thomas, Nikki Haley can act “White” and pander to the worst racial instincts in Whites, but this kind of interaction with the White world will not make either one of them "White."
Like Clarence Thomas, that old “one-drop” of “Colored” blood racial classification rule has Nikki Haley hopelessly trapped in the “Colored” world.
Even though I was "White" for 4 hours, I enjoy my life as a Black man. I came into the world exactly the way God created me -- a loving human being with compassion for every member of the human race. Within my family, "love sees no color."
Life is too short for self-hatred or the endless hatred of others based solely on the color of their skin.