Friday, October 6, 2017

Open Letter: No, Grandma, Trump *is dangerously* racist.

October 1, 2017


You sent me a forwarded propaganda chain email that purported to disprove negative claims against Donald Trump. It included 11 individual data points going back 30 years to establish a pattern of generosity and good nature. The charges that it was disproving were racist, bigot, sexist, xenophobe, anti-Semitic and Islamophobe. The content of the email is a column by Liz Crokin. (source)

Racist, bigot, xenophobe:
Of the eleven points, three involved specific black persons and that Mar-a-Lago was a pioneer in the Palm Beach private club market to accept black members. This ability to support individuals is regularly seen from racists, so much so that it is a named trope: Model Minority and One Of The Good Ones. Other uses of this racist trope include the I Have A Black Friend. These defenses all ignore the fact that someone can hold prejudiced views against a community and consider the people they actually know as statistical outliers. I will ignore the clear benefit that can be gained by being the only business in an area that is patronized by a community. A recent article on these tropes is from Yassmin Abdel-Magied.

Since I will cite ample evidence from the past few years to justify the allegation that Donald Trump is openly hostile to black communities, I will not try researching to establish a lifelong pattern of prejudice. And even in the absence of a lifelong pattern, people change. It is not 80's Trump or 90's Trump that is governing the nation. It is Trump today.

I do have one historical datapoint, though. Donald Trump is a named defendant (As president of Trump Management Inc) in the 1973 Eastern District of New York docket 73-c-1529: A violation of Fair Housing Act of 1968. The complaint alleged "a pattern and practice" of discriminating on the basis of race and refusing to correct the effects of past discriminatory policies. It was filed in October 1973. In December 1973 a counter claim was filed claiming that the claim of discrimination was defamatory (and necessarily false), which was dismissed by the court in January 1974. After over a year and a half of legal defense against the claims of discriminatory policies, Trump Management Inc agreed to a Consent Order that sought to change the rental practices of the company, one that explicitly did not admit fault. After two years of the Consent Order the number of properties with under 5% black renters had dropped by 30% and the number with over 15% black renters had increased by 800%. This demonstrates that the terms of the Consent Order changed the existing policies and practices of the company Donald Trump was president of. Therefore it is defensible to state that Donald Trump supported systemic discrimination against the black community in 1973. (source)

In a 2016 campaign speech (Aug. 19, 2016) to a primarily white audience, Donald Trump summed up his views of the state of the black communities with the question of "What the hell do you have to lose?" On March 31, 2017 Donald Trump's Attorney General answered that question by announcing a review of all "existing and contemplated consent decrees" which are the levers that the federal government use to address systemic civil rights violations by police departments. (source) Using NYC stop and frisk numbers, between 2003 and 2013 well over 85% of people harassed under that policy were innocent and over 50% stopped were black, with over 80% being black or latinx. (source) Reducing civil rights oversight of local police is directly damaging to black communities and is not the direction taken by someone that holds a priority of protecting those communities.

In a 2020 campaign speech (July 28, 2017) to an audience of uniformed police officers, Donald Trump explicitly promoted the abuse of suspects by officers. As was stated above, harassment and violence by police is a threat to black and latinx communities. Promoting increased violence against black and latinx bodies is unquestionably racist.

In the 2016 campaign announcement speech (June 16, 2015), Donald Trump explicitly categorized Mexican immigrants as drug trafficking rapists while allowing that there may be some that are good people. See my first point about making exceptions from the rule of a terrible community. He categorically defined an entire country's immigrants and naturalized American citizens as criminals, which is solidly bigoted. He then continued to explain that the problems faced by the United States are coming from Mexico, "all over South and Latin America", and "from the Middle East". This set of racist coded language translates to Hispanics and Muslims, a pair of groups that would be regular targets for his demagoguery over the next two years. Bigoted and xenophobic. That xenophobic demagoguery discourages assuming citizenship and benign intent to people that visually appear Latinx, Arab, or Persian which directly impacts how such American citizens are then excluded from full equality and respect. (source)

On August 26, 2017 Donald Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio of his criminal Contempt of Court conviction. That conviction was the result of systemic harassing of Latinx appearing people in violation of a court order to stop harassing based on people appearing Latinx. As Contempt of Court is the only enforcement mechanism Federal Courts have to carry out their protection, this action was performed to prevent the Federal Judiciary from preventing racially-motivated, abusive policing.

And don't forget the multiyear campaign to paint the first and only black President of the United States as native African.

It is getting late and I don't track these instances as much, mostly because I'm too ignorant of Jewish faith and culture to catch the coded language. In January and April the Trump White House engaged in Holocaust denial by first avoiding mentioning the primary target of that genocide and then by asserting that [German Chancellor] Adolf Hitler did not use chemical weapons against his own people. That second statement was then explicitly defended, which could only mean that either the German Jews were not being considered Germans or not considered people.

The most egregious act of anti-Semitism that I know can be placed directly at the feet of Donald Trump is the defense of the terrorism in Charlottesville, VA on August 13, 2017. As part of the Unite the Right assembly, the temple of Congregation Beth Israel was terrorized by armed men, harassment under Nazi symbols, and threats of arson. (source) Multiple times Trump as used his pulpit as President to avoid condemning such terrorism.

I cannot give a better response here than Rumana Ahmed's description of the first days of the Administration. (source) Plus the entire campaign-long tirade against Muslims and promise of banning Muslim immigrants, which was attempted through two separate executive orders. There is also the increase in civilian killings due to a loosening of rules of engagement for US troops carrying out orders while operating in Muslim-heavy countries.

Demonstrating incidences of generosity from Donald Trump does not diminish his sustained pattern of xenophobic bigoted demagoguery since he joined the birther movement in 2011. (source) He actively leveraged racists to maintain his position near the political limelight through 2014 and then launched his campaign in 2015 with blatant bigotry. It has remained a constant right up until the current day with him distracting from the disaster in Puerto Rico by trying to convince white racists that genuflecting by a black man to highlight police brutality is the height of disrespect.



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