Ever since Donald Trump began his run for president, his opposers and the media have called him racist time and time again, leading some to ask the question, "Why didn't anyone dub him racist before he ran for president?" Was he racist before mid-2015, but no one cared because he wasn't running for the highest office in the land?
Politics are ugly, plain and simple. But does anyone find it odd that Trump, who was once just known as a very wealthy reality TV star, all the sudden became this horrific, evil and bigoted person? Has he really done things and said things that only a racist would do and say?
I recently came across a Vox article called "Donald Trump's long history of racism, from the 1970s to 2016, explained" by German Lopez, and before I finished the article it was apparent to me that the term "racism" does not appropriately apply to many of the scenarios Lopez describes regarding Trump's words and deeds. He gives several reasons as to why Trump is racist, and save for a few, the majority of reasons do not properly fit the definition of racism.
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of racism is "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race."
The above definition is important because, as you will see, Lopez's article deems many things to be racist just because the situation at hand had Trump, by little or no fault of his own, involved with a racial minority.
In simpler terms, Merriam-Webster defines racism as "poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race," and "the belief that some races of people are better than others."
It's important to keep these definitions in mind.
I'd like to take this opportunity to make it clear that Lopez did make a few valid points as to why Trump could be labeled a racist, but for the purposes herein, I choose to not cover those points. Please navigate to the article if you wish to read it in its entirety.
Additionally, Lopez makes a point to say that a few instances of racial prejudice by Trump does not necessarily make him racist, but all the scenarios put together make it clear Trump cannot be considered anything but racist.
"It would be one thing if Trump made just a few racist remarks; one, two, or even three of these types of comments might just show a bad speaker who's seriously racially insensitive, not necessarily a full-blown racist. Maybe even on the campaign trail, Trump is just an opportunist, saying things he doesn't really believe to rile up voters.Lopez dug into Trump's past and, when viable, mixed in pieces of the present to paint the picture of a bigoted racist jerk.
"But when you take all of Trump's actions and comments, a clear pattern emerges — one that suggests that bigotry is not just campaign opportunism on Trump's part but a real element of Trump's personality, character, and career."
"In a commencement speech at Lehigh University, Trump spent much of his speech accusing countries like Japan of 'stripping the United States of economic dignity.' This matches much of his current rhetoric on China."This implies that since Trump believes that Japan and China are bad for America's economy, he must be racist against Japanese and Chinese people.
Could it instead be possible that Trump sees a flaw in the American economy and is using Japan's and China's economic relationship with America to illustrate that point?
"In opposition to a casino proposed by the St. Regis Mohawk tribe, which he saw as a financial threat to his casinos in Atlantic City, Trump secretly ran a series of ads suggesting the tribe had a 'record of criminal activity [that] is well documented.'"If Trump saw the St. Regis Mohawk tribe as a "financial threat," wouldn't one think he felt threatened by them because of money issues, not because of their Native American origin? In going back to the definitions of racism, does this fit? I'm not condoning the actions Trump took against the tribe, but to say he only went after this tribe because of their race is, at best, mere speculation.
Trump "fired" a black man, Kevin Allen, during the second season of The Apprentice, and according to Lopez this is another indicator of racism. I would really like to know how this makes him racist, because Trump told Allen that the reason he fired him was because he was overqualified for the job. Perhaps if Trump had said, "I'm firing you because you're black," or "I can't stand black people, so I'm going to have to let you go," I could definitely agree that it was racist in nature. But Trump did not say, or even imply, either of these things.
Lopez believes that it was racist for Trump to question whether or not President Obama's birth actually took place in the United States. It's obvious this connection was made because Obama is half-black, so evidently questioning the birthplace of someone of a different race is racist, which is preposterous. Lopez is using Obama's African-American origin as a means to call Trump racist, which, in going back to the Merriam-Webster definition of racism, exemplifies Lopez's belief that "race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race."
The fact of the matter is that unless Trump had racist motivations in questioning the validity of Obama's birthplace, which it's impossible to know for sure, one cannot conclude this to be racist in nature.
"Trump launched his campaign calling Mexican immigrants 'rapists' who are 'bringing crime' and 'bringing drugs' to the U.S. His campaign is largely built on building a wall to keep these immigrants out of the U.S."This is extremely misleading, just like the original stories surrounding this incident were misleading. The media smeared this from the beginning.
Trump did say, "They're bringing crime, drugs, and their rapists." He did not say "They're [Mexicans] are rapists." If you watch and listen, it's obvious Trump means "their rapists," not "they're rapists," like this video would lead you to believe.The media purposely spun his words to make him look insensitive to those south of our border, and they succeeded in making countless people believe Trump said something that he did not, in fact, say.
I was duped by the media here as well. Before knowing anything about what Trump actually said, I assumed he had called Mexicans criminals and rapists. Luckily someone close to me informed me that things were not as they seemed in this particular instance.
Lopez also believes that Trump calling himself the "law and order" candidate is racist.
"At the Republican convention, he officially seized the mantle of the 'law and order' candidate — an obvious dog whistle playing to white fears of black crime, even though crime in the U.S. is historically low."Dictionary.com defines "dog whistle" as "a political strategy, statement, slogan, etc., that conveys a controversial, secondary message understood only by those who support the message."
I'm white and I support Donald Trump's message. When he says he's the candidate of law and order, I think he is referring to people being held accountable for their misdeeds. If this specific "dog whistle" is "understood only by those who support the message," how are people such as Lopez, who doesn't support Trump's message, able to understand and define it?
"Dog whistle" seems to me to be nothing more than a term left-wingers use as an excuse to call their opponents racist, sexist, bigoted, xenophobic, and the list goes on and on. Trump cannot win here because as long as minorities are breaking the law, calling himself "the law and order candidate" will be racist because, like Lopez, his opponents want it to be racist, so they find a way for it to be racist.
Perhaps Trump wants to establish law and order into the current illegal immigrantion fiasco. Or maybe he believes that people need to be held responsible for their actions, and not, as with Hillary Clinton and her email scandal, be placed above the law.
To conclude, I think it's safe to say that if you want to make something out of nothing, it's absolutely possible to achieve. Although Lopez did bring up some things in Trump's past that can undoubtedly be described as racist, the vast majority of his reasoning is flawed.
It's inaccurate and unfair to condemn a person as racist just because that person has had a few spats with people who happen to be a different race. This does not fit the definition of racism and instead implies that racial minorities are victims because of their race, and the majority (white people in this case) are racist for the sole fact that they're not the minority.
Ironically enough, this way of thinking fits Merriam-Webster's definition of racism almost perfectly.
[Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]