The suggestion that the current President of the United States is a racist and an intolerant bigot is hardly original to me. A quick scan of his twitter feed is all the evidence you need. The US House of Representatives (the House) voted recently to condemn Trump’s racist comments against four Democratic Representatives of colour. To set his more recent remarks in context, I want to delve into Trump’s bigoted past, and show that his current behaviour is nothing new. This is not to excuse it, but to show that he has not really gotten worse, he is the same bigoted dolt he always was.
Housing Discrimination, Part One: Race
In the 1970s, the Department of Justice sued Trump and his father for discriminatory housing practices. Translation: they did not want to rent to black people. If you think this seems extreme, consider these recollections from people involved in the case
ELYSE GOLDWEBER: What they had done was send “testers”—meaning one white couple and one couple of color—to Trump Village, a very large, lower-middle-class housing project. And of course the white people were treated great, and for the people of color there were no apartments. We subpoenaed all their documents. That’s how we found that a person’s application, if you were a person of color, had a big C on it
For the people of colour there were no apartments – indeed. But Trump could not just deny black people apartments. He had to mark their applications with a giant yellow sta – no – sorry – a giant C. Remarkable: the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been the law for nearly ten years by this point. But bigots like Trump and his old man do not bend to the law; that is for peasants. We do what we want. The case was settled by what the lawyers call a ‘consent decree’ – essentially the accused makes restitution to the plaintiffs and the case goes away.
To put the issue beyond doubt, there is this gem from Trump after the settlement. Quote John Yinger, another lawyer
Trump had some interesting language after the settlement: He said that it did not require him to accept people on welfare
Yes, because all black people are on welfare. Trying to keep this one G-rated folks; it is a struggle. The racism, condescension and prejudice just oozes from every pore of his being. I do not hate anyone, but this man makes it hard.
Housing Discrimination, Part Two: Disability
Lest you think that Trump’s bigotry only relates to race, here is another story told about the Bigot in Chief
We met with the architect to go over the elevator-cab interiors at Trump Tower, and there were little dots next to the numbers. Trump asked what the dots were, and the architect said, “It’s braille.” Trump was upset by that. He said, “Get rid of it.” The architect said, “I’m sorry; it’s the law.” Trump’s exact words were: “No blind people are going to live in this building”
Amazing, is it not? This man has no empathy, no conscience. He has no concept of compassion. Even ignoring all that, as the architect said, it was the law to put braille dots in elevators. There are two major aspects to this. First is the the massive prejudice and ‘f those who are different to me’ mentality. Thus far we have no blind people and no black people. Gee I wonder what his preferred candidates were?
The second, and far more important, is the overarching sense of ‘the law does not apply to me’. Trump believed then, and certainly believes now, that he is able to do as he pleases and that no laws or restrictions apply to him. He thinks of himself as a modern day king or emperor: above the laws to which mere mortals are subject. The great tragedy, as the last seventy-plus years show, is that he is right. There have been, and continue to be, precisely no consequences for Trump flagrantly and frequently violating the law. As with any child, he learned what he lived: wealth, privilege, power. He learned that he could do what he wanted and face no consequences, so that is what he came to expect. And society obliged.
The Central Park Five, Then and Now
The article I am using as the basis for this piece is much longer, and details many incidents with similar primary evidence quotations. I have chosen what perhaps are the more obscure and distant examples of his racism and prejudice. I want to end on the well known case of the so-called Central Park Five.
In April of 1989, a woman was raped in central park. Hysteria was such that five young men, four African-Americans and a latino, found themselves arrested and charged with the crime. However, before the trial had even started, Trump took out full page ads in all the major newspapers calling for the death penalty for these young men. Ignore the barbarity of the death penalty, and its use on teenagers. Ignore too the fact that, for all its viciousness, rape is not a capital crime. These young men were not even convicted of the crime! Trump was attempting to blatantly taint the jury pool (voir dire would have been scintillating). The young men were convicted, but spared capital punishment. There was, as usual, no punishment for Trump for his blatant tampering with the justice system.
In 2002, DNA evidence exonerated the young men and they successfully sued the city of New York for millions. In 2016, some fourteen years after their exoneration, Trump still believed they were guilty. He is clearly not amenable to facts, he does not change his thinking on an issue once his mind is made up, and we have always been at war with East Asia.
Conclusion: Bigot in Chief
The media and the corporate Democrats are going after Trump and passing meaningless resolutions in the House condemning him for his racist tweets. There is actually a far larger point at play here, and it shows how truly dangerous Trump is.
Consider briefly the definition of the word bigot: a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudice. Related terms include doctrinaire, fanatic, sectarian.
All of these terms have one thing in common: proponents lack that quality which being President of the United States most requires: mental flexibility
This is what makes Trump so dangerous: not his racism, not the fact-free nonsense he spouts on a daily basis, but his simplistic, dogmatic and rigid world view. His inability to learn, to change, to adapt. For all the vile crap he has said in and out of office, look beyond that and see the true danger: the man in charge of the largest military in human history is not capable of learning anything.
We live in troubled times, as Green Day said.
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