Is President Trump a racist?
To hear “the Squad” tell it, there is no doubt. The four angry U.S. representatives have branded him a racist xenophobic bigot (makes you wonder what they really think of him).
That is because Trump suggested the four go back to where they came from if they are so dissatisfied with life in the United States. The problem is that three of the four are FROM the United States.
The Squad consists of four freshmen Democratic women of color: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
So, back to the question: Is Trump a racist?
Whether someone deserves that label has become a moving target and clearly hinges on your definition.
Trump has yet to drive a car into a crowd of anti-racists but I do get the argument advanced by people who are sensitive to the nuances of this very complex issue.
Take, for example, comments by Ibram Kendi when asked whether a racist comment can make someone a racist. Kendi, director of Antiracist Research at American University in Washington, told CBS News, “If you say things that are racist, you’re racist. Just like if you say things that are anti-racist, the next minute you’re being an anti-racist. What we do is effectively who we are in that moment.”
Trump aside it seems to me the definition is now so broad and inclusive that it has lost the strength it once had. It has become difficult to tell who is a racist and who might be a victim of political rhetoric.
I always thought the classical definition of a racist embodied somebody like James Alex Fields. He’s the 22-year-old white supremacist, with a picture of Hitler on his nightstand, who drove his car into an anti-racism rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. In doing so he killed a young woman and injured dozens of others. Both the state and feds have awarded him dual life sentences.
But now it appears the word “racist” can be used and defended whenever a __________ (fill in the blank with skin color, ethnicity, religion or national origin), disagrees with or criticizes somebody who is of a different ___________ (fill in the blank again with skin color, ethnicity, religion or national origin).
But if the word now covers all of these cases, what word should I use to call out some SOB who falls into the uglier, more traditional use of the word?
Many have said Trump’s comment, particularly the “go back where you came from” part, was xenophobic and insensitive given this country’s history. It was stupid, and he shouldn’t have tweeted it. He was reacting with nuclear fallout the way he always does when criticized. Yet there was much about the Squad to criticize way before getting to their race, ethnicity or religion.
The Squad, meanwhile, seems to have further cheapened the use of the word by going after fellow Democrats.
They have accused head House Democrat Nancy Pelosi of repeatedly criticizing and trying to control them only because they are women of color.
Racism is a serious issue and it should not be bandied about because someone doesn’t agree with someone else.
The Squad clearly believes they are the future. They demand revolution now on their terms and as such they come off as intolerant, arrogant and downright disrespectful toward anyone who won’t get onboard.
What exactly are their policies that give Pelosi and the more moderate elements of the Democrat party indigestion?
That would be the call for open borders, scrapping everyone’s current health care arrangements in favor a government system, free college tuition and daycare and $15 an hour national minimum wage.
How would they pay for all this? Soak the rich is their easy answer.
The problem is there isn’t enough wealth among the one percenters to cover all of these proposals – assuming the one percenters would stick around to be stuck.
No, covering these costs will force redefining the definition of “rich” and taxing way down into our society to pay for the “revolution.”
If the policies of the Squad, which scare a lot of Democrats, also cause you concern, you might be heartened by Pelosi’s comment that “they’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”