Bernie Calls Trump a Racist

Lacking restraint, Bernie Sanders (Senator (VT)) today enunciated an extreme view, calling Trump a racist: “Today we talk about justice and today we talk about racism, and I must tell you it gives me no pleasure to tell you that we now have a president of the United States who is a racist.”

A year ago, Newsweek published “Trump’s Full List of ‘Racist’ Comments About Immigrants, Muslims and Others”.

There were 14 comments listed.

In #14, Trump “…said that many African-Americans were ‘living in hell,’ in reference to conditions in inner cities…” Is telling the truth supposed to be racist?

In #12, “Trump pointed to a black man and said, ‘Look at my African-American over there.'” I do not understand why this is racist. Isn’t African-American still a kosher way to indicate a black person?

In #10, “The president blamed ‘many sides’ for neo-Nazi violence last year.” That’s a reference to the Charlottesville confrontation between the two sides. What Trump actually said was the very opposite of racist:

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. It has been going on for a long time in our country — not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America.”

In #6, Trump is accused of being racist because he said to Navajo Code Talkers “You were here long before any of us were here, although we have a representative in Congress who, they say, was here a long time ago. They call her ‘Pocahontas.’ But you know what, I like you because you are special. You are special people.” I fail to see any racism in this mixture of true historical observation, truth about Warren and opinion that he likes these special people.

In #1, Trump is misquoted and mis-transcribed as saying “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” There are 4 sentences here, of which the first, second and fourth are unexceptional, true and accurately transcribed, as far as they go. IMHO, sentence three should read “Their rapists.” But also, the passage actually should read “They’re bringing crime, their rapists.”

This is enough debunking to be able to wonder: Do the accusers of Trump even know what racism really is? If they actually knew what racism has been in this country and others, would they be stretching credulity to the breaking point with their unconvincing evidence that Trump is racist?

Must we teach Trump’s accusers what real (or strong-form) racists want and what they do to make laws to get it? Must we teach them how real racists act outside the law? Racism is not a matter of calling some country a sh**hole. There are such places, cities, and regions. Racism is not a matter of thinking about and identifying people by skin color or other features. That’s something most everyone does who has grown up without meeting or seeing many different kinds of people; and it’s something that fades away naturally the more people one meets and gets to know.

If we were to collect some unquestionable racist statements made by bona fide racists, they would look nothing like Trump’s comments. For example:

“Antisemitism is exactly the same as delousing. Getting rid of lice is not a question of ideology. It is a matter of cleanliness.”

“…determination to clean up the Jews in Europe pitilessly. There must be no squeamish sentimentalism about it. The Jews have deserved the catastrophe that has now overtaken them. Their destruction will now go hand in hand with the destruction of our enemies. We must hasten this process with cold ruthlessness.”

“One way or another — I will tell you quite openly — we must finish off the Jews.”

Compiling a long list of racist acts, laws and comments made by racists who had an agenda in law and action is beyond the scope of this brief blog. It is no definitive defense of Trump to say that he does not propose to segregate the races, or deport particular races who are legally in America, or exterminate masses of people, or re-institute Jim Crow laws, or treat people of different races differently under the law, or encourage laws against miscegenation, or allocate the better jobs to white people, or close down business districts dominated by a given race, or make people wear identification tags, or lynch people.

However, actual racists advocate racist policies such as the latter on the singular basis that a race is inferior. Trump hasn’t done any of this, or hinted at anything like such measures being on his mind or platform of things to do. If he had, his opponents would be shouting it from the rooftops. Instead they cobble together various remarks and conclude he’s racist. They have not made their case.

Was Bernie Sanders justified in calling Trump a racist? Surely not. IMHO, he’s simply joining the bandwagon of presidential contenders who are making Trump their target. Sanders is joining the group of race hustlers, who insist on blowing up anything they can into a charge of racism. This sort of race hustling had been going on before Trump made the scene politically, and it’s still with us.


8:04 pm on January 21, 2019