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People Who Accurately Describe Trump’s History of Racism Are the Real Racists


Heather Mac Donald has a “Trump’s critics are the Real Racists” column that is nutty even by the standards of the genre. It’s all stuff like this:

America’s universities deserve credit for this double standard. Identity politics dominate higher education: Administrators, students and faculty obsessively categorize themselves and each other by race. “White privilege,” often coupled with “toxic masculinity,” is the focus of freshmen orientations and an ever-growing array of courses. Any institutional action that affects a “person of color” is “about race.” If a black professor doesn’t get tenure, he’s a victim of discrimination; a white professor is presumed to be unqualified.

The cites for that last claim, oddly, are omitted. Anyway, the conclusion after many words of this kind of thing:

To note the inevitability of white identity politics in no way condones the grotesque violence of men like the El Paso killer. But the dominant culture is creating a group of social pariahs, a very small percentage of whom—already unmoored from traditional sources of meaning and stability, such as family—are taking their revenge through stomach-churning mayhem. Overcoming racial divisiveness will be difficult. But the primary responsibility rests with its main propagators: the academic left and its imitators in politics and mass media.

Oh-kay. To belabor the obvious:

By limiting the categories for racial incitement to “speeches and tweets,” Mac Donald allows herself to ignore vast swaths of Trump’s career, which began with systematically excluding African-Americans from his father’s housing complexes. The discrimination was overt: The Department of Justice conducted A/B tests in which black applicants would be told there were no vacancies, and then white applicants offered rooms for rent. Trump’s experience defending his father’s discriminatory practices, hiring Roy Cohn and fighting the Department of Justice for years without conceding error, formed the template for his methods.

She likewise ignores Trump’s obsession with falsely accusing the Central Park Five of rape, and Barack Obama of having faked his birthplace — both smears Trump has refused to renounce. Likewise, Trump’s crusade to block a Muslim cultural center from lower Manhattan on the basis of associating all Muslims with Al Qaeda does not merit attention. And she can avert her gaze from Trump’s long record of private racist comments, since those are also not speeches or tweets. MacDonald defends what she calls Trump’s “nonracial denunciation of Baltimore’s leadership.”

In fact, Trump was attacking U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, who is not responsible for municipal governance in Baltimore, and summoned images of rats and infestation. Those attacks closely mirror what Michael Cohen testified Trump had said in private (“While we were once driving through a struggling neighborhood in Chicago, he commented that only black people could live that way”). But since that was not a speech or a tweet, and since the public version of Trump’s attack on Baltimore did not actually use the term “black people,” neither qualifies as a racist remark.

And yet, amazingly, even after Mac Donald has set the bar at ground level, Trump has repeatedly tripped over it. As a candidate, Trump has claimed a Mexican-American judge is unfit to do his job on the basis of his identity (“sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment,” Paul Ryan called it, back when Ryan expected Trump to lose). He called for a ban on Muslim immigration. He called for the deportation of nonwhite Democrats in Congress and led a “send her back” chant.

Mac Donald does not even attempt to explain away these statements. She implicitly concedes the racism in her less-than-categorical statement that Trump “rarely [italics mine] uses racial categories in his speech or his tweets.” Given that historically, American presidents never use racial categories in their public remarks, this is a bit like saying O.J. Simpson rarely murders anybody.

Hey, she has one note, you can’t expect her not to keep playing it.

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