Opinion: Why Trump's S***hole Remarks Are Irrelevant
“We have a racist in the White House” — the inescapable, inevitable words of many in the media and those around us. Resounding trumpets and horns are alerting the world to the evil President of the United States that seeks to create new immigration standards that are consistent with the skin color of the average Norwegian. The impulsive vulgarity that Trump is alleged to have spoken in his meeting with congressional Democrats and Republicans, is not something that is condoned by his supporters, but also not something for which they will condemn him. To put it bluntly, the worst interpretation of Trump’s comments are really nothing short of bigoted and racially charged. However, Trump seemed to be more critical of the countries from which these people emigrated than the actual immigrants.
His administration’s first move with Republican Senators regarding Immigration was to prioritize higher skilled laborers above low skilled workers, despite the original country from which visa applications were being considered. In this context, his comments about limiting immigration from “s***hole” countries would make more sense, given that he has advocated for a merit-based system and higher skilled work all around. But let’s do something fun. For the purposes of this piece let’s assume that everything Trump has said, was in fact racially charged and bigoted. The truth is, Trump would still be able to hold his “views” and policy ideas, and still be wildly successful in improving life for black and brown America. Trump’s policy and Trump’s privacy are mutually exclusive, and should not be conflated to suggest that the President cannot author meaningful immigration reform.
When people think of a President who executed meaningful change for African Americans, two very famous racists come to mind: Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon B Johnson. Although we associate Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson with milestones in American racial progress, the two men held horribly racist beliefs. In the famous Lincoln-Douglass debates, Lincoln made it very clear that he believed the black race was inferior by saying the following: “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races… I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with the white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races from living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be a position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man I’m in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race." These words are quite shocking, and yet came from a man who presided over the single most important time for the abolition of slavery in America, giving him the title of "Great Emancipator." Lyndon Johnson in similar racist fashion, never backed down from a good opportunity to say the N word, boasting that with the passage of the Civil Rights Act, he would "have those n****rs voting Democratic for 200 years." Equally as shocking, upon appointing the first black Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall, he said: "Son, when I appoint a nigger to the court, I want everyone to know he's a n****r." So what happened? Why did these two racist people turn out to be figures of great progress? Why didn't their private comments have a great effect on their policy, which seemed to contradict their personal beliefs? We must then conclude, that personal beliefs and thoughts must be divorced from the policy that a leader will pursue. Private comments have very little to do with the effects of presidential policy, and it is utterly unfair to take personal comments and try to slander an administration that has been visibly trying to compromise with their political opponents on a given issue.
With everything said, I continue to believe that President Trump is not racist, and certainly not racist "in effect." The things he says in the privacy of confidentiality should not, and cannot be used to accuse his administration of being racist, or against people of color. Even taking the issue of his occasional crude comments about women, and groping allegations, The Trump Organization has been an outlier in its abundance of female executives. Giving women opportunity in his organization, and entrusting his campaign to Kellyanne Conway show that he sees women as intellectual equals who are competent enough to maintain his successful enterprises. So now let's reevaluate his "s***hole" comment regarding Immigration policy. Even if this was conclusive proof that he was racist, his policies have not been anything but a massive boost to minority communities. Black Unemployment is the lowest it's been in 45 years (meanwhile black net worth tanked under Obama), and Hispanic Unemployment is similarly prosperous. And if all that were not enough, Obama is reported to have deported far more Mexican Immigrants in 2016 than the Trump did in 2017.
The effect of Trump's personal "racism" seems to be a better America for people of all colors. The effect of Abraham Lincoln's disgusting view on race seems to have been Emancipation. And the effect of LBJ's racist vulgarity must have been the Civil Rights Act. The private life of a leader with the magnitude of the Presidency, unless truly evil, is irrelevant to the promise of his political initiative.
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