Is President Trump a racist? If an impartial trial were held today, the President could certainly muster a formidable defense. After all, under his administration black unemployment is at an all time low, his re-industrialization policy is perfectly suited to provide even more jobs for African Americans and trillions spent on rebuilding our infrastructure will only add to the total. It is also arguable that reducing Hispanic immigration will help blacks compete economically. Equally important, his administration has barely laid a hand on the sacred cows of the Civil Rights movement—affirmative action, racial jerrymandering, the racially segregated system of historically black colleges and universities, and all the government agencies explicitly responsible for enforcing the civil rights agenda. Recall that his State of the Union speech mentioned post-prison vocational training, a policy favored by countless civil rights activists. To be sure, the Justice Department has here and there rolled back (or ignored) some “pro-black” Obama era regulations, for example, racially proportional school expulsions, but these measures are relatively insignificant and may in fact have hindered, not helped, African Americans.
Indeed, the evidence that would be introduced to convict him of racism is of the dog whistle variety, if that. Did he use the term “shithole” to depict Haiti and some African nations? But it could have been far worse—accurately applying the term to Detroit or East St. Louis. Does saying that there were good people on both sides in the Charlottesville, VA riot really an endorsement of the Klan? Was his hesitation in denouncing David Duke a tip-off to his secret aversion to blacks? Does his repeated support for the police, the flag and standing for the national anthem signify an attack on blacks? Has anybody ever recorded the Donald using the “N” word or otherwise demeaning blacks? And on and on.
Alas, all this iffy evidence doesn’t matter. Who needs a smoking gun? Denouncing Trump as a certified white racist has become a mini-industry (a Google search on “Is Trump a Racist” received 34.2 million hits) and his accusers are rarely challenged. Charles Blow, a columnist for the New York Time recently said, “It is not a stretch to say that Trump is racist. It’s not a stretch to say that he is a white supremacist. It’s not a stretch to say that Trump is a bigot.” In case you failed to grasp Blow’s point, he clarifies it bit: “Trump is a racist. We can put that baby to bed. ‘Racism’ and ‘racist’ are simply words that have definitions, and Trump comfortably and unambiguously meets those definitions.” Case closed.
What can possibly explain this compulsion to label Trump as a racist despite the paucity of strong confirming evidence? Is this the cheap shot equivalent of denouncing one’s enemies as “commies” during the 1950s?
The place to begin understanding this strange phenomenon is to distinguish between a race realist—people who recognizes racial differences even if they put blacks in a bad light–and a racist, a believer in a racial hierarchy with whites on top and blacks at the bottom. A race realist acknowledges that blacks are more crime prone than whites and leaves it at that; a racist uses this fact as proof of black inferiority. Though conceptionally distinct, the two terms (along with “White Supremacist”) are now conflated so pointing out, for example, that blacks do relatively poorly in school (an empirical fact) is, according to some, identical to saying that whites are superior to blacks (an opinion). Peter Brimelow of VDARE acknowledges this conflation by labelling demonstrable facts that draw the epithet “racist” as hate facts.
Trump is undoubtedly a race realist, though not necessarily a racist, for the simple reason that as a successful businessman he must accept reality as it is. Business is Darwinian—personnel and strategy mistakes invariably bring ruin. Even bleeding-heart liberal entrepreneurs eventually learn that survival requires hard-headed realism, or else. Recall Eastern Airlines, Woolworths, Blockbuster Video and hundreds of other long-gone business that got it wrong. To be sure, these bankruptcies seldom involved race, but racial consideration can play a role in business successes (for example, Chicken George, a defunct black-owned food restaurants that started in Baltimore) but such race-related failures as can be seen by the notable absence of major chains in black-dominated neighborhoods thanks to shop-lifting, vandalism, bad checks and other practices that raise operating costs to unacceptable levels. .
The attentiveness to an inescapable economic reality is unlike the academy where the sociology department can hire an alcoholic airhead, award him tenure for a bizarre screed on the white patriarchy and still flourish as if nothing happened. Government agencies and non-profits similarly enjoy the luxury of hiring incompetents, so the pursuit of a social justice agenda has no downside. Businesses are fundamentally different.
Now for the reality that dare not speak its name: race and ethnicity often play key roles in hotel industry decisions though for legal reasons these are never acknowledged. After some trial and error, a restaurant owner may discover that his Ecuadorian waiters are superb, so why interview non-Ecuadorians? Similarly, if customers of a certain ilk disproportionately cause trouble, for example, being unruly, just keep them away by eliminating their favorite menu items. Racial/ethnic stereotypes are typically cheap and accurate ways of judging potential employees and customers.
I do not have access to profiles of Trump employees and customers, but I’d bet my last nickel that as befitting a luxury brand, the Trump’s empire does not exactly hang out the “Welcome” sign to African Americans. A penchant for over-the-top prices is the most obvious but only the beginning. I’d further speculate that as is typical with American businesses, there are few blacks in top executive positions while the Group Sales division rarely target black churches and fraternal organizations. Nor do Trump casinos bus in inner-city residents by enticing them with a free drink, cheap all-you-can-eat buffets, and “loose” slot machines. And these exclusionary “racist” tactics must number in the dozens, and while some may be devious, most are perfectly legal. Nor is Trump unique is favoring some ethnic groups over others. It is no accident that Los Vegas has a thriving community of Asians—they make excellent hotel employees. Similarly, top New York City clubs and restaurants disproportionately hire Hispanics, and Trump once boasted of this partiality in a campaign speech.
All and all, those in the Trump organization (and many comparable luxury brands) know full well that their affluent, nearly all-white and increasingly gambling-loving Asian clientele are loath to mix with crowds of down-market blacks. Business managers also know from past experiences that if they need low-level employees, from hotel maids to line cooks, they are better off hiring Chinese immigrants, young recent arrivals from Eastern Europe, Filipinos and hard-working Hispanics. To repeat, such tactics are not KKK-like white racism; all reflect sound, hard-headed business choices and it is the very soundness of these obvious choices that enrages many blacks.
So, for the countless enemies of President Trump he is man who absolutely refuses to drink the racial Kool Aid by celebrating social justice at the expense of profits. These daily business decisions in his empire tell the world what he honestly thinks of blacks—with perhaps few exceptions they are not especially worthy employees, they don’t deserve executive positions and are undesirable customers. And, no doubt, if he were pressed on this dreary assessment of blacks, his likely rejoinder would be: why else must the government spend millions and issue endless coercive edicts to pressure employers to hire blacks? Truly a case of actions speaking louder than words and only by incorrectly conflating race realism with racism is he is a racist.
Now imagine an alternative universe where Trump retires from business and to make amends for past sins, builds the “Trump Great America” complete with a championship golf course, a spa, a casino and all the other top-of- the-line amenities. This time around, however, he embraces multiculturalism, diversity and inclusion. The staff top to bottom would “look like America,” training programs recruit perpetually jobless inner-city kids (many with criminal records and drug addictions) and he allocates 250 rooms for historically under-served populations unable to pay full price. Security would be handled entirely by former DACA kids. Brochures and TV ads will feature gays, the disabled, the obese and people of every hue and shade romping in the pool or playing roulette. Entertainment features over-the-top Hip Hop spectaculars with Dr. Dre, Wu-Tang Clan, Snoop Dogg and Coolio but at affordable prices.
Let me offer three guaranteed predictions. First, the Trump America would be a troubled property thanks to its “non-traditional clientele” though customer ratings would be ever so delicate regarding the source of the trouble. Second, being a savvy businessman Trump would demand huge up-front tax-payer supplied subsidies and promises of future bailouts to cover anticipated losses. After all, providing fantastic jobs for the “wonderful” hard-core unemployed who might otherwise enter the school-to-prison pipelines will not come cheap.
Lastly, he’d finally get to address the NAACP annual meeting where he would receive a standing all-is-forgiven ovation. Maxine Waters would come out of retirement to hug and kiss the Donald and hail him as a man who truly believes in America. She tells the beaming Donald, that the Congressional Black caucus (including all staff and their families and significant others) has already reserved every “affordable” below market rate rooms for its next convention. The Donald is now officially cured of his racism.