President Trump's words and actions gain him favor among many people ... but obviously only those folks who are like-minded and here's why!
Most Americans have prejudices of one kind or another — whether based on race, gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. In most cases, they wrestle with these thoughts internally, and in a social context where overt expression is taboo, they suppress them. But since Donald Trump has been elected, it appears to have helped a significant number of people to resolve their inner conflicts in favor of expression.
There is no shortage of research demonstrating that people are highly responsive to their community’s accepted displays — or suppression — of prejudice. More simply put ... people express the prejudices that are socially acceptable and they hide the ones that are not. The election of Donald Trump did not create new prejudices, but by changing what a significant percentage of the population believes to be acceptable, his victory has almost certainly unleashed prejudices in people who already had them.
Trump's procession of racist and ethnocentric rhetoric, with repeated insults, gross generalizations and other derogatory speech, have consistently been (mostly) hurled at Mexicans, Muslims and women.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights advocacy organization, has tallied several hundred incidents of discrimination or harassment from epithets hurled at these same groups since Donald Trump became president! (Their website is www.spicenter.org.)
One significant example of that occurred in his 2016 campaign. Trump implied that Gonzalo Curiel, the federal judge presiding over a class action against the for-profit Trump University, could not fairly hear the case because of his Mexican heritage. “He’s a Mexican,” Trump told CNN of Curiel.
It was on April 10, 2018, that Federal Judge Curiel finalized the $25 million settlement between President Trump and students of Trump University with the New York attorney general claiming that “thousands of Americans were swindled out of millions of dollars through Donald Trump’s fraudulent university and they will finally receive the relief they deserve.”
Fred Trump, Donald Trump's father, was likewise prejudice/bias. Some of us remember folk singer Woody Guthrie. It was Fred who was the target of Guthrie’s lyrics after Guthrie had rented from him. The words of the song: “I suppose / Old Man Trump knows / Just how much / Racial hate / He stirred up / In the blood pot of human hearts.”
Joyce Hackett Smith-Moore
Catch the latest in Opinion
Get opinion pieces, letters and editorials sent directly to your inbox weekly!