By Jill Richardson / OtherWords

Donald Trump at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland. (Gage Skidmore / Flickr / CC-BY-SA)

This piece originally ran on OtherWords.

I’m white. So is Donald Trump.

I work as a teaching assistant in a sociology course on race while I pursue a PhD. Trump alone provides enough material to supply half my curriculum.

Over the years, he’s said he thinks he’d be better off if he were “a well-educated black,” and that “laziness is a trait in blacks.”

Nonetheless, he clarified a few years back, “I have a great relationship with the blacks.” He repeated that assertion more recently, but refined his terminology to call them “African Americans.”

That’s right. Trump thinks the problem with those statements is the term he used for black people — and not that he called them lazy and entitled, and then claimed they love him.

For the record, to correct The Donald, a well-educated black person is not better off than a well-educated white person. As of 2009, a black person working full time with an advanced degree made $14,000 less per year than a similarly situated white person.

And that’s just income, not wealth.

Wealth is accumulated over generations, and African Americans have been historically robbed of wealth through generations of discriminatory policies that continue to echo today. Today, on average, black Americans make 60 percent as much income as whites, but have only 5 percent as much wealth.

That means that middle class whites have a safety net that middle class blacks lack.

For example, one study found that twice as many people in black neighborhoods had their wages garnished to pay off debts than those in white neighborhoods.

Why? Because when illness or disaster strikes, whites are far more likely to be able to call on friends or family to loan them money to help them get by, whereas blacks are not. That goes directly back to centuries of discrimination and violence against blacks, both legal and otherwise.

Then there’s what Trump says about Latinos (that “when Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best”) and Muslims (that there should be a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”).

Mexican-Americans run the socio-economic gamut from doctors to farmworkers. They include the sweet girl who watches my cat when I go out of town — a studious ninth grader whose mother came here from Mexico — as well as numerous professors at my university.

America got lucky the day these folks came across the border, and it’s an insult to count them alongside drug dealers and rapists.

Every time I open Facebook, moreover, I see posts by Muslim friends denouncing terrorism, showing mosques fundraising to help victims of terror attacks, or even thanking a little boy who donated his savings to help a vandalized mosque by giving him an iPad.

Obviously, these are all good things, but it makes me sad and outraged that my Muslim friends need to go to such lengths to prove to the world they aren’t terrorists. They are no more terrorists than I am. Most of them hold advanced degrees, and several are doctors.

In the end, I think Trump’s own words apply best to himself: “It is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension.”

Yes. Exactly. And what’s truly inexplicable is why, in 2015, anyone running on a racist, xenophobic ticket finds any support at all.

To the media: Why do you continue to run snippets of Trump’s most hateful rhetoric, when you would fire any employee who said a fraction of what he’s said on TV?

And to America, it’s time we shout Trump’s own tagline at him. Let’s join together and tell the reality TV star and real estate mogul who wants to be our president, “You’re fired.”

OtherWords columnist Jill Richardson is the author of Recipe for America: Why Our Food System Is Broken and What We Can Do to Fix It.


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