Donald Trump: Textbook Racist

Donald Trump Racist

Civil rights advocates, social scientists and regular citizens have all called out President Trump as a racist in recent weeks. The president’s supporters have countered with stories about the blacks and Latinos he has hired or befriended, and with personal testimonies: “I’ve known Donald Trump for many years. He doesn’t have a racist bone in his body.”

As a professor who researches and teaches courses on the health effects of race, racism and inequality, I can assure you that the president’s defenders are wrong. Trump is a racist. What he says and does meets the scholarly definition of the term.

Broadly speaking, a racist combines negative prejudicial biases with sufficient power to leverage action against targeted groups.

Broadly speaking, a racist combines negative prejudicial biases with sufficient power to leverage action against targeted groups. Trump’s words and behaviors demonstrate considerable prejudicial bias, and, as president of the United States — arguably the most powerful office in the contemporary world — he has indeed leveraged action against various groups.

Racism is predicated on belief in the scientifically discredited concept of biological race. Skin color simply has no correlation with significant inherent distinctions among human beings. However, “race” in the past and now has led to notions of a natural hierarchy among various populations. In the United States, it was used to justify stealing labor from black Africans through slavery and stealing land from red Native Americans through forced relocation and genocide.

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Jay A. Pearson
Los Angeles Times

Jay A. Pearson is an assistant professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.