Don't act like you're surprised. Donald Trump has been telling us for years that he's a racist bigot. Now it's clear for everyone to see.
Maybe we didn't take him seriously. Maybe we brushed it off because he's a celebrity. Or maybe because he's a billionaire. Or perhaps because he's the butt of so many late night comedians' jokes. After all, Jon Stewart, the former host of The Daily Show, practically begged for Trump to enter the presidential race last spring.
But Trump's circus act is no longer funny. Not just because Trump keeps spewing increasingly outrageous venom at people of color. And not just because he now wants to ban all Muslims from coming to the United States. But because millions of Republican voters out there in America are eating it up.
Trump's racism is not new. It can be traced back several decades, as Gawker's Jason Parham demonstrated recently in a compilation of the GOP frontrunner's comments about "the Blacks."
Here was the spoiled rich kid from Queens who started his career with a "small loan of a million dollars" from his wealthy father. And yet, he complained in 1989, against all evidence to the contrary, that African-Americans have a tremendous advantage over whites in the job market. "If I were starting off today, I would love to be a well-educated Black, because I believe they do have an actual advantage," Trump said.
It was Trump again in 1991 who trafficked in ugly racial and religious stereotypes when he whined that he didn't like Black guys counting his money. "The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day." As Trump said then, "laziness is a trait in blacks."
The same Donald Trump who spent several months in 2011 questioning the authenticity of President Obama's birth certificate and demanding to see the president's college transcripts then turned around and claimed "I have a great relationship with the Blacks." The Blacks? Who says that? And, more importantly, who believes that?
Well, if you're a part of a small group of pimped-out Black pastors who endorsed Trump last month in New York or a former reality TV star who has made a name for herself by generating silly controversies, you might believe it. Or you might simply be exploiting Trump for 15 minutes of fame of your own.
I'm not fond of quoting Rev. Jamal Bryant for much of anything, but he hit the nail on the head last month on CNN when he challenged Pastor James Davis about meeting with Trump. After comparing the pastors to prostitutes, he apologized for the language and corrected himself. "Prostitutes get money," Bryant said. "And the 100 that went in there walked away with nothing, they did it for free."
Pastors endorsing Trump? And black pastors at that. Trump is the guy who claimed his Art of the Deal is his second favorite book behind the Bible but couldn't quote a single Bible verse when asked to do so in August. He's the guy who described the Christian sacrament of communion as the time "when I drink my little wine, have my little cracker." And he's the guy who said he never asked for forgiveness when he did something wrong because "I don't bring God into that picture." And this is the guy Black Christian pastors want to endorse?
With such a shallow understanding of Christianity, it's no surprise that Trump's minority outreach adviser has developed a typically Trump-styled half-assed pseudo-Christian plan to win "100 percent" of the Black vote next year. "You’ve got to bring back God into the neighborhood," Trump's adviser told Yahoo News. As if God weren't already in Black communities all across the nation. And, as if Donald Trump, of all people, were the man to bring his gold-plated version of God to the po' black folk in the 'hood.
What's more shameful is that any self-respecting Black pastor would continue to support Trump while his rhetoric opens the closet door for every redneck racist in America, and more specifically in the Republican Party. So when Speaker of the House Paul Ryan complains that Trump's proposed Muslim ban is "not who we are as a party," count me as a skeptic.
Of course, Donald Trump doesn't represent everyone in the party, but he represents a strong plurality who are anti-Black, anti-Latino, anti-Muslim and desperate to "Make America Great Again" by taking us back to some fictional time in the past when "those people" weren't such a problem. That's why he's leading in the polls.
The party that spent the past seven years demonizing President Obama as a socialist, Muslim, Kenyan outsider may not have created Donald Trump, but they certainly created the conditions that allowed him to flourish. And any Black leader who sells out his community for thirty pieces of Donald Trump's silver will bear just as much blame.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Seth Wenig)