Donald Trump, panderer-in-chief
I watched Donald Trump, pander for the black vote and the vote of people of color in his 'law and order' speech with disgust. I was disgusted because snippets of what he said were right at the same time he continued to stereotype people of color and uphold the fallacy of an always benevolent and trustworthy police system.
Trump like many Americans falsely believes that people of color need to be coddled and directed. They have allowed the plight of poor inner city people, mostly people of color, to be the definition of the reality and definition of people of color. In so doing his pander is framed in protecting them from the violence inflicted on them by people like them.
To be clear, the violence in inner city communities is horrendous with the numbers way exceeding the national average. The level of crime in the inner city is much higher because crime tracks socio-economic stresses. That said, the inference that black-on-black crime is any different than white-on-white crime or different than intra-racial crime needs to be dispelled.
There is a perception problem, however. A large percentage of poor people of color live in the major cities with large media markets. They make great props for the evening news. The same conditions of violence, drug use, single mother parenting, and government dependency are endemic in the Appalachia and rural areas. These problems get little coverage because of media markets and because looking in the mirror is less than kind to many journalists.
Both media coverage and society's response are decidedly different. The opiate epidemic is no different than the crack epidemic. People in despair seek out substances to 'feel better.' The opiate epidemic is a medical problem. The crack epidemic was a criminal problem. Those on crack got criminal records. Compassion, government support, and hospitalization, and second chances are the solutions to the opiate epidemic. In my community, an upper-middle-class mostly white community teenagers do the same mischiefs teenagers do in the inner cities. Police officers take the kids home with a slap on the wrist in my community. In the inner cities, they get criminal records. Yet we take FBI statistics on face values.
Trump is correct that Democrats take the black vote for granted. But Democrats also take the working class white vote for granted. The reality is all politicians irrespective of parties take the votes of most of the poor and middle-class for granted. People of color stay with the Democratic Party because voting for the better of two evils is existential. It is more effective than voting entirely against one's socio-economic interest.
The reality is this. People of color continue to support the Democratic Party because they perceive their policies are better than no policy at all. Because these policies are nationwide, even those who continue to vote against their interest can do so knowing that they will still benefit.
Real change will occur when these communities unite. I use a phrase on my radio show Politics Done Right on KPFT 90.1 FM (on FB) that I believe in. It is stereotypical, but it gets the point across. We will force all politicians to change when we unite the ghettos, Appalachia, and the barrios. Politicians fear this eventuality because it loses them control.
Trump's speech was well crafted, not in the academic sense but a rather carnal manner. Yes, it was panned by the mainstream media. He will reach some people of color that are fed up. At the same time, it did not lose his Appalachian base. The fear isn't what the polls say now. The fear is what people will grab onto if they throw their hands up in the air in disgust and try something even if flawed because the status quo has not worked for them. This is a warning.