I am a fan of facts. It’s hard to put aside bias, put aside political views, positions on issues, partisanship. Even in selecting facts, our perspectives come into play. But I try. I’m writing this a few days after President Trump made his comments referring to African and other nations as “shitholes” and wondering why we needed immigrants from countries with poor people, like Haiti, and we should stop. And we need more from Norway. He has made many similar comments recently and over the two and a half years he has been in the public eye as a politician. Those comments are the facts at our disposal, and the absence of countermanding comments (aside from the occasional scripted speech) showing unity and broader thinking are also facts. Based on this, I think a neutral observer would draw the following conclusions:
Donald Trump holds a set of views that he considers to be valid, evidence-based, and true. Many (not all) supporters of his hold similar views, which explain why he is able to make such statements and not have it affect his base. It also explains his behavior. Read through and see if you (a) agree that he appears to believe each of these, (b) agree that his supporters likely believe these, and (c) think that believing them qualifies as racism. Interestingly, the grandson of Martin Luther King said, following Trump’s comments with him standing next to Trump during a proclamation for MLK, that Trump was “not a traditional racist,” but was “racially ignorant.”
Here are Trump’s apparent beliefs:
1. Countries with people who are black and brown are generally poorer than average.
2. Black and brown people from these poorer countries are themselves poor, uneducated, and unskilled.
3. Countries with predominantly white populations have people that are more skilled, wealthier, and more educated.
4. The US benefits more from having immigrants who are wealthier, more educated, and more skilled. Unskilled, uneducated, poor people do not bring value to the country.
5. Countries with black and brown people are more likely to have criminals and sick people.
6. To protect the US, we should apply these principles to make sure we bring the best people to the US. This is not being racist, this is just being realistic.
Are there facts to back up the President’s beliefs? Of course there are – if you are extremely selective about which facts to choose and decide to ignore the overwhelming amount of evidence proving them absurd. Just as there are facts to show that climate change is fake. We can find one out of a hundred climatologists who will provide data showing it is not happening. But ninety-nine out of a hundred will provide an overwhelming preponderance of evidence showing that climate change is real.
The choice to ignore the massive body of facts and base your behaviors on misunderstanding, ignorance, and exceptions is, by definition bias. And in this case, racially ignorant and ethically disturbing. I’ll go one step further: wouldn’t a fundamentally good person question these assumptions that they held? Wonder if such negative views were truly accurate? Try to put truth above self-serving rhetoric? I think the answer is yes. What do you think?