For the past couple of days I have been following the media struggle with Trump’s latest comments. It has brought to light a long and traditional problem in American politics. Specifically, how can you tell if a person is racist, sexist, anti Semitic, et al.
This is a problem I’ve been dealing with since I really became aware of politics way back 1968. For ease of reading/writing I will only talk about racist but feel free to use any other ism/ist as you wish. It all works the same.
I’ve heard multiple times people who are asked if Trump’s comments about the Judge, Gonzalo Curiel, means he is a racist? Are the comments racist. An other derivations on the theme. For the first day or so most people dodged the question and tried to talk about something else. In the last day or so more people have been saying the statement(s) were racist but that that doesn’t mean Trump is a racist. Or they say they can see into Trumps hart or they can’t read his mind so they can’t say if he is or is not a racist. For what it is worth here are my two cents.
As I said before, I’ve been dealing with this problem of deciding if someone is a racist or not for a very long time (see above) and the best advice I ever got is this. “Until you can look into a man’s sole you have to judge a man by what he says and does.” We have to judge Donald Trump by both his words and deeds. When it comes to the judging I’ve always tried, and sometime succeeded, to err on the side of understanding.
When someone says or done something racist I try to let them recant (correct) what they have done or said. After all we all act badly from time to time. BUT when someone repeatedly keeps doing or saying racist things or when they ‘double down’ I have to take them at their word and that word is I’m a racist.
In the case of Donald Trump, for me he is a racist. Not the worst that I have ever known, not by a long shot, but still a racist. Something to remember this election year.