Whether or not president Trump is racist is not a particularly interesting question to me. Having once had a personal interaction with him on a conference call (a story for another time), I can attest to his personal charm and ability to connect with people. I also know a black Secret Service agent responsible for protecting him during the 2016 election who told me that Trump was, at least on a personal level, "not a bad guy".
Trump may well have no personal issues with black people or minorities, and may be a swell guy in private. But in public, Trump makes a concerted effort to go after prominent black athletes and celebrities with thinly veiled racist barbs he knows will provoke outrage. Why? The answer is perhaps more appalling than the general perception that he is just plain old racist.
Here was Trump today going after NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality against African Americans:
Trump is almost certainly uninterested in whether NFL players kneel during the national anthem. Trump cares about himself, money, and staying the media at all costs. Trump does however, know that the issue of black NFL players kneeling during the national anthem angers racist Americans, and he knows that those racist Americans are the only people keeping him in office. Thus Trump uses racism to keep his base happy. There is the added effect that his tweets will outrage the left and keep media attention on him, so he continues to monitor the NFL protests to spark controversy where he can. This is quite frankly, worse than being a racist -- to insult African Americans because you know it pleases your fans is truly abhorrent and a revealing insight into just how morally depraved the president of the United States truly is.
Discussing this issue does present a conundrum for media outlets like ourselves: do we report on Trump's revolting behavior, or do we ignore it in the hopes he will stop using racism to divide the country and alienate minorities? I've come to a conclusion about this over the past year and a half, and not without a good deal of anguish.
Despite the fact that we may be playing into Trump's hands by calling out his repellant racism, and use of racism, there is a longer game at hand. And it comes down to telling the truth about what the president is doing, whether his fans are enraged by it or not. Calling Trump out for being worse than a racist is not an act of partisan political reporting, it is simply telling the truth. He denigrates black people because it helps him in the polls, and not pointing this out merely hides the truth that will have to be confronted at some point or another.
As Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” so it is best, at least in my opinion, to come to terms with this indecency now. We must rally the like minded and place our bets on outnumbering, outworking, and outthinking the racist underbelly of American society. The alternative simply cannot be tolerated, and anyone who says otherwise should be considered a part of the problem.