President Trump’s rhetoric and tweets have made racists feel comfortable to openly share their opinions, particularly about Latinos, for example, the New York City attorney who recently yelled at employees at a food establishment for not speaking English. He even threatened to call ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).
His comments have no merit and are racist. The objects of his rant are employees who are either citizens or legal residents. The man also said he was upset because he pays for their welfare benefits. This cannot be true because they are working! Welfare benefits are for those who are not working. These employees are also paying taxes so they, too, are paying for others’ welfare.
It was the anger in his eyes that bothers me most. It is the same hatred and demeanor I see when Trump speaks about Latinos.
In August of 2015, Mexican American journalist Jorge Ramos was pushed out of a press conference. Trump was campaigning in Iowa and had said that many Mexican immigrants were rapists and should not be allowed in this country. Ramos went to that press conference to ask Trump about his remarks and to let him know that his comments were incorrect and racist. Trump’s security men escorted — more like pushed him — out of the room. Trump would not let him ask a question and said, “go back to Univision,” the Spanish language television network.
Almost three years later, Trump continues to say racist remarks about Latinos in front of the media, with no restraint. In May 2018, he said Latino immigrants are animals and do not deserve to be in this country. To be clear, the discussion was about the MS-13 gang and a hypothetical situation. But Trump always speaks as if he’s talking about all Latinos regardless of the situation. He does not specify about whom he is speaking and in what context. What is clear is that there is this notion of “go back to where you came from” that has resonated with many in his base.
Trump has lived in New York City his entire life. The city is known as the most diverse city in the world. One would imagine he is used to interacting with different races and cultures. It seems, however, that because of his family’s wealth, he has always lived in his own shell. In fact, he is part of the nation’s 1% of richest people. He probably has never had to interact with anything but white people in NYC which is interesting because about 2.4 million Latinos — nearly a third of the population — live in New York City!
I wonder if Trump’s comments and attitude make it easier for other people to share their true feelings in public? Does a white man in NYC feel emboldened and vindicated because the president feels the same way? Of all places in the world, two New Yorkers of two different generations freely show their disdain for Latinos.
These are unsettling times. A veil has been lifted from deep-seated emotions. Charlottesville was but one manifestation of the intolerant attitudes that have risen to the surface. God help us!