“No Surprise, Trump Again Loud And Wrong”: Trump Is Woefully Ignorant About Minority Youths In America
“Ignoramus,” according to Merriam-Webster, was the name of a fictional 17th-century lawyer who regarded himself as rather shrewd when, in fact, he was quite foolish and ignorant. Enter Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee who denounced U.S. District Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel as too biased to oversee lawsuits involving Trump University because the judge was, as Trump referred to him, “a Mexican.”
Senior Judge Theodore R. Newman Jr. of the D.C. Court of Appeals, former chairman of the U.S. Fine Arts Commission Harry G. Robinson III, D.C. venture capitalist James L. Hudson, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, NBC4 news anchor Jim Vance, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights President Wade Henderson, D.C. elder statesman Carl Anderson, former D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty, D.C. Council member Brandon Todd, BET founder Robert Johnson and more than 150,000 members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, including this lifetime member and columnist, have another name for Curiel: We call him “Brother.”
Trump, no surprise, again was loud and wrong.
Curiel was born in Indiana, where he was initiated into predominantly African American Kappa Alpha Psi at Indiana University.
Labeling — or mislabeling — is pure Trump. Why bother to get to know anything about a person when pigeonholing into an ethnic, racial, religious or sexual identity will do?
But it is not Curiel’s name, his parents’ Mexican heritage or his fraternal choice that stand out. What lifts him up, as a fraternity leader said in a tribute to him against Trump’s bigotry, is Curiel’s decision to become part of a diverse membership of high achievers from all backgrounds who firmly oppose the practice of judging someone on the basis of race or ethnic origin.
Trump, in his ignorance, would never understand. His is a world of oversimplified compartmentalization: “the Latinos,” “the Muslims,” “the gays.”
And he knows it all, especially when it comes to — his words again — “the blacks.”
In the aftermath of the Baltimore rioting over Freddie Gray’s death, Trump pronounced, “And if you look at black and African American youth, to a point where they’ve never done more poorly. There’s no spirit.”
Thus saith Trump. He saith wrong. But, in truth, Trump has had help in reaching his crooked conclusions.
The local evening news brings tales of black community breakdowns, broken bodies and so much blood. Case in point: The Post’s feature story this week about a black teen in Baltimore trying to graduate from his troubled high school when so many of his classmates are dying. It’s regular newspaper fare, and the kind of stuff trumpeted by Trump.
But The Post’s account and Trump’s portrayal don’t capture the narrative of today’s African American and other youths of color.
Those stories are found where the denigrators of black and brown youths, and many in the media, fail to go.
Trump and his ilk should have been with me last month at the Sumner School Museum for the 28th Celebration of Youth essay contest sponsored by Global Harmony Through Personal Excellence, where dozens of Grade 4 through 9 scholars demonstrated wisdom beyond their years. “No spirit”? They made you want to stand up and cheer.
Too bad Trump wasn’t around last week to see the commencement celebration of Chavez Capitol Hill High School, a public charter school of mostly black and Latino youths, most economically disadvantaged — and most college-bound.
They, too, know what life is like for The Post’s young man in Baltimore. Many of them were the first in their families to graduate high school. Life for them has been hard, too.
They are youths who care about what’s going on in their communities. More important, they believe they can make a difference. Most will be off to college in the fall. Keep that “no spirit” garbage to yourself, Trump.
If last year’s high school graduation numbers are any guide, the Chavez students will be joined by more than 3,000 other D.C. high school students who received diplomas this spring. Many of them will also continue their education. They aren’t victims. They are spirited.
Kids “have never done more poorly,” declares Trump. Tell that to the more than 600 graduates of D.C. schools who have been awarded more than $1.2 million in scholarships by Curiel’s Washington Alumni brothers and their Kappa Scholarship Endowment Fund.
Trump, the know-it-all, should have attended the 176-year-old Nineteenth Street Baptist Church last Sunday to observe the congregation honor the college and high school graduates at Youth Recognition Day. Take in the sight of their adult mentors, volunteers and financial supporters.
Those scenes at the Chavez graduation, Nineteenth Street Baptist’s service, the youth essay contest, all the fundraisers, show that family and community supporters are not isolated stories. Those experiences are replicated below the radar in black and brown communities, and in churches and mosques and places of worship across the country. They are the rest of the story.
But if Trump doesn’t know from Mexican, why should he know any of this?
By: Colbert I. King, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, June 17, 2016
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