Be careful next time you dare utter the president of the United States’ name — liberals could interpret it as a bigoted slur.
At least from what some may conclude after reading a Saturday New York Times piece titled “‘Trump, Trump, Trump!’ How a President’s Name Became a Racial Jeer.”
In order to support the assertions made in the headline, the authors recount a number of alleged events where victims of hate crimes claim that the perpetrators invoked President Donald Trump’s name during the attack. For example, in July, “an undocumented immigrant in Michigan reported to the police that two assailants had stapled a note bearing a slur to his stomach after telling him, ‘Trump doesn’t like you,‘” The New York Times reported.
The NYT report also cites an incident at an Iowa high school boy’s basketball game where two announcers share a back-and-forth about the ethnic diversity of players on one of the teams.
“[One of the announcers] then uttered a term occasionally used these days as a racially charged taunt, or as a braying assertion that the country is being taken back from forces that threaten it,” The NYT authors write. “That term is, simply, the surname of the sitting American president.”
Another incident cited in the piece was when racist graffiti was discovered at Salem State University in September. One of the vandalized benches had “Trump #1 Whites Only USA” spray painted on it. A criminal investigation has been opened, but no arrests have been made.
It’s hard to know at this time whether this incident is a hoax or not.
Nevertheless, the article cites scholars who have concluded that “the invocation of a president’s name as a jaw-jutting declaration of exclusion, rather than inclusion” as “unprecedented.”
White House spokesman Raj Shah condemned any alleged use of the president’s name in acts of violence of discrimination:
“The president condemns violence, bigotry and hatred in all its forms, and finds anyone who might invoke his or any other political figure’s name for such aims to be contemptible,” Shah wrote in an e-mail to The NYT.
Despite the unequivocal denunciation from the White House, The Times quotes Harvard University’s assistant professor of public policy Leah Wright Rigueur, who places the blame for these alleged incidents squarely on the president.
“When Trump says, ‘I hear you, I will represent you,’ he is speaking to a particular cross-section of the nation that does not include Muslims, that does not include people of color,” she told The NYT.
The story cites roughly a dozen isolated incidents in the roughly two years since Trump’s rise in politics. Whether or not that constitutes enough evidence that the man’s name has now morphed into a racial slur by itself, as the piece’s title suggests, will be up to readers.
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