Opinion Brief

Does Donald Trump really have a 'great relationship with the blacks'?

Not for much longer, perhaps. After trumpeting his ties with "the blacks," the real estate mogul frets that African-American support for Obama is "very, very frightening"

Not content with pursuing the fringe conspiracy theory that President Obama isn't a U.S. citizen, Donald Trump has now entered the tricky world of race relations. The would-be Republican presidential candidate has boasted of his "great relationship with the blacks" on a New York radio station, before declaring that Obama's enormous support from the African-American community is "very, very frightening." Trump also hinted that Hillary Clinton's defeat in the 2008 primaries was partly motivated by race. Will Trump's choice of words turn off these black voters who supposedly love him so much? (Watch a CBS discussion about Trump's comments.)

Trump's language belongs to another era: Trump's comments were "highly offensive," says Walter Fields, former head of NAACP New Jersey, as quoted by Capital New York. Referring to "the" blacks signifies that he's "actually treating African-Americans as objects." This "level of ignorance" is evidence that Trump has a mindset "reminiscent of the Jim Crow era." It wasn't that long ago that "the objectification of blacks was paramount to maintain slavery."
"What's wrong with Donald Trump and 'the blacks'"

"The blacks" don't like him much anyway: Trump's birther obsession has already provoked a "heavy backlash" from the African-American community, says Hayat Mohamed at The Root. Many think he's using the issue as a proxy for race, and prominent black figures like Bill Cosby have "publicly ridiculed" the billionaire. If he ever did have a great relationship with "the blacks", it won't last much longer.
"Donald Trump: I have a great relationship with the blacks"

This will hurt his political prospects: It's still unclear whether Trump's "fake presidential campaign" amounts to political ambition, says Steve Kornacki at Salon, but it's worth noting what happened to another "rich guy turned presidential candidate" when he made a racial faux pas. In July 1992, Ross Perot offended the audience at an NAACP convention by referring to them as "you people" during his speech. A week later he dropped out of the race.
"When rich white guys talk about black people"

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