Let’s Call Trump’s Language What It Is

With all of his Birther and affirmative action talk, what's the point of tiptoeing around who Donald Trump is appealing to?

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Getty Images

Oh, look. The president has a birth certificate. Apparently he isn’t a sleeper terror agent trying to bring down the country. What a relief.

But even after Obama’s press conference on Wednesday, during which he revealed the document that some people claimed didn’t exist, Donald Trump and his fellow Birthers haven’t given up the fight. I’ve attempted to walk away from the Trump ridiculousness — the Birther crap that’s ignited the media again is extremely boring and, from my perspective, pretty damn insulting.

Say what you will about playing the race card (as Trump is currently doing), but it’s really hard for a black American to watch the first black president get treated like no other president before him: basically being forced to show his teeth, metaphorically speaking, and even as he does, having the rich white guy say that he needs to look and see if things actually check out.

But hey, in the good ole’ US of A, this is par for the course — the minority course.

What’s bugging me the most during this nonstop coverage of Trump-assery isn’t the idiotic nonsense that he’s saying — the latest is that he’s done a “great service” by provoking a response from Obama. It’s the questions that are not being asked or examined. Perhaps out of fear of being perceived as race-baiters, virtually no one within the mainstream media, outside of a small few, will actually point out that race is dripping from almost all of the words for which Trump has been getting coverage.

Since the rise of President Obama, there has been an embargo on calling out racial BS. Because the country is so supposedly past race, we aren’t allowed to deal with it when it comes up, unless the issue is how white men built America or how white men are having their rights taken away. Race is now the territory of a select few (the Revs. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and so on) who have yelled about race so much already that in the year 2011, people roll their eyes when they’re on TV.

Many news organizations cover Trump as if they’re covering a circus act. They give us the nod and wink and point at the crazy billionaire, but they aren’t acknowledging that they are the ones giving him the platform to spread this specialized (and racialized) commentary. His coded language may not set reporters’ hearts aflutter — outside of Fox News — but it speaks to a group of whites who, while they would never come out and say such unpopular things, sure as hell understand them.

Let’s take three of the magical Trump-isms that have hit the street in the past few weeks.