The Intercept - July 19, 2019
Donald Trump has a rich, varied history of racism, bigotry, and discrimination going back to at least 1973, when the Justice Department filed a racial bias suit against him for mistreating Black applicants and tenants all over New York. At the time, it was one of the largest lawsuits of its kind. That was 46 years ago. Since then, the list of offenses has piled up. In a better time, his racist behavior would have prevented him from ever being elected, but here we are. He’s president and now he’s openly carrying that bigotry right into the Oval Office. Not only do I think he is violating his oath of office — I think his open, flagrant bigotry is an impeachable offense.
In the days when Trump was busy tempting the front pages of tabloids in between guest appearances on professional wrestling pay-per-view shows, his racism, misogyny, and even open accusations of sexual assault and harassment were frequently dismissed by the general public with a wink and a nod. An equal mix of wealth, white privilege, and the public’s obsession with celebrities that allowed him to ride above it all. But now he’s president of the United States, not just an NBC employee with a bad reality TV show where not a single “Apprentice” ever developed into an actual meaningful employee. And he is, in theory, subjected to the Constitution and all of the laws governing the presidency. But the thing is, somebody actually has to enforce them.
Do you know the difference between implicit bias and explicit bias? I need to explain it for what I’m about to say to really make sense. Across the country, corporations and government agencies, including police departments, are offering a wave of what’s called “implicit bias training.” The fundamental theory is that, in this country, otherwise well-meaning employees can be racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, or xenophobic in ways that they may not really even be aware of. It’s the notion that people unknowingly or unconsciously discriminate against others. Racial slurs might not be used, but the resulting bias and discrimination are real and painful. It’s about preferences and promotions, and who’s punished and who’s spared. I’m not saying I buy it; I’m telling you that’s what implicit bias is. Implicit bias training is designed to teach people how they may be advancing systemic oppression without being fully aware.
Why don’t corporations and agencies have training for explicit bias? The answer is simple: Explicit bias literally violates thousands of laws, codes, and policies across the country. When you are an open bigot on your job, the standard operating procedure is that you don’t need training, you need to be fired. That’s because bigotry is dangerous. It’s dangerous to have a racist doctor or nurse. It’s dangerous to have an openly bigoted police officer. That’s why responsible prosecutors are now ignoring cases from police officers found to have been openly bigoted on social media — because it’s impossible to trust a person’s judgment and credibility, especially about people different than them, when they publicly admit to hating those people. All over the country, people are routinely fired for explicit bias. As they should be.
If this past week has taught us anything at all, it has taught us that Trump is not implicitly biased. To tell four sitting congresswomen of color that they should “go back” to where they came from is so overtly bigoted that an almost identical phrase is listed on Trump’s own government website for the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:
Ethnic slurs and other verbal or physical conduct because of nationality are illegal if they are severe or pervasive and create an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment, interfere with work performance, or negatively affect job opportunities. Examples of potentially unlawful conduct include insults, taunting, or ethnic epithets, such as making fun of a person’s foreign accent or comments like, ‘Go back to where you came from,’ whether made by supervisors or by co-workers.
Can we pause there for a moment? The United States government literally specifies the very phrase that Trump just uttered as a prime example of unlawful workplace misconduct. ...
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