“But I want to do things that haven’t been done, including fixing and making our inner cities better for the African-American citizens that are so great, and for the Latinos, Hispanics, and I look forward to doing it. It’s called make America great again.” – Donald Trump
“You know, I started off as a young lawyer working against discrimination against African-American children in schools and in the criminal justice system. I worked to make sure that kids with disabilities could get a public education, something that I care very much about. I have worked with Latinos — one of my first jobs in politics was down in south Texas registering Latino citizens to be able to vote. So I have a deep devotion” – Hillary Clinton
First, let's discuss Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
In 1973, at the age of 27, Donald Trump made his first of many appearances on the front pages of the New York Times. The headline read “Major Landlord Accused of Antiblack Bias in the City.” At the time, Trump’s real estate company had been accused by the Justice Department of housing discrimination.
It is worth noting here that, much to the nation’s disgrace, the Fair Housing Act outlawing such racial bias had only been passed 6 years earlier.
Throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s much New York’s Real Estate developers fought tooth and nail to ensure segregated housing and communities. Regardless of income, Black and brown would-be renters and buyers were steered away from communities such as Canarsie and Bay Ridge towards East Flatbush and other destinations designated for Black people and Latinos.
Donald Trump and his father Fred Trump were among the biggest profiteers from such practices. Donald Trump is not merely a racist but rather a billionaire segregationist who made his money in real estate.
The question of race, then, is intrinsically bound to his wealth.
In 1989, Donald Trump made it his personal mission to rally public opinion against the four Black and one Latino youth wrongly convicted of beating and raping a white jogger in New York City’s Central Park.
In 1996, he referred to Miss Universe winner Alicia Machado, who is from Venezuela, as “miss housekeeping.”
In 2011, while considering a run for the presidency, Donald Trump pushed himself to the forefront of the birther movement, making the racist – and demonstrably untrue – claim that Obama is not a U.S. citizen.
In 2015, Donald Trump began his presidential campaign by characterizing Mexicans as drug dealers and rapists. At his rallies he often stokes the crowd with chant “Mexico will pay” for the construction costs of his infamous wall that runs the length of the southern border. He has cited “Operation Wetback” – an ugly chapter in U.S. history where anyone who appeared Mexican was subject to abduction and deportation – as “humane.” He questioned the impartiality of a Mexican-American judge and cozied up to celebrity racists Joe Arpaio and Jan Brewer. His surrogates have expressed fear of Dora the Explorer and taco trucks. At a speech in Arizona, he said there could be “violent illegals” in the very room he was speaking in at the time.
During Donald Trump’s campaign, he was slow to renounce endorsements from the Klan, encouraged the assault on a Black protester and had Black students ejected from a campaign event because their mere presence was deemed a threat. He referred to an attendee as “my African American.” He has said of the black community, “when you walk down the street you get shot.” He cannot seem to stop himself from saying “the Blacks.”
His campaign has inspired an increase in hate crimes against both communities.
Black and Latino people do not need Donald Trump to protect us – we need to be protected from the barbarism of Donald Trump.
On the other hand, we have Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton’s politicization began during her youth as a young Republican and self-described “Goldwater girl,” a supporter of the failed presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater, the Arizona segregationist who opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In his campaign against Lyndon B. Johnson – also an unrepentant racist – he won only Arizona and the Deep South, two bastions of white nationalism.
In 1996, Hillary Clinton referred to Black youth as “Super-Predators” who needed to be “brought to heel.”
In 2016, she defended these comments by saying, “In that speech, I was talking about the impact violent crime and vicious drug cartels were having on communities across the country and the particular danger they posed to children and families” as if “cartel” was not also a racially-loaded term.
Speaking at the 2010 funeral for former Klan-member-turned-Senator Robert Byrd, Hillary Clinton said, “From my first day in the Senate, I sought out his guidance.”
Her husband Bill championed the North American Free Trade Agreement. At the time a Mexican politician famously asked Clinton’s trade negotiators, “Do you want our tomatoes or our tomato-pickers?” Meanwhile, Operation Gatekeeper was launched – which means the border was militarized just as the Mexican economy was being gutted.
Clinton famously ended “welfare as we know it” while investing in the most Draconian federal law enforcement legislation in the second half of the 20th century.
Glass-Steagall was repealed while Black and Latino homebuyers were swindled by unscrupulous bankers, leading to the worst global financial crash since the Great Depression.
Hillary Clinton was instrumental to the coup in Honduras, collaborated with sweatshop owners to keep wages low in Haiti, and said of Central American refugees–a great many of them produced by her and her husband’s policies–“they should be sent back.”
As is the case with her Republican counterpart, Black and Latino people do not need help from Hillary Clinton.
We need to defend ourselves from her.
Matt Sedillo is a poet, worker and artist living in Los Angeles. A two-time national slam poet, grand slam champion of the Damn Slam Los Angeles 2011 and the author of For What I Might Do Tomorrow published by Caza De Poesia 2010. His poetry has been published in anthologies alongside the likes of such literary giants as Amiri Baraka, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jack Hircshman and Luis Rodriguez.