Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ladies and gentlemen,
Donald Trump and the Blacks!

The word “the” is a powerful thing. The definite article, for all its three-letter smallness, has a way of embracing everything that follows it in one presumptive lumpen collection of the same.

This is a linguistic subtlety that’s apparently escaped Donald Trump, the self-described Smart Guy who is flirting again with a possible run for the presidency in 2012.

That lack of subtlety in the context of political constituencies was apparent in a radio interview the Donald had today on Talk Radio 1300, in Albany, N.Y. When discussing the overwhelming support that President Obama continues to enjoy among African Americans in New York state and nationally, Trump volunteered his own sense of how well he fares with those U.S. citizens. “I have a great relationship with the blacks,” he said. “I've always had a great relationship with the blacks.”

When you first hear it, the mind refuses to come to the immediate, obvious conclusion. No one could be that ethnically insensitive a decade into the 21st century. You want to give the billionaire entertainer the benefit of the doubt.

The charitable soul wants to believe that maybe the Donald was into the theater during his days at the Wharton School. Maybe his statement was just an early tribute to the author of “The Blacks,” the French playwright and novelist Jean Genet, who died in Paris 25 years ago tomorrow.

Or maybe Trump sits in with the reconvened New York improv jazz-funk band James White and the Blacks, on the weekends. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Absent those distant possibilities, it’s hard to imagine how a prospective candidate for the American presidency could be so tone-deaf to the sadly homogenizing aspects of his own world-view.

According to USA Today, a Trump spokesman said in a statement that the Donald may announce the time and place of a campaign-related press conference on the season finale of his NBC show “Celebrity Apprentice,” on May 22. At that news conference, Trump will declare “whether or not he will run for president.”

Maybe that’s when he’ll spell it all out for The American people.

Image credits: Trump: David Shankbone, republished under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license 3.0 Unported license. Genet:

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