During the second presidential debate on Sunday night, Donald Trump made a desperate attempt to give off the impression that he was interested in the economic prosperity of the 37 million black people living in the United States by playing on the old, racist stereotype that “the African Americans” all live in the deepest, darkest inner cities where crime and violence are rampant.
“I’m going to help the African Americans. I’m going to help the Latinos, Hispanics. I am going to help the inner cities,” Trump said. “[Hillary] has done a terrible job for the African Americans.”
Later in the debate, Trump doubled down on his idea that all black people live in abject poverty in inner cities and insisted that his presidency would somehow change things.
“I will be a president for all of our people,” Trump said. “And I will be a president that will turn our inner cities around. And will give strength to people.”
Unsurprised and unfazed by Trump’s language, black people were quick to point out the many issues with associating people of color with “inner cities” in such obviously coded language.
While Trump’s rhetoric was clearly meant to act as a dog whistle to those who still buy into the idea of downtown urban areas with large black populations as being epicenters for crime and lawlessness, what Trump’s position fails to accurate convey is the fact that inner cities have become the economic engines of many major metropolitan areas.