As the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, Trump said he wants to disqualify the federal judge overseeing the Trump University case because of his "Mexican heritage" and membership in a Latino lawyers association:
Mr. Trump said U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel had "an absolute conflict" in presiding over the litigation given that he was "of Mexican heritage" and a member of a Latino lawyers' association. Mr. Trump said the background of the judge, who was born in Indiana to Mexican immigrants, was relevant because of his campaign stance against illegal immigration and his pledge to seal the southern U.S. border. "I'm building a wall. It's an inherent conflict of interest," Mr. Trump said.
This is pure racism. There's no subtlety, no dog whistle, no coded language.
Somehow this isn't too surprising. Trump is, after all, the presidential candidate who launched his campaign by calling Mexican immigrants criminals and "rapists," and he proposed banning all Muslims from entering the US.
And with this latest remark, Trump is just turning the thinly veiled subtext into text. He had already previously brought up Curiel's Mexican heritage, suggesting that there was a conflict of interest because of it but not saying it quite so explicitly.
Reading this, it's hard for me, a Hispanic American, to avoid feeling a little personally insulted. This suggests that Trump would probably dismiss my opinion — indeed, this article — because of my name. Yet millions of Americans — and a major political party — want him to be president, despite his clear racism.
Maybe the media plays a role here. After all, instead of calling it like it is, CBS News, MSNBC, the Washington Post, and the New York Times have called Trump's comments about Curiel "racially charged" and "racially tinged," the weasel words the media typically uses to describe racism. It makes one wonder: What would it take for them to finally call Trump or his remarks just plainly racist? If claiming a qualified, vetted judge shouldn't be able to do his job because of his race and ethnicity isn't racist, then what the hell is?
Donald Trump’s personal, racially tinged attacks on federal judge alarm legal experts https://t.co/Q4RDlA8KWC— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) June 2, 2016
Perhaps the problem is Hispanic people are vastly underrepresented in media. As the journalism organization ASNE found, racial minorities make up less than 13 percent of the field — despite making up about 38 percent of the total US population. That might make it harder for a lot of journalists to see just how racist Trump's remarks are.
If that's the case, maybe it would be helpful for the predominant white journalists in the field to consider: If President Barack Obama or President Marco Rubio said all white people should be banned from acting as judge in a court case against him, would that be considered racist? And how is that any different from what Trump is doing?
There should be no doubt about it now: Donald Trump is racist. He wants to exclude people from government jobs because of their race and ethnicity. That is the literal definition of racism. The media shouldn't shy away from pointing that out, and the people supporting Trump should know that's exactly what they're supporting.