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Opinion: Dear 'Liberal' Media, Racists Change Tactics, Not Positions

In the talk of Trump "flip-flopping" on immigration, there is hardly any talk of how that's dehumanizing to Latinos.
Donald Trump
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers a campaign speech in Charlotte, N.C. Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016.Gerald Herbert / AP

One of the many ways the so-called liberal media demonstrates how a lack of diversity in the newsroom dehumanizes minorities is in the discussion over immigrants. Trump’s recent remarks about his immigration positions have been labeled a “flip-flop” by most of the media.

This not only infantilizes the change as a harmless political choice, but the discussion also positions the target of the change - the millions of human beings who must manage their daily lives in a perpetual state of uncertainty - as a mere consequence of the media’s storyline.

Almost forgotten is that Trump and his voters once held a Roman-style “thumbs up or thumbs down” straw poll on whether or not to deport undocumented immigrants, many who have been in the United States for more than 20 years. These people do not see immigrants as human beings, and they certainly do not identify with immigrant stories as anyone with even the slightest sense of humanity would.

Trump’s change is one of tactics, not of a position. Trump is a racist, that is his position. It is who he is. Racism underlies his political campaign and direction, it's his world view and it's how he elbowed his way through the GOP primaries. The kindest thing that can be said about his supporters is that they are willing to tolerate racism in pursuit of some vision of America in the past that was, whether they acknowledge it or not, fundamentally more racist in every measurable way to today.

RELATED: Analysis: Latino Experts See More Race-Baiting in Trump 'Flip-Flop

It won’t matter what his stance on immigration is, because his ardent supporters aren’t supporting a set of policies. They are supporting a racist and they are sure that whatever policy changes Trump embraces is in pursuit of a world in which racism advances, perhaps slower, but advances nonetheless.

Hillary Clinton called Trump out on his position in a recent speech in which she pointed out the long record of anti-semitism, racism, and misogyny that tends to follow Donald Trump's message.

RELATED: Partisan Divide Blurs Americans' Support for Balanced Immigration Reform

"This is someone who retweets white supremacists online," said Clinton. But even so, Clinton worked to distance these views from American history, in which she said, "Everywhere I go, people tell me how concerned they are by the divisive rhetoric coming from my opponent in this election. It’s like nothing we’ve heard before from a nominee for president of the United States."

Trump's remarks and rhetoric may be in a class by themselves, especially compared to other recent presidential candidates. But this should not mean that racist rhetoric by American politicians is somehow unprecedented. That would be a fundamentally misleading view of American history.

Trump changed tactics, not position. His position is racism.

The general lack of diversity, even in the "liberal" media, continues to serve simply to reaffirm the underlying power that has been the engine of Trump’s racist campaign. The media has largely focused on the incivility of how Trump delivers his racism, not the racism itself.

For instance, the media’s portrayal of Trump’s slandering of Judge Gonzalo Curiel was for the brashness of Trump’s assertion that Curiel’s ethnic background made him biased. But the media never really delved into the underlying implication by Trump that neutrality could only be owned by the experiences of a white man.

Of course this shouldn’t be surprising, since the media also measures bias against the assumption that in white masculinity rests the definition of being non-biased. This was particularly evident when the media touted President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court pick of a white male, Merrick Garland, as a “non-political” or "safe" choice.

RELATED: 'Bigotry': Trump's Escalating Attacks on Judge Rile Latino Legal Experts

In all the talk about Trump's immigration flip-flop, there is little focus on the fallout from Trump's racist campaign and the fact that Hispanics have been used as campaign fodder. Remember Trump's comments, "Some, I assume are good people," when he spoke of Mexican and immigrant rapists and criminals? So are they "good people" now?

What about the Latino kids who have been told by classmates that when Trump is elected they'll be shipped back to Mexico?

Any wonder why so many Republican Hispanics have been disgusted and turned their backs on Trump?

Latino voters see through the immigration "flip-flops" and see it as racist political expediency.

But until the predominantly white liberal media diversifies the experiences underlying those reporting the news - no matter how liberal it views itself - the forces that gave us Trump will continue to rot the soul of our nation at great cost to the least powerful members of the large and diverse community we call a country.

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