Last week, an American political leader used race explicitly in an effort to win a policy debate over immigration. It was not President Donald Trump, whose alleged reference to “shithole countries” was, at worst, racist by inference.
(He allegedly compared immigrants from Norway and Africa to argue for a merit-based immigration system, which was spun by critics as an attempt to draw racial distinctions. He had met Norway’s prime minister the day before.)
Rather, the explicit reference to race came from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who told her weekly news conference that the people negotiating about a deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program were “five white guys.”
Pelosi’s exact words were: “The five white guys I call them, you know,” adding: “Are they going to open a hamburger stand next or what?”
Her racist remarks were met with very little resistance.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) later told Politico: “That comment is offensive.” But Pelosi’s office retorted that she “has made similar comments during meetings with both [Hoyer and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)] this week, without complaints.”
And, no doubt, she has. Because when Democrats use racism to drive their political agenda, it is not only tolerated, but encouraged. They are presumed to have the broader public interest in mind.
We also have a different standard for judging racism against whites. George Yancy writes in Monday’s New York Times: “Let’s come clean: President Trump is a white racist!” (original emphasis).
Somehow Yancy and the Times felt that the word “white” was necessary, and repeated the phrase “white racism,” as though Trump’s race somehow needed emphasis, as if the irony of identifying racism in a specifically racial way had completely escaped them.
Trump’s opponents needed no further proof that he is a racist: they presumed he was already, based on the fact that all Republican leaders are presumed to be so, and based on specific statements he had made during the presidential campaign about Muslim immigrants and a judge with “Mexican heritage.”
Neither of those controversies had to do with race, specifically — and in fact there is much evidence that Trump is not a racist, but his critics are not interested.
Durbin knew exactly what he was doing when he leaked, or distorted, the president’s remarks. He was confirming Trump’s image in the minds of his critics, mobilizing forces of fear and division — such that a black librarian could tell the Los Angeles Times on Sunday that Trump would “love to take us back all the way to slavery.”
For the left, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is not about its hero, but about a new villain. They are incapable of looking within.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.