Dean Joseph Curtis Professor of Law F. Michael Higginbotham contributed an op-ed to The Baltimore Sun today (Sept. 20, 2016), “What do blacks have to lose? Let me tell you.”
Wrote Higginbotham: “The African American community stands to lose much of the progress we have made in the last 50 years if Donald Trump wins the White House, while the serious problems that we still face will calcify or worsen.”
Higginbotham noted that Trump, the GOP presidential nominee, views African Americans as an undifferentiated group; in a recent speech Trump said that African Americans are “living in poverty.”
“In reality, of course, some of us are living in poverty, some are working our way up the economic ladder, some are comfortably middle class and others are enjoying economic prosperity,” Higginbotham said.
Higginbotham also pointed out that, early in his professional real estate career, Trump had to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of blacks and Latinos who sought to rent Trump-owned properties; testimony pointed to widespread, deliberate practices designed to keep out minority renters.
Moreover, Higginbotham continued, Trump has often referred to President Barack Obama as the “affirmative action” president, implying that Obama’s admission to Harvard Law School and his election as editor-in-chief of the Harvard Law Review were not deserved.
Higginbotham also noted that Trump appointments to the Supreme Court would be devastating to civil rights advancements made over the last half century.
And, he said, Trump’s notion of “making America great again” implies a return to a time when blacks were “separated in neighborhoods, discriminated against in employment and lynched with impunity.”
Higginbotham is the author of Ghosts of Jim Crow: Ending Racism in Post-Racial America.