Let’s presume Donald Trump represents all white people.
Sorry then, but if you are white, you belong to a race that is crass and vulgar and rich and hateful and ignorant and selfish and racist and bigoted and uncivilized and dishonest and morally corrupt, and that contributes nothing but divisiveness within our society and always will.
That makes all whites Trumpists.
Granted this judgment is based on the actions of one man, who is white like you. So each and every white person encountered in America - regardless of individual traits and accomplishments - should be presumed to embody the character of Trump and be treated accordingly.
Is this a fair thing to do - base an entire race on one man? Well, suppose we break out the statistics showing millions of Trump supporters who obviously feel and believe the same as he? Does that negate the millions of whites who do not? Why should we not judge the majority of “good” whites based on the minority of “bad” whites?
And despite the many examples in which whites are not Trumpists, if I continue to sing this same refrain, what would you say?
OK, relax. Settle down. Chill out.
I am merely flipping back what a white reader emailed to me recently to explain why he does not care about the lives of black folks.
“Maybe when your race, a small percentage of the population, stops committing a majority of our crime, we’ll listen,” he said, adding that he grieved for the dead cops in Dallas but not the thugs killed by cops.
I asked if I were killed by police, would I be a thug, which is another way of my asking if black equals thug.
He did not respond to that. But he did say he always treated and considered blacks his equals, but his views changed after seeing a video of a black person beating a white person. He said many other whites he knows feel the same.
I get it that statistics show that my race accounts for a disproportionate amount of violent crime in America, most of it against fellow blacks. Why that is, I do not know. What I do know is that it is not a biological trait, for neither my parents, their parents, my children nor I and most other blacks I know have demonstrated this behavior.
I also get it that in many ways we all represent more than who we are as individuals. We represent our family, neighbors, school, hometown, state, nation, race, gender, religion, profession. But to what degree?
I chafe at the notion that I am responsible for other black people’s bad behavior but whites are not responsible other whites’ bad behavior. That whatever poor treatment I receive in society is justified because of the bad that some other black persons may have done.
The email writer’s final words were: “Sorry but you’re part of the race that has not and is not contributing to our society and never will.”
Seriously? I thought about Crispus Attucks, a black man who was the first to die in the American revolution. The black inventor Garrett Morgan who created the gas mask and traffic signals. I could go on.
As I listened to first lady Michelle Obama’s speech on the opening night of the Democratic convention, I wondered what my reader would say about her contributions and those of President Barack Obama.
She and the president have done nothing but display class and poise during their entire years in the White House. They have provided a positive role model for all Americans. Yet, I would doubt my reader speaks highly of them. I would venture he speaks highly of Trump.
Can you imagine if Obama conducted himself like Trump? Can you imagine if any black candidates conducted themselves like Trump?
As the latest publicized shooting of an unarmed black man shows - the black therapist flat on his back with his hands in the air - it really doesn’t matter what blacks do. Those who hate or otherwise despise black people will find a reason to justify their attitude and behavior.
They can’t help themselves.
Frank Harris III of Hamden, Conn., is a professor of journalism at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven.