On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump assumed office as the 45th President of the United States. Since then, he has made many comments that they can be construed as ignorant at best.
But his remarks made via twitter to U.S. Democratic congresswomen of color “to go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came” seems to be the height of his uncut remarks to people of color.
This statement is eerily similar to the ‘’go back to Africa” rhetoric that racist White folks in America spew to Black Americans. This is especially baffling when you consider that of the four women Trump was talking to, three were born in America.
In context, the statement may sound about right. America has a criminal record that makes it look like a nation that is broken and crime-infested, and to a large extent, this is due to people like Trump, who have established systems that end up oppressing minorities.
These systems have ended up denying minorities their fundamental human rights, with minorities ending up incarcerated, and even murdered. In the United States, there are two factions – those who are with Trump in his comments about minorities, and those who still believe that America is the land of the free.
What makes things even more baffling is the fact that there are some Black Americans who are on the same side of the divide as Trump on issues of immigration and what it has done to America. They fail to realize that Trump has an endgame, and part of that involves ridding the U.S. of folks who are not white.
It becomes a sad state when the president of what is supposed to be the land of the free can comfortably and consistently make hate speeches without repercussions.
Or will there be repercussions? The U.S. Constitution clearly spells out that harassment and discriminations based on race and gender is illegal. Under the equal protection clause of the constitution, enforced in the employment context by the U.S. Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission (EEOC), it is unlawful for an employer to treat someone unfairly based on race or color and to harass them on that same basis.
Harassment includes “racial slurs, offensive or derogatory remarks about a person’s race or color, or the display of racially offensive symbols.” It becomes illegal when it is either “so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment.”
Even a non-legal individual can tell that the tweet made by Trump was, without doubt, a “derogatory remark” on the congresswomen’s race. And given the roles played by the congresswomen and Trump in the running of the country, it has resulted in a hostile environment for the women.
The only issue left to bring a case against Trump is whether the employment context as stated in the Constitution applies.
The Judiciary, Legislature, and Executive all work together to run the country, but as Trump and the Congresswomen are both in different branches (which at best are simply interdependent), it is hard to argue that Trump is their employer. If he is not, the EEOC rules do not apply, and he can get away with his comments again.
There is a whole system of checks and balances in the governance of the United States, and this makes it hard to determine who leads whom. Congress needs the president to give assent to bills because the president has veto powers, but then they can override that, and the judiciary can override congress.
In all these speculations, one thing remains. As of today, no claims have been filed against Trump by the EEOC about his continuous racial remarks on various people of color, with his reaction towards Colin Kaepernick’s NFL battle still fresh in mind.