Why Donald Trump Is Being So Bad To Puerto Rico

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Visiting Arkansas, hanging around briefly with some people in the Real Estate business, I found a lot of hatred of Mexicans, whom they unimaginatively referred to as “spics” but making it clear they were talking about Mexicans, not some other spics. Sitting with a group of people talking about racism in an urban neighborhood in near Minneapolis, I found zero mention of dislike between whites per se and blacks per se. But Poles and Tibetans, they were very much disliked by people who were mostly but not all white. Years ago I remember being shocked by a fellow anthropologist who expressed a hatred of Cubans. This hatred stemmed from the death of a friend, gunned down by a Cuban criminal, who was in the US because of Mariel, in the Milwaukee area, a significant ultimate destination for Cuban refugees at that time. Where I grew up, all the white people sorted out and looked down upon each other by closely defined European ethnicity, and all the white people feared and distrusted all the black people, and there was one Japanese guy. But, we knew about, were told about, Puerto Ricans. That was in upstate New York, and New York City had a lot of Puerto Ricans, to the extent that as a child I thought Puerto Rico was an island just a few miles off New York City (because I was told that, don’t know why). White New Yorkers historically disdain Puerto Ricans because people from Puerto Rico represent one of the largest Hispanic groups in that area, or at least, did for many decades, while certain people were growing up and doing business.

It is not true that racism is random, arbitrary, or non deterministic. It is not build in, it is not always the same. Racism emerges with a strong historical context and different racisms look different for discernible reasons. American racism is special in its own way, with its own history, not the same as other racism, and there is an interesting characteristic to it. Most everybody who is white dislikes, distrusts, or disdains, the people of color, mainly African Americans. Recent immigrants of any ethnicity or geographic origins are generally disdained. That is all expected. But, since The Americas are a complex web of mostly Hispanic cultures with diverse and sometimes very complicated histories (Who knew history was so complicated? Nobody knew!) that part of American racism tends to have very specific parameters. Arkansas landowners rent to Mexican migrants. Minnesota city dwellers have a long menu of immigrants from diverse places across Eurasia and Africa, and multiple New World countries. It is a good thing Minnesota has a good educational system, because racists here have to know a LOT just to know whom to disdain. My Anthro colleague was from the Milwaukee area, where anti-Cuban sentiment had festered. If you were not from a Mariel recipient area, or near the mysterious Puerto Rican Islands of New York Harbor, or a Landlord to the Mexicans, you might not know much, or care much, about those specific groups. In short, white anti-other feelings are not uniform or consistent, and vary with the place the particular white person grew up and the particular way history has shaped their hatred.

All this is a long way of saying that Donald Trump hates Puerto Ricans because he is a white dude from Queens of a certain age, who was involved in real estaate, and also most would say, a white supremacist. I’m not sure if the rest of the country, outside of New York, is quite seeing this or understanding it. A hurricane during a Trump administration could happen anywhere other than Puerto Rico, and Trump would respond less disdainfully and stupidly. A hurricane hitting Puerto Rico during the Trump administration is not so much of a disaster in Donald Trump’s eyes. It isn’t just that Trump likes other people better, or is getting Puerto Rico wrong. No. Trump is a pretty right wing privileged real-estate connected white guy from Queens. Dollars to donuts says he likes that a hurricane hit Puerto Rico. Keep that in mind while listening to what he says and watching his body language. It will all make sense, in a sick and demented sort of way, if you do.

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19 thoughts on “Why Donald Trump Is Being So Bad To Puerto Rico

  1. Supporting data point: In Texas FEMA authorized use of every disaster response method it had by day 10 of their situation. That hasn’t been done yet for Puerto Rico. That authorization was expedited for Texas: it wasn’t for Puerto Rico.

  2. “All this is a long way of saying that Donald Trump hates Puerto Ricans because he is a white dude from Queens of a certain age, who was involved in real estate, and also most would say, a white supremacist.”

    Some would go even further and point out that Trump is arguably an outright fascist neo-nazi and Klan supporter based on his Charlottesville comments and personal and family history which includes a father who was arrested for being a member of the KKK.

    Those “some people” would include me.

  3. PS. Source for the above (among other sources) :


    On Memorial Day in 1927, the Ku Klux Klan marched in Queens to protest that “Native-born Protestant Americans” were being “assaulted by Roman Catholic police of New York City”.[15] Fred Trump was one of seven men who were arrested that day “on a charge of refusing to disperse from a parade when ordered to do so.”[15] In 2016, Vice magazine reported on their investigation of earlier newspaper clippings and found that Trump was the only person arrested who was not charged with any crime, leading them to conclude that he could have been a bystander; they also speculated that Trump may have been a member of the KKK, which had gone through a revival in urban areas after 1915.[16] All seven men arrested however were declared to be wearing Klan attire according to several sources cited in the Vice article. When asked about the issue in September 2015 by The New York Times, Donald Trump, then a candidate for presidency of the United States, denied that his father had been arrested, or that he had been in the KKK.

    I don’t believe Trump’s denial here one little bit given hisrecord of dishonesty especially when his self-interest is at stake.

    From the same source :

    An early Village Voice article by Wayne Barrett in 1979 cited court records from the case and reported that a TO rental agent indicated he had been given instructions by Fred Trump “not to rent to blacks” and to “decrease the number of black tenants” by encouraging their relocation to other housing.

    The USA may indeed have its own special form(s) of racism, (my nation of Australia has too and individually we almost certainly all do) but even for the USA and even for others with that upbringing and New York-centric set of beliefs regarding Puerto Ricans, Trump is particularly blatantly racist.

  4. “Dollars to donuts says he likes that a hurricane hit Puerto Rico. Keep that in mind while listening to what he says and watching his body language.”

    Could very well be. But he’s such a pathological narcissist, lacking a trace of human empathy, that it would be hard to single out his treatment of Puerto Rico from anyone or anything else he’s disdained. The only tragedy, in his eyes, are slights and injuries to one Donald J. Trump.

  5. Trump reminds me of Jabba the Hutt

    Donald Trump has heaped praise on his administration’s response to Hurricane Maria, said Puerto Rico’s leaders should be “very proud” of the low official death toll – and appeared to complain at the cost of the recovery effort.

    His administration having worked wonders for the old people of Puert Rico

    When the volunteers reached the second-floor landing at Las Teresas, a retirement community on the outskirts of San Juan, they found an elderly man in wheelchair sitting alone in the dark.

    He was a double amputee and was clearly in a bad state. It wasn’t clear how long the man had gone without food, but he sucked ravenously at a nutritional shake he was offered while a doctor started to examine him.

    Their SOS calls clearly have no effect on the Hocus-POTUS SoS!

  6. I would expect a lot more USA respect for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Their citizens are as American as the citizens of recognised states of the USA. Their citizens work and fight for the USA. The people have USA citizenship. They are part of the USA, so they have to be recognized as independent States of the USA and they are entitled to get all possible help of the USA. Excluding these Americans from the best possible help is inhuman and too crazy for words. Stop discrimination and give every support possible.

  7. StevoF, some of the people who were protesting the KKK in Charlottesville were arrested. Would you call them KKK members or sympathizers based on their arrest at a KKK rally?

  8. No mikeN, the fact that they were arrested protesting against the scummy Trump supporters tells us they were not sympathizing with them.

  9. Just think of all his “friends: who are going to make billions off of the rebuilding of PR – disaster capitalism at work made all the more attractive to Trump because he is a racist – if you’re not white you are less than nothing to him. Something to be used.

  10. @#6, half of mainland Americans don’t even know Puerto Ricans are American citizens, and even fewer would know that about the U.S. Virgin Islands.

  11. slavdude#6, Having been a New Mexican for eleven years, I learned that more than half of the residents of the US think New Mexico is a foreign country. You discover this when you try to cash a check, and they tell you they won’t take a foreign check. I imagine PR is even more obscure.

  12. There’s little question that Puerto Rico has been badly managed for decades. (That is not to say I know who is responsible. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn it was off-island managers.)

    Tonight’s Nightly Business Report gave us these numbers for Puerto Rico’s energy system:

    Avg. age of plant *** PR — 44yrs | US — 18yrs
    Plants oil-fired *** PR — 47% | US — 0.6%

    Certainly the damage done by Hurricane Maria must be repaired ASAP without quibbling over the cost. But some have suggested this is an opportunity to rebuild PR as a clean energy showplace, and the numbers above lend weight to that argument IMO.

  13. Navigating the intersection between content and skills truly requires teachers to be designers of their curriculum, to have autonomy to rethink what teaching and learning can look like in their classroom, coupled with the support to take up this work. This will require a collective effort from teacher education programs, professional development opportunities and support structures that allow teachers to collaboratively tackle these challenges

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