President Trump’s recent repeal of the Obama-Biden era Housing and Urban Development quota and promise to keep suburban crime under control is drawing a flurry of outrage from the mainstream media. The Guardian warned Trump is stoking “racial fears with an appeal to white suburban voters”, the New York Times accused Trump of, “playing on racist fears of terrorized suburbs to court white voters”, and MSNBC determined Trump is locked in a “racist pitch for the suburbs.”
Ironically, the way the mainstream media insists on covering Trump’s appeal to suburban voters rests on flawed assumptions that are themselves steeped in racism. Despite what the mainstream media would like voters to believe, President Trump’s removal of forced federal housing quotas and focus on crime reduction are not exclusively of interest to white Americans. First, let’s revisit the HUD rule in question that President Trump is taking so much flack for rolling back. The HUD rule’s intent is not to ban discrimination in the suburbs, but to penalize communities for failing to meet federal race quotas.
Under the rule, the federal government is empowered to penalize local communities and towns for failing to meet racial quotas, even when there is no proof of segregation. Because the rule defines segregation as simply a “high concentration of persons of a particular race” or “religion” – see 78 Fed. Reg. 43709, 43730 – it makes the unfounded assumption that clustered communities are overtly discriminatory. Not only does the rule fail to recognize that communities form and morph over time based on the choices of individuals, but it is unprecedented and unconstitutional.
Hans Bader, a former senior attorney at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, pointed out in 2015 when team Obama-Biden forced through the changes, that concentration of a group itself is not proof of discrimination. He also noted that the new HUD interpretation undermines the 1964 Civil Rights Act and ignores the Supreme Court ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas (2013) that states “racial balancing” is “patently unconstitutional.”
Second, as many critics of Trump’s recent attention to the suburbs have pointed out, the suburbs are diversifying. More Black and Hispanic middle-class families are moving into suburban areas as upward mobility allows them to do so. It is within the realm of reason that at least some of these Black and Hispanic suburbanites might, conceivably, have an interest in crime reduction in their communities. The assumption that discussions on lowering crime are somehow racist is not only absurd but extremely revealing about the beliefs of the far left. The reality is that lowering crime is of utmost important to minorities. The Pew Research Center found that Black Americans express more concern about crime, with three-quarters of Blacks compared to 46% of whites stating violent crime is a very big problem. Pew also found that Black Americans are more likely to see crime as a serious problem in their own communities, as opposed to broadly. In a Pew survey from 2018 survey, 38% of Black Americans versus vs. 17% of whites said crime is an issue locally.
What’s more, Market Research Foundation pointed out last month that Trump’s tough-on-crime stance in the wake of this spring’s riots and looting actually raised his approval rating with Hispanic and Black Americans. YouGov polling from May before the chaos ensued showed President Trump’s approval rating at 39% among Hispanics, and 12% among Blacks. Later polling taken as the riots escalated showed his approval rating rose with Hispanics to 42% and with African Americans to 18%, as shown below.
The idea that an anti-crime message in the diversifying suburbs is racist is as absurd at it is unsettling. The reality is President Trump is making a play for the suburbs with an anti-crime pitch, and rolling back an unconstitutional Obama-Biden era law that stripped local communities of their rights. The relentless spin-masters in the mainstream media are exposing their own covert racism when claiming President Trump’s anti-crime pitch to the suburbs is somehow racist. This may come as a surprise to them, but Hispanic and Black Americans living in suburban areas may also take an interest in lower crime and local empowerment.