Michael Bloomberg would be an even greater disaster than Donald Trump for black people should he ever become president of the United States. So says Charles M. Blow, arguably the leading black newspaper columnist in the US. In a series of recent tweets and several columns stretching all the way back to 2009, Blow chronicles and condemns Bloomberg’s racist proclivities and practices in such a way that leaves no doubt whatever as to this now wannabe billionaire-president’s “animus” toward black people generally, and black men particularly.
Blow’s most cogent observation is not about Bloomberg directly, but about those people, black, white and otherwise, who support him. Blow allows that such people all to often and all too easily simply ignore, rationalize or refuse to even acknowledge black peoples’ pain. Here, he refers to Sam Donaldson, the former newsman for ABC News, who recently endorsed Bloomberg. Donaldson supports Bloomberg because, like so many others, he believes that Bloomberg has the best chance to beat Donald Trump. Without calling his name, Donaldson actually tries to rebut Charles Blow’s critique of Bloomberg here:
Blow is not alone in his opposition to Bloomberg, of course. There is also the Miami Herald’s award-winning columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr., who asks the pointed question: “Shall we vote blue if all it offers is the chance to replace a stupid racist with a smarter one?”
Pitts then makes a not-so-subtle observation about white people generally: “Still, one can’t help noting the way many white voters seem to regard racism as something that, while a character flaw, is not a deal breaker.”
Because white racism/white supremacy are so deeply ingrained in the American psyche and soul, it may seem only “natural” (and certainly forgivable, excusable, understandable) that a man like Bloomberg (or Trump) would harbor such “character flaws.” Mistreating, exploiting and abusing black people, though “unfortunate,” is taken as traditional, normal and to be expected. So, to Bloomberg enthusiasts it does not seem to matter all that much that Trump and Bloomberg represent “two sides of the same sinister [white supremacist billionaire] coin,” says Derecka Purnell, a social movement lawyer writing for The Guardian.
The “heads” side of Purnell’s coin — Trump — calls for and enforces a national Muslim ban, and an unrelenting spying regime on thousands of Muslims nationwide, but especially in New Jersey and New York. Trump’s long record of discrimination against, and even hatred of black people is well known and well documented, and thus will not be recounted here.
The “tails” side of this coin, of course, is Michael Bloomberg’s long-held belief and practice of siccing New York City cops on young black men and boys…because and only because they are young black men and boys.
Benjamin Dixon, another well regarded black writer and thinker, recently posted a now-viral and eye-and-ear-opening audio clip of Michael Bloomberg’s 2015 speech at the Aspen Institute:
95% … murderers and murder victims fit one MO. You can just take the description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops. They are male, minorities, 16 to 25. That’s true in New York, that’s true in virtually every city. And that’s where the real crime is. You’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of the people that are getting killed.
You want to spend the money on a lot of cops in the streets. Put the cops where the crime is, which means in minority neighborhoods. So one of the unintended consequences is people say, ‘Oh my God, you’re arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities!’ Yes, that’s true. Why? Because we put all the cops in minority neighborhoods. Yes, that’s true. Why we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is. And the way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the walls and frisk them. And then they start, ‘Oh, I don’t want to get caught.’ So they don’t bring the gun. They still have a gun, but they leave it at home.
Bloomberg’s racism vis-a-vis black people and the cops is apparently only the tip of a humongous iceberg. That is, his white supremacist vibes run much, much deeper than mere retrograde policing strategies. Since the release of the stop and frisk nugget, yet another video clip has surfaced of Bloomberg extolling the virtues of isolating and corralling and keeping — redlining — black people into dilapidated, under-served, crime-infested and poverty-stricken neighborhoods and enclaves, all while denying them mortgages and loans in order to “protect” white suburbia and beyond from the ravages of blackness. There, Bloomberg says out loud what the rightest of right-wing conservatives (and not a few so-called “white liberals”) have been arguing since the 2008 collapse of the US economy — it was poor and black peoples’ fault — mainly black people, to be sure, for taking out home mortgage loans which anybody with a lick sense just knew they could not afford.
And, yes, even comedian Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show, has weighed in on Bloomberg’s racism:
Thus, Bloomberg’s white racism/white supremacy is (and only until his entrance into the presidential sweepstakes) and always has been front-and-center in his thinking, in his attitude, in his beliefs, in his opinions…and in his official actions.
Bloomberg was mayor of New York from 2002 until 2013. In all of New York state from 2008–2018, people reported for murder were 26% white, 44% black and 29% unknown. And 60% of the victims were black and more than 30% were white.
Bloomberg inherited the stop and frisk “policy” from former Mayor Rudy Giuliani who now serves as Trump’s number one globe-trotting hatchet and bag man. Bloomberg promptly, eagerly, infused Giuliani’s already blatantly racist policing program with steroids, actually, literally, arguing that white people — because they are “white” — were and are simply not viewed by the police and/or the general public (read: white people) as “suspect” as are all “minority” group individuals, but especially black people. Put another way, black people as a whole are automatically suspect and must prove their innocence, while white people are looked upon as “individuals” whose whiteness shields them from blanket suspicion.
This attitude, and more importantly, this practice ignores or disavows altogether the documented facts that black boys and men are disproportionately the victims of homicides; and that jails and prisons increase violence, rather than decrease it.
And, what white people generally and Bloomberg specifically refuse to accept is that the best indicator and predictor of violence is now and always has been socio-economic advantage or disadvantage, not race.
Indeed, on the same side of Purnell’s coin, countless studies show that “violent crime rates for extremely disadvantaged white neighborhoods are more similar to rates for extremely disadvantaged black areas than to rates for other types of white neighborhoods.”
The way, then, to stop crime is not by putting ever-more cops on the streets. Rather, it is flooding these neighborhoods with community development programs, including small, medium-sized, and large businesses, jobs, and state-of-the-art schools — that is, wholesale and unbiased investment in black and poor neighborhoods.
Thus, Bloomberg’s cops-first/cops-only approach aligns nicely with Michelle Alexander’s argument in her now ten-year-old ground-breaking tome, The New Jim Crow, that,
…politicians exploit real concerns and fears about violent crime to push racially biased and punitive approaches to harass and incarcerate black people for all types of harm.
And other jurisdictions, most jurisdictions — local, state and federal — followed Giuliani’s and Bloomberg’s lead, doggedly pouring much-needed social welfare funds, resources and energy into policing and prisons in order to solve problems that do not exist.
And so, why is this happening? Stop and frisk practices, and police brutality, sui generis, against black people, provide a feel-good feeling for and confirmation of “conservative” and/or white racists’ cardinal belief that blackness itself is “criminal.”
Finally, within the last twenty-four hours, yet another damning video clip of Bloomberg has dropped. This time it documents his, public and private sexism and all-round misogyny . Other than the specific female attorneys involved in the multiple ongoing lawsuits against Bloomberg and his companies for his boorish, chauvinistic, sexist behavior, has anyone heard or read of any of the women’s movement leaders — “conservative,” liberal, or otherwise — denounce this man?
Somehow that figures, though: Racism and sexism do tend to go hand-in-hand.