Trump’s Fixation on Rape and Color

Real estate and entertainment mogul Donald Trump has soared to the top tier of Republican presidential candidates after a rant about Mexican immigrant “rapists” not the first time that Trump has mixed the explosive topics of rape and color, leading Jeff Cohen to ask if Trump is a “serial racist.”

By Jeff Cohen

It’s easy to laugh off Donald Trump’s fact-free comments about Mexican immigrants being rapists. And easy to poke fun, as Jon Stewart did, at Trump’s grudging admission that some Mexican immigrants might be “good people.”

But there is a serious issue here, and mainstream media interviewers have neglected to ask Trump about it and that’s Trump’s history of pointing the finger of rape at innocent men of color. I’m talking about his high-profile effort years ago that fanned racial tensions after perhaps the most notorious rape in New York City’s history.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump

In 1989, a white, female investment banker was viciously raped and nearly murdered while jogging in Central Park. Police quickly pinned the crime on five Black and Latino youths, aged 14 to 16, after extracting rape confessions (soon to be retracted). Mainstream media piled on behind the police abandoning usual hedge words of “accused” or “alleged” by referring to the accused rapists as a “wolf pack” and “park marauders.”

A racially-charged lynch mob had formed, and real estate mogul Donald Trump used his money to try to lead the mob. A dozen days after the attack, as the 100-pound rape survivor emerged from a coma, Donald Trump bought a full-page ad in all four New York dailies with the banner headline:  “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY. BRING BACK OUR POLICE!”

Trump’s ad spoke of “roving bands of wild criminals” who “roam our neighborhoods”; it decried a “permissive atmosphere which allows criminals of every age to beat and rape a helpless woman and then laugh . . .”

The ad blamed civil liberties concerns for permissiveness and, ultimately, the Central Park rape: “Criminals must be told that their CIVIL LIBERTIES END WHEN AN ATTACK ON OUR SAFETY BEGINS” [capitalization in the original]. Trump called for killers to be “executed for their crimes.”

We know now after the five convicted Harlem youths had collectively served more than 40 years in prison for the crime that they had not raped anyone. Sarah and Ken Burns’ documentary, “The Central Park Five,” shows that the wrongful imprisonment resulted partly from police/prosecutorial misconduct and an abridging of the youths’ civil liberties.

Needless to say, if the youths whose alleged crime sparked Trump’s ad had been put to death, we would have had five more men of color innocently executed in our country. Thirteen years after the Central Park rape and Donald Trump’s full-page ad, it became clear thanks to a jailhouse confession confirmed by DNA testing that the culprit, acting alone, had been a convicted serial rapist.

A question journalists might pose to candidate Trump today, especially when he’s discussing the issue of rape: “Mr. Trump, are you a serial racist?”

Raymond Santana, who was 14 at the time of the Central Park rape and wrongfully served seven years in prison for it, is unlikely to get the apology he seeks from Trump for helping to fuel the frenzy: “It says a lot about [Trump’s] character,” said Santana. “If he can give the death penalty to 14-year-old, 15-year-old kids, then there’s nothing he would not do. Those are characteristics of a tyrant, not characteristics of a president.”

Jeff Cohen is director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, where he is an associate professor of journalism. He founded the progressive media watch group FAIR in 1986.

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15 comments for “Trump’s Fixation on Rape and Color

  1. hammersmith
    July 10, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    Yes, white men are always raping black and brown women. It is in the news every day.

  2. dahoit
    July 8, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    Trump unfortunately is terrible on most other issues facing America,but he was right about illegal immigration,probably to draw attention.

  3. idiotland
    July 7, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    He’s just a malignant narcissist on another ego trip. Mark my words, in a few months he’ll withdraw whether he’s ahead or not. That being said, he’s no better or worse than anybody else running.

  4. dahoit
    July 5, 2015 at 11:20 am

    Please,although Trump is not my guy,his comments were very accurate and Americans agree wholeheartedly on the need to end open borders.Only dual citizen Zionists and their lackeys love it,as it divides US further,and has made US impotent to finding the real solution to our international madness.
    Screw this crap!

    • Mary Tracy
      July 5, 2015 at 3:12 pm

      Another Klansman speaks … lol

      • dahoit
        July 8, 2015 at 12:56 pm

        Israelis love the KKK,and I don’t.
        Are you denying that the Zionist MSM has consistently backed illegal immigration,immigration they build walls to stop in Zion?
        Denying that the MSM backs every trade steal and bankster bailout that sends more and more illegals over the border,which has destroyed their home nations?
        Are you saying its doctors,scientists and lawyers(uhgg)climbing the fences?I have nothing against the peoples of Latin America,they are nicer than Americans usually,and work hard,but they take jobs from our citizens and lower standards and pay,and are sometimes captives of their employers by being illegal.
        Look in the mirror Ms.Tracy,you’ll see the KKK,hypocrite.Its possible the mirror will be blank.

    • bobzz
      July 5, 2015 at 5:08 pm

      Why does it never dawn on people to look at the causes of this mass migration? Thanks to Depublicrat, Bill Clinton, NAFTA has driven 2 million farmers and their families off the farms because they cannot compete with US “big farma” that has undercut them on the price of their agricultural products. The Mexican government removed price supports for their own farmers, and that works against them. (NAFTA has cost American jobs too, and just watch what TPP will do for the American worker—thanks to Depublicrat Obama.)
      Americans have an insatiable drug habit. Drug gangs’ weapons of choice (and easy availability thanks to our lax gun laws) account for 80% of the thousands of deaths linked to the drug wars. (I know: guns don’t kill; people do, but guns sure as heck make killers more effective.) Of the forty most dangerous cities in the world a good 90% are in Central and South America due to the drug trafficking. Are there some bad apples among Mexicans (like everywhere else)? Of course, but the majority are looking to get out of a bad situation not of their own making, but we prefer to demonize the desperate. If I lived South in one of those violent neighborhoods, I’d get out too and take my kids with me if I could. Why else would these folks pay coyotes thousands of dollars they would rather spend some other way to get out of Dodge?

      • Jay
        July 6, 2015 at 10:59 am

        Drugs existed, and came into the US from south of the Mexican border long before NAFTA.

        The problem remains that Trump is lying, and is a racist. And this is separate from anything that may have worsened in Mexico over the last 20 years.

        The point has been made by Digby at Salon weeks ago, Trump isn’t really saying anything that republicans haven’t been saying for years. They’re mostly nativist Dixiecrats–with a special interest in defending the ill gotten gains of Trump.

        • bobzz
          July 7, 2015 at 12:25 am

          Drugs and NAFTA are separate problems, so the timing is not relevant. That said I would like to see a study that affirmed or denied whether more people became involved in the drug trade after they were forced to leave the farms.

      • smokey18
        July 6, 2015 at 3:56 pm

        They pay , so that they can murder, rob, & rape 70,000 Americans since the year 2000.40% of all federal inmates in prison are illegals. If you can live with that , you belong in a mental institute.

        • chollie
          July 6, 2015 at 9:43 pm

          Sorry but your statistics are wrong. The actual number of Hispanics, which also includes Puerto Ricans as well as other nationalities from Central and South America, is 22%. This number comes from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics. To recap, no, 40% of all federal inmates are not “illegals.” Like Mark Twain used to say “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.” At the very least, you not telling the truth. Pathological? Hard to say. You might want to take a moment and give thought to your own state of mental health.

        • bobzz
          July 7, 2015 at 12:36 am

          Not buying that. They could stay in Mexico and do that for free. Based on Chollie’s rebuttal of your 40% stat, you need to verify the 70,000 number. As of now your numbers seems exaggerated based on ideology.

        • zman
          July 11, 2015 at 3:25 pm

          More non-factual stats. Do you know of anyone that has tried to emigrate here from Mexico? Well, I do. My brother married a Mexican national and it took 3 years and over $5,000 to get her and her 2 previous children into the US. The laws are set up to force illegal emigration. As far as who is to blame for the ‘sea of illegals’, all one has to do is look at their employers…US business men. No matter how many come here, for whatever reasons…if there was NO job market, they would not be here. Ask wonderful people like Bill Gates, who brings in thousands of H1B visa holders every year, under the BS excuse that there are not enough Americans with the skills he needs. It doesn’t take 3 years for him to get an Indian or Pakistani here. What Gates really means is that after he brings in emigrants and educates them, they work for nothing, comparatively speaking…which of course is the goal. The ‘massive’ amount of illegals perform a service too, they bring down the labor pay rate. Who benefits from that? All this is accomplished by the complicity of CONgress…and it doesn’t matter the side of the aisle these liars are from, as if there is a difference. They just use different lies…and since some here are sure to blame the Democons and Obama entirely, look back to the 80s and see who was the first to give illegals amnesty and the promise they made to get it passed, the very same ‘party’ that is so outraged by it all. They didn’t keep their word then and they damn sure aren’t going to now. What did Bushco do to stem the tide? Don’t even get me started on the CIA/drugs/weapons crap.

      • dahoit
        July 8, 2015 at 12:58 pm

        Well most drugs today are made in the USA by big pharma,and marijuana is mostly domestic today,although heroin and cocaine haven’t crossed into domestic production,at least not yet.

    • Aman
      July 5, 2015 at 6:53 pm

      The US has displaced millions in the Mid-East as directed by Israel’s plans. In the Americas millions again have been robbed of their rights to farmland as US actions have transferred farming rights from the native people’s to multinational corporations.

      These US actions consequently took the lives of millions, directly and indirectly, as well.

      It is ironic that so many around the world are fleeing the results of US actions in their own country, and attempting to find work and a better life by migrating to the country responsible for their displacement.

      It should be obvious that the US itself is the larger part of the problem here as well as the originator.

      Over the last four decades cheap labor entered the US aided by policy that was designed to boost corporate profits; while simultaneously politicians made what was a token acknowledgement of the American workers complaints regarding their own subsequent displacement from jobs and livelihoods right here within the USA — ironically again, displaced from their livlihoods just like many of those coming here from Central and South America fleeing US actions there.

      Hail the modern corporate and special interests (Israel) for whom everyone else must make way.

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