Trump promised to solve the problems Black Americans face living in “ghettos” on Thursday at a rally in Toledo, Ohio.
The Republican nominee, stumbling over his words at some points, said to the crowd:
“And we’re gonna work on our g-ghettos, our — and so, you take a look at what’s going on, where you have pockets of, of, areas of land, where you have the inner cities, and you have so many things, so many problems. So many horrible, horrible problems. The violence, the death, the lack of education, no jobs. We’re gonna work with the African American community and we’re gonna solve the problem of the inner city. We’re gonna solve the problem.”
The word “ghetto” is widely considered an outdated term and is no longer used in mainstream media discussions.
Trump also spoke about violence and seemed to limit it to a problem that only Black Americans face.
“And we’re gonna bring safety back. We’re gonna bring safety back,” he said. “You can’t walk out the street, you buy a loaf of bread, and you end up getting shot. So we’re gonna work very strongly with the African American community.”
Trump has made similar comments before about the endless plight of the Black community. However, recent statistics show that income and educational attainment have been on the rise for America’s Black population, and the poverty rate has gone down.
According to a recent U.S. Census report, median income for Blacks in America increased 4.1 percent from 2014 to 2015, to $36,898. Further, the number of Blacks living in poverty dropped two percentage points during the same period, from 26.2 percent to 24.1 percent.
Unemployment is also decreasing, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. In the third quarter of 2015, 9.5 percent of Blacks were unemployed; for the third quarter of 2016, that number went down to 8.5 percent.
And educational attainment has been improving steadily. The percentage of Blacks who completed high school has increased every year since 2011; in 2015, 92.5 percent of all Blacks aged 25 to 29 had completed at least high school. The number of Blacks with a bachelor’s degree has varied slightly over the past few years but has remained above 20 percent consistently since 2011.
Trump has previously made even more inaccurate remarks. Earlier this month at the presidential debate in St. Louis, a Black audience member asked Trump if he would be a president for all Americans.
“I would be a president for all of the people, African Americans, the inner cities,” he said. “Devastating what’s happening to our inner cities.
“You go into the inner cities and — you see it’s 45 percent poverty,” he went on. “African Americans now 45 percent poverty in the inner cities. The education is a disaster. Jobs are essentially nonexistent,” he continued. “And I’ve been saying in big speeches where you have 20 or 30,000 people, ‘What do you have to lose?’ It can’t get any worse.”
Media Reaction: Trump’s Language ‘a broader problem for Republicans at large’
Following Thursday’s rally, CNN anchor Don Lemon spoke on air with David Swerdlick, assistant editor for the Washington Post, and discussed Trump’s use of the word “ghettos.”
Swerdlick cited a recent Washington Post poll that showed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at “plus 81 among Black voters.”
Lemon questioned why Trump has repeatedly made so many inappropriate, offensive and inaccurate remarks about and directed toward the Black community.
“David, why does he continue to do this, and why aren’t his advisors educating him? Could they not know any better as well?” he asked.
“Another problem is the language he uses,” Swerdlick explained. “People are going to come after me on Twitter and say this is being politically correct — but look, a part of being able to talk to a slice of the electorate is being able to sort of speak their language at least a little bit.
“People don’t use the word ‘ghetto’ anymore in this context, just like you don’t use the word ‘negro’ anymore or the word ‘Oriental’ anymore. It’s not a matter of political correctness. It’s a matter of being polite and respectful, and also understanding where that discussion has gone.”
“In terms of his advisors, I couldn’t hazard a guess, Don,” Swerdlick added. “This is a broader problem for Republicans at large, not just the Donald Trump campaign.”