Yesterday, Trump actually took a few questions from reporters at his fancy Florida estate, so one reporter decided to ask him, “What is your response to people who say you are a racist?” Predictably, Trump claimed he was the least racist person “you have ever interviewed, that I can tell you.” In response to that, The Atlantic asked some of its own reporters who the least racist people they ever interviewed were, and some of the responses are just shocking in their beauty.
Why? Because you’d think they’d all name someone important from a marginalized group; or perhaps a celebrity, a well-known philanthropist, or someone else along those lines. But here’s Conor Friedersdorf’s answer to that question, which is probably both the most and least surprising:
“Once in a great while, starting as a newspaper reporter in my early 20s and extending all the way into my time at The Atlantic, I have the occasion to interview very young children about their experiences––as a first grader at a charter school, say, or a promising talent in athletics or music or sports, or a member of family whose story bears on the news. One of them is likely the least racist person I’ve ever interviewed.”
He goes on to say that they’ll encounter “poisonous ideology in many forms” later on in their lives, and some will even find themselves indoctrinated. Friedersdorf’s answer underscores the fact that racism isn’t inherent – it’s something children learn later on.
Others had some interesting answers, too, such as Graeme Wood, who said:
“Tété-Michel Kpomassie, a Togolese villager who immigrated to Greenland. He had a lot to say about trading one difficult environment for another, but too much grace to use the word “shithole” for either, and too much intelligence to think the shitty aspects of these places had anything to do with race.”
Adrienne LaFrance once discussed racism with the late Senator Daniel Inouye, the son of Japanese immigrants. He got to Washington in 1959, when black representatives couldn’t even eat in the Congressional restaurant despite serving in Congress. He had a problem with that, so here’s what he told LaFrance he did:
Inouye took a fellow representative, who was black, to lunch with him one day. “I literally drag this guy into the dining room, and all the waiters are black. They smiled. They knew what was happening. Because they would have had to throw me out.” They didn’t.
Most real journalists know that Donald “I Am Not A Racist” Trump is anything but the least racist person anyone has ever interviewed. He keeps bleating that horn, though, because he thinks he’s some god’s gift to the entire world.
Featured image via Joe Raedle/Getty Images