Why Does Trump Think “Inner City” Is Synonymous With ‘Black People’

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The reality is Mr. Trump is not the only one. There are so many people in our America who think just like Trump on these matters -even so called white liberals, and if we are going to keep it all the way real, even Black people do as well. As long as we keep pretending and being shocked by the reality that we have been living with for generations , we will continue never to truly genuinely move ourselves and our nation forward.

Words matter and have had direct meanings in effect and affect for generations. Whereas “Ghettos” were once associated with Jewish segregated settlements in Venice, the word has grown to be associated with areas of a city or town where minorities live and Hip-Hop gave it a higher rise in being associated with Black poverty and living conditions in cities. When are Americans on all levels going to get real with ourselves and start being honest about how we all contribute and perpetuate the racist’s perceptions and associations that has been part of the American way of life for generations? When Marvin Gaye wrote “Inner City Blues” he wasn’t just talking about the general blues of the city, but specifically the conditions of Black people living hand to mouth in conditions that made him want to holler and throw up both of his hands! We as a collective have created and conjured up images with the words that we put out into our national lexicon, and the reality is when many hear words like “Inner City”, “Ghetto” , “Hood” etc. images of Black and Brown, and minorities living in poverty come to mind, and as a New Yorker, I would be living in an alternative universe if I denied that regardless of what color I am or my political affiliations.

This has always been a big issue for me because working in the fashion industry at the height of hip-hop and so called “Urban” Clothing lines, I remember fighting against and pushing back at the labeling of Black designers, Black owned collections or Hip-Hop generation targeted clothing lines being called “Urban Clothing Lines”, while my peers saw an opportunity of false exclusivity that they were more than happy to run with. I saw the limitations and the pigeonholing from the onset even spreading as far as having a Black model in your Ad. could associate you with the limitations of the “urban” label – making my fight even harder in bringing inclusivity to my clients’ advertising and marketing campaigns because they had to protect their brands in not being seen in the limitation of “Urban”.

Whereas some of my clients who were Jewish owned manufacturers could create the same denim and other styles -their label could be put in Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Nordstrom’s etc. and also be found in so called “urban clothing departments”, while the so called “Urban Clothing Lines” at the time were not welcomed in these mainstream department stores even though they had very similar clothing styles because those stores had not established departments for “Urban Wear” at the time. These labels could only be found in stores like Dr. Jay’s etc. who catered to the so called “Urban and Inner City” fashion clientele -which we all knew meant Black/Brown and minorities, and everyone in the business was complicit in its pigeonholing and marketing as just that. Later on when the rise of hip-hop saw these clothing lines earning huge profits then all of a sudden the mainstream stores like Macy’s, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom’s started creating “Urban Departments” which still could only grow as long and as far as the hip-hop music that was pushing it as one of its core cultural elements. When the industry had accepted that “Urban” was now mostly associated with blackness void of its actual definition in being synonymous to the word “City”- then the industry preferred to use words like “Cosmopolitan” to bring back the chicness in association with the city void of the industry association of “blackness” of the word Urban.

As much as the Trump is deplorable in his racists bend, let’s not act like he’s the only one that associates poor Black and Brown people and minorities with words like “Inner City”, the only difference with Trump is that he is unsophisticated and has no f*cks to give in his way of speaking, unlike his opponent, Hillary Clinton who is the consummate professional in Politricking in knowing and choosing her words carefully to appease specific audiences.

 

Written by aretha amma sarfo