Donald Trump Retweets Overtly Racist Characterization Of Pittsburgh Protest
It’s common for politicians to share the kind of terms called ‘dogwhistles’ — words or phrases that suggest a racist meaning but don’t directly use racist language. However, in President Donald Trump’s recent retweet, the dogwhistle is pretty open and clear: it’s the use of mocking language intended to mimic African American Vernacular English (AAVE).
The protest took place in Pittsburgh, and activists have disavowed the behavior shown in the video clip. WPXI reports that the founder of Black Politics Matter, Dr. Kimberly Ellis, said a group entering a McDonald’s and causing a disturbance were detracting from the movement, and didn’t represent the goals of the movement.
Those of us who have been activists, those of us who are leaders in our community, all of us, we want everyone to know that it is completely unacceptable behavior. We do not approve. It does not represent us.
Mark Dice, a YouTube conspiracy theorist, shared the clip anyway, mocking the group with his spelling, stretched out words, skipped consonants, and vague finish, all of which are perfect examples of white supremacist attempts of impersonation of AAVE.
…cuz of rrrrrraaaacim ‘n stuff.
Democrats and Sleepy Joe’s Peaceful Protestors! https://t.co/weQBW7xKic
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 8, 2020
The president retweeted this uncritically, adding his own commentary to suggest that this was an example of a ‘peaceful protest.’ Trump has been tweeting incidents of rioting or otherwise out of hand protesting, captioning posts with words describing these clips as ‘peaceful,’ thus coloring all protest with a broad brush as though these are truly examples of what really is going on at actual peaceful protests across the country.
While the most destructive cases are the favored focus, data from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project found that 95% of protests this summer were actually peaceful demonstrations.
Donald Trump has not commented on the recent protest in which his supporters cheered when a speaker spread Q-Anon conspiracy theories and called for Democrats to be shot in the streets.