At a rally Friday night in Dimondale, Mich., Donald Trump repeated a version of a plea to black voters that he had offered 24 hours earlier in North Carolina.
"Look at how much African American communities are suffering from Democratic control. To those I say the following: What do you have to lose by trying something new like Trump? What do you have to lose?" he asked. "You live in your poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?"
Consider: Black Americans are not "living in poverty" as a general rule. A quarter of the black population is, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, about the same as the percentage of Hispanics. In Michigan, the figure is slightly higher. Most black Americans don't live in poverty, just as most white Americans don't.
Consider: The unemployment rate in the black community is higher than that in the white community, as it has been since the Department of Labor started keeping track. Among young blacks, though, the figure is not 59 percent — unless (as PolitiFact noted) you consider not the labor force but every young black American, including high school students. Many young black high school students are unemployed. This isn't a metric that the Labor Department typically uses, for obvious reasons, but calculating the rates for young whites gives you about 50 percent, too.Trump is not the first bombastic billionaire to offend black people during a presidential campaign. In 1992, John Broder reported at The Los Angeles Times:
The leadership of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People gave independent presidential candidate Ross Perot a decidedly chilly reception Saturday.
Perot, in his first foray before a black audience, appeared to offend a large number of delegates to the NAACP national convention here by seeming to equate the nation's crime and drug problems with the black community.
The Texan delivered his standard stump speech emphasizing the need to rebuild the nation's economy and job base and urging all Americans to work together toward that goal. But in attempting to tailor the address to a black audience, Perot took what many in the audience considered a number of insensitive missteps.
In discussing inner-city crime and drug use, Perot on several occasions used the expression "you people" or "your people" to describe the offenders and the victims.
He also told stories about his father's treatment of black employees and his mother's charity toward black hobos that some considered patronizing.
"Financially at least, it's going to be a long, hot summer," Perot said. "Now I don't have to tell you who gets hurt first when this sort of thing happens, do I? You people do, your people do. I know that, you know that."
After the 30-minute speech, delegate Harold A. Sanders, president of the Tucson, Ariz., branch of the NAACP, said: "Ross Perot worries me. I'm not sure that in the area of civil rights he has the cultural sensitivity that's required or the staff to advise him. His comments on drugs and crime were offensive. If he'd said they were a problem for all of us, I could have accepted that. But his remarks were very insensitive. Once again, he's shown he has not done his homework."