Monday, August 29, 2016

Donald Trump's racial behavior in running his dad's real estate deals probably reflected the social values of the times


Did Donald Trump discriminate against blacks in renting real estate early in his career?

It looks like he did when working for his father, although he was behaving as many did at the time. A New York Times story Aug. 28 by Jonathan Mahler and Steve Eder talks about the systemic denial of apartments to blacks in the 60s, when they would be told there were no vacancies while still advertising. The younger Trump apparently learned he was being sued on a car radio in 1973.

But these attitudes were common.  When I rented a garden apartment in south Arlington, VA in the spring of 1971, the female rental agent was quite blatant in her bias.  Single professional gay men, by comparison, who acted “normal” and “hid” had no problems.  When moving to New Jersey in 1972 and New York City in 1974, I saw no such bias any longer.  Even in 1979, when moving to Dallas, however, I encountered a rental agent who was rather biased.  Pro football was seen as a sport for rich team owners to place their “blacks” as if token toys. But during the 1980s, even under Reagan, social attitudes in Texas with regard to race steadily if gradually improved.

Singles social clubs (for straights) were common everywhere when I started my adult working life in 1970.  And they were all quite forthright about being white-only even in New Jersey and later Arlington VA.

So Donald Trump’s behavior as a younger man reflected the times he had grown up in.

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