As Donald Trump campaigned in central Florida today, he made his usual appeal to African-Americans, painting a grim and partially inaccurate portrait of black communities.
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"African-Americans are living in hell in the inner cities," he said. "They are living -- they are living in hell. You walk to the store for a loaf of bread you get shot.”
But his comment today struck a particularly tone-deaf chord. Trump was in Sanford, Fla., where teenager Trayvon Martin had been killed four years earlier by a neighborhood watchman while walking home after getting a pack of Skittles.
Trump has garnered criticism for how he’s reached out to African-Americans, with whom his support remains low according to all major polls. He often makes his appeals in front of almost all-white crowds, harping on conditions in inner cities, neglecting to appeal to other African-Americans who don’t live in inner cities.
Across the country, the data show that more African-Americans live in suburbs than anywhere else.
During the second presidential debate, James Carter, a black man asked Trump if he believed he could be a devoted president to all the people in the United States.
Trump responded: “I will be a president for all of our people. And I’ll be a president that will turn our inner cities around.”
Some have bristled at the imagery Trump has used to appeal to African-Americans, saying it is only representative of a slice of the African-American community and disregards the wealth, education, and status that Black Americans have achieved.
Census data from 2015 show that 52.9 percent of African-Americans 25 or older have a college degree of some sort. And a report from Pew in December showed that, compared with other racial or ethnic groups, African-American adults saw the largest improvement in income status from 1971 to 2015 and were the only racial or ethnic group that saw a decline in the percentage of low-income earners.