"I suppose Old Man Trump knows just how much Racial Hate he stirred up"
January 21, 2016 10:24 AM   Subscribe

"Guthrie’s two-year tenancy in one of Fred Trump’s buildings and his relationship with the real estate mogul of New York’s outer boroughs produced some of Guthrie’s most bitter writings, which I discovered on a recent trip to the Woody Guthrie Archives in Tulsa." Woody Guthrie, ‘Old Man Trump’ and a real estate empire’s racist foundations
posted by koeselitz (8 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
a all real estate empires racist foundations

I think the article downplays that racial segregation was explicit federal housing policy in the 40s.
posted by fitnr at 10:29 AM on January 21, 2016 [6 favorites]

It could be emphasized more, yes. This is what the article said about it:

What Guthrie discovered all too late was Trump’s enthusiastic embrace of the FHA’s guidelines for avoiding “inharmonious uses of housing” – or as Trump biographer Gwenda Blair puts it, “a code phrase for selling homes in white areas to blacks.” As Blair points out, such “restrictive covenants” were common among FHA projects – a betrayal, if ever there was one, of the New Deal vision that had given birth to the agency.

As it says, "restrictive covenants" were common, and the FHA explicitly (through the use of code words, but explicitly) recommended against allowing black and white cohabitation in buildings. Guthrie's objection seems to have been both to the odious common standard and to Fred Trump's zealous participation in it which seems to have been noteworthy even for the time.
posted by koeselitz at 10:37 AM on January 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

This was great; thanks for sharing it! My complaint is that the article left out a lot of details that would have been worthwhile. As mentioned above, more on discrimination in housing as policy at the national level. Also, more on the accusations of Trump profiteering from his federal contracts. But one of the real benefits to articles like this is that they put the lie to the common misconception that Donald Trump is a self-made man. Not only did he start out with his father's fortune, but a good part of that fortune was ill-gotten gains.
posted by TedW at 10:47 AM on January 21, 2016 [5 favorites]

And I feel it can't be pointed out enough that if Trump the younger had simply taken his inheritance and dropped it into normal index funds instead of real estate speculation, he would actually be significantly richer than he is now. He's not a great businessman, just one whose ridiculous amount of starting capital has insulated him from failures that would destroy anybody else.

And knowing that a cultural superhero like Woody Guthrie had some choice lyrics for Trump the older really adds some extra moral clarity for those of us who are in genuinely fear of what his son has helped to awaken in this country.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:19 AM on January 21, 2016 [15 favorites]

This is kind of amazing.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:58 PM on January 21, 2016

I listened to The Gist podcast I think from yesterday where Mike Pesca makes the point that knowing the background story of a candidate doesn't really matter when you can just see what they say, what the voting records are, etc. He seemed to be of the opinion that their up-bringing, or knowing about their family's behavior is intrusive in a way that may be kind of crass. Just judge them for how you interpret their actions. I felt sympathetic to his point, remembering that after reading a bio of Heidi Cruz I felt both sad for her and creeped out by having read something that I felt was really none of my business (her depression), no matter how much I hate her husband and want to blame him for everything.

Having read this, I just can't go all the way with Pesca's opinion. It means something that this is the ground that sprouted Trump and his hideousness. And look at the Koch bros and their John Birch childhood. (Did you know they have two other brothers? There are crazy stories there too!) I'm having a hard time finding the right balance between the two, there's a validity to both.

And of course if someone holds out something to me and says, "smell this, it is disgusting", I always know I am going to take a whiff.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 1:24 PM on January 21, 2016

I'm surprised nobody has trawled through the late lamented Spy for all the stuff they dug up on Trump back in the '80s.
posted by lagomorphius at 3:03 PM on January 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'm surprised nobody has trawled through the late lamented Spy for all the stuff they dug up on Trump back in the '80s.

Why, just look - the very first issue.
posted by lagomorphius at 3:10 PM on January 21, 2016 [3 favorites]

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