Ebony Magazine Blames Melania Trump Plagiarism on... Racism

Charlie McKenna | July 20, 2016
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One of the best reactions to the Melania Trump's plagiarism scandal by far is from "Ebony Magazine," a publication for African-Americans.

The summary for Michael Harriot's article, “Melania Trump and the Gimme Culture,” begins by saying Trump’s alleged plagiarism is "just the latest in a long line of instances where White folks have stolen Black people’s work.” Quite a promising start.

Harriot starts in earnest with a condemnation of conservative white people, saying they refer to the black community as a “gimme culture.” The condemnation Harriot refers to, however, is of socialism, not of the black community. It's pretty racist to assume all people of a certain race automatically have the same economic views, so conservatives don't assume political views based on skin color. Neither should Harriot.

 Harriot then attacks Trump for, “stumbl[ing] through a platitude-laden speech” even though she “stole it all from a Black woman.”

If the speech was “platitude-laden” like Harriot asserts, then why would he want to admit such trite material originated with a black woman?

This instance of theft is particularly egregious, according to Harriot, because "White America looks down its noses at people of color while simultaneously sucking every bit of talent, effort and creativity out them, for their own purposes.”  

In his argument, Harriot brings up Justin Timberlake as irrefutable proof that whites have benefitted by stealing from blacks. Harriot insists, that if the former NYSYNC singer was black, he would not be successful.

Harriot goes on to list several other instances of appropriation, all of which I’m sure are equally valid.

After this rant, the article returns to Melania, saying she will “escape unscathed, because America is used to turning their heads in the other direction whenever someone steals from people of color.”

I would advise the author to turn on a television or open Twitter or Facebook. This incident is essentially the only thing people have been talking about for days. Plus, the reaction is not favorable. The critics have been quite scathing.

The article ends by refering to a mystical bond all black people across history apparently share:

After donating millions of Black bodies to the bottom of the Atlantic ocean; after contributing 246 years of free labor to America…after lending countless corpses to ropes hanging from trees; after allowing our sons and daughters to serve as free targets for police… they [white people] have the nerve to say Black people perpetuate a ‘gimme culture.’

It's just a touch collectivist, isn’t it?

Whatever you may think of Trump, and whether you believe she plagiarized because Obama is black, the fact remains that Harriot is doing nothing to improve race relations. Rather, he is using incendiary and hyperbolic language to get a reaction. Writers like Harriot make their living trying to stir up as much ire as possible. It is this kind of writing which tears America apart.