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Charlton Mcllwain, professor and dean at NYU, represents the Yes vote. Yes, it was a racist comment. Drew Liquerman, of Republicans Overseas with apparently no other qualifying credentials*, represents the No vote. No, it was not racist.
My verdict (at last based only the two arguments): The Liquerman and the No Vote wins.
Why? Because he appeals to the substance and context of what Trump was saying, and matching it with his statements and concerns about the immigration system. Whether you agree with Trump's notion of only allowing quality immigrants in our nation, such a view is clearly not racist. Saying I'll take qualified candidates from anywhere is no more racist than banning travelers from countries that happen to be Muslim, but allowing people from other Muslim countries the right to travel here.
Mcllwain's Yes vote, on the other hand, invokes the liberal narrative that the only reason Europe decided to exist was to be racist. That everything in Europe is racism. That - and I've loved this for years - every reference to blackness or darkness as an evil or dangerous or negative is only a giant racist plot to be racist because racists. Or that any nod toward whiteness as pure or good is equally subtle racist propaganda hoisted on the world by evil, racist, evil Europeans and Americans, who are racist.
That other cultures often associate darkness or blackness with night, and that people across the cultural spectrum through the ages, see white as pure (kinda a Bible thing ((Isaiah 1.18, etc.), before there was Europe) seems lost on people who insist Europeans invoked the ideas just to be racist, because racists.
If you base your argument on something that is demonstrably false, and requires a tremendous amount of Orwellian doublethink in order to believe, there's a strong chance I won't give you the vote for best argument.
*An old trick during the heyday of the Daytime Talk Shows was to stuff the panel discussions. For the liberal side you would have scholars and professors and experts with no end of degrees, awards, positions of prestige and influence. For the conservative side, it never failed that they would find some variation on 'Billy Bubba of Bubba's college of Taxidermy'. Not s