THE BLOG
08/31/2016 10:56 am ET Updated Sep 01, 2017

Condolences For Leon

Poor Leon, an African-American male; please extend condolences to him.

According to Mr. Trump, the Republican candidate, he lives in a community, Irvine, which has poor housing, terrible schools, high unemployment, grinding poverty, and high crime. Probably in and out of relationships, he has had children out of wedlock, maybe quite a few. It must be rough being Leon, as Trump has so appropriately and helpfully pointed out.

There are only a couple of discrepancies with this story. Leon is a real person, by the way, and does live in Irvine.

And his life is nothing like the stereotype Trump has painted. Irvine is, in fact, a delightful, even exceptional community. It was one of the first planned cities in the country and is home to the University of California-Irvine. It is also quite affluent: during 2009-2013, Irvine had a median household income of $90,585; median home price is $765,000. It also boasts of some of the best schools in the country, especially University High School. The four high schools in Irvine Unified School District have consistently placed in the upper range of Newsweek's list of the Top 1,300 U.S. Public High Schools. It is also frequently ranked as the safest city in the United States with a population over 100,000. Leon also doesn't live in a Democratic Party enclave: Irvine is 34.7% Republican, 31.4% Democrat.

And what of Leon himself? How does he fair in this world? Is he an outlier, one of the 12.2% of Irvine's population living below the federal poverty line?

Hardly. He owns his own quite successful business and his own home, both since the 1970s. Also, he is married to the wonderful Margaret, his first and only wife. They were betrothed over forty years ago and are still going strong. Their two grown children, both born within the marriage (Leon is the son of a minister), each of them college educated, happily married, have birthed grandchildren for Leon and Margaret to love.

Fortunately, Mr. Trump, if elected, will make their lives so much better.

So here's the problem with his campaign appeal. Yes, there are definitely black communities who fit his description (white too; only about one out of every four households receiving food stamps in 2014 was black, according to the United States Department of Agriculture). Too many, and it is a national concern that must be addressed.

But that is still a minority within a minority. Since the breakthroughs of the civil rights movement, many black demographics have improved, with increasing numbers of college grads for example.

Are Leon and Margaret typical? Only in that they represent the incredible diversity of the African-American community. Something Donald Trump missed entirely.

That is why so many black Americans are outraged by his remarks. People like Leon and Margaret. Some whites too. They feel they deserve better than Donald Trump's ignorance.