After making a number of controversial comments about race during the primaries, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump extended an olive branch to the African American community on Wednesday with a special event hosted Fox News' Sean Hannity. However, it appears that the candidate may have missed the mark.
While participating the town hall, intended by Fox News to engage African Americans in particular on issues important to them, Trump responded to an audience member's question about solving violence in the black community.
"One of the things I'd do is I would do stop-and-frisk. I think you have to," Trump said. "We did it in New York, it worked incredibly well and you have to be proactive and, you know, you really help people sort of change their mind automatically."
Hours after announcing his public support for stop-and-frisk, New York City officials spoke out about the inaccuracies of Trump's statement.
"Donald Trump talks about stop-and-frisk like he knows the facts," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN. "He has had no experience with policing, no experience with public safety."
According to the New York Civil Liberties Union, no research has ever proven the effectiveness of New York City's stop-and-frisk policy. And in 2013, a federal judge ruled that stop-and-frisk was unconstitutional and discriminatory against people of color.
"Stop-and-frisk is a widely discredited policy and it will not make the problem [of crime] go away," Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn told POLITICO New York.
Trump later clarified that he was only referring to enacting the policy in Chicago, a city overwhelmed with gun violence.
But to really understand the problem with Trump's support of a controversial policy that is largely disliked by people of color, you have to understand the audience present at the event, which was billed a forum for Trump to court and engage with black voters.
As the photo shows, and as has been reported by various outlets, most of the people at Trump's town hall were white.
Paper Magazine noted that it's far from the first time that the Republican nominee has been criticized for directing a conversation about issues that affect black voters to a white audience.
"I hear him not talking to black people, but talking to white people about black people so they will think he cares about black people," Alexis Scott, a former publisher of The Atlanta Daily World, told The New York Times in response to controversial remarks made by Trump in August that painted African American life with far too broad a brush.
It goes — or, at least, it should go — without saying that conversations regarding communities of color should involve those communities. There can be no progress towards equality unless those groups with unequal footing take seats at the table. Because maybe then politicians wouldn't double down on failed policies like stop-and-frisk.