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The Black Lives Matter affirmation on Fifth Avenue, outside of Trump Tower, has now been vandalized four times in less than a week. To contextualize the speed with which the denigration of the affirmation happened, painting of the Black Lives Matter affirmation began on Thursday, July 9 2020. That affirmation was vandalized on Tuesday, July 14, with red paint and again, on Friday, July 17, with blue paint, Saturday, July 18 with Black paint and later, once again, that same day.

When Mayor DeBlasio proposed to paint the affirmation, Black Lives Matter, on Fifth Avenue, outside Trump Tower, Trump’s retort via his go-to communications platform was that such an affirmation is “a symbol of hate” and would denigrate the luxurious Fifth Avenue. I want to hone in on the “denigrating this luxury Avenue” part of Trump’s tweet. I suggest that the Black Lives Matter affirmation painted on Fifth Avenue is, in some ways, quite similar to the green line painted on a much longer stretch of Fifth Avenue, to affirm the Irish for the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.

To be sure, property values respond to racial composition of neighborhoods, such that property declines by about 20% of its value when neighborhood racial composition increases from less than 10% Black to either 10% to 20% Black, or 20% to 50% Black. This fluctuation of property value hinges on the racial proxy hypothesis. The racial proxy hypothesis is an explanation for why white people or other well-to-do folk leave neighborhoods and is related to conditions of poverty and instability, not necessarily because Black folk live there. Of course property, as an inanimate object, cannot devalue itself; it is an ascribed value by people.

What then is the motivation for the bias about an affirmation that declares Black lives matter? Since Fifth Avenue is luxury and has no “run down properties” or “low income tenants,” it cannot be because of other socioeconomic determinants, as highlighted in the racial proxy hypotheses for Trump’s statement.

It is at once amazing and disturbing to get a glimpse, as it were, into the inner workings of the transition from implicit bias to explicit bias to outright denigration of property by vandals of the Black Lives Matter affirmation. Property values rise and fall based on a hypothesis about conditions of poverty and instability. Conditions on Fifth Avenue are such that poverty does not exist, except perhaps for homeless encampments that pop up overnight, yet instability is reigning supreme. Trump, the vandals and those who would equate a declaration that the lives of Black folk matter as symbolic of hate is telling.

If property values and the luxury of Fifth Avenue are denigrated, it won’t be because Black folk devalued the neighborhood. And it certainly won’t be because of the affirmation Black Lives Matter is painted on Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower. If the property values and the luxury of Fifth Avenue are denigrated, it will be similar to why the America’s world-wide relationships have been devalued and denigrated — because of the instability on display by Trump and the vandals who are refusing to join in with the rest of the world to affirm that Black Lives Matter.