It is a new phenomenon in politics to see two politicians both accuse each other of racism. Racism is a very complex phenomenon, that can mean different things on different levels, so it's a problem that it is so often just hurled as an insult without causing any further discussion that would take steps toward solving the problem.
Obviously it would be great if everyone could and would just avoid racism and somehow that would solve the problem. Avoidance, however, tends to lead people to ostracize others whom they expect to raise the topic. So by avoiding the topic of racism, the practice of racism actually gets protected and preserved.
So assuming that both Trump and Cummings are truly concerned about racism in their own ways, as they view it, why doesn't the media go beyond simply reporting that they call each other racist and explain what each actually means by it, and why their views differ?
In general, my impression is that there are simple reasons Trump gets accused of racism, that are just misunderstanding. People can behave like animals, for example, regardless of their skin color or other racial/ethnic classification. However, if Trump says that people are like animals, referring to behavior, that the media will equate this with old racist stereotypes that compare minority races with animals as a biological form of inferiority of one race in comparison with others.
So although it makes sense that some people would misinterpret labeling some person or people as (an) animal(s) as having a traditionally racist and thus offensive meaning, it is also reasonable to describe certain people as animals in terms of their behavior, such as people who never clean or people who abuse others to take power over them.
Since there is a broad spectrum of hygiene that doesn't discriminate according to race, it is not racist to call people with bad hygiene 'animals,' as long as you don't whitewash some people with bad hygiene because of their race while criticizing others.
Maybe what is not racist, but is 'superiorist' is when people criticize others without empathizing with them in any way. After all, we are all familiar with sin because we're all sinners.
12Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive any complaint you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.…