“The Donald” has paid scant attention to blacks. So there was a flurry of responses to BET founder and financial mogul Bob Johnson’s urging of African-Americans to give President-elect Trump “the benefit of the doubt.”
Black people are in crisis. Families are completely broken, with 70 percent of kids born to single mothers, an astronomical crime rate and highest unemployment rate of any racial group. In summary, black America is “a thug culture” that elevates violence, misogyny and accepting of incarceration as inevitable, justified with simplistic messages that blames racism and white privilege as the source of all these problems, and sees more government programs as the solution.
How Trump is being described to blacks leads many to view him skeptically. Many blacks label Donald J. Trump’s election as “mad white folks’ politics.” In his rallies, Trump painted a dystopian picture of black life for rally attendees. Poverty, rejection, horrible education, no housing, homes or ownership have been themes Trump has used when discussing race issues.
Life among blacks may be bad, but it shouldn’t continue under “woe is us” antics. More blacks should be saying, “No more politics as usual — we want real change!”
But let’s admit the truth: Trump doesn’t owe much to blacks. Trump became president-elect without having to agree to meet demands and concerns of black people.
Given the dearth of prominent Trump supporters of color, millionaire entrepreneur Bob Johnson was an interlocker President-elect Trump needed. Johnson has the kind of access to Trump that few blacks have. Johnson’s among the one percent of businesspersons Trump feels comfortable with.
Johnson’s advice to blacks is to “keep lines of communication open” to Trump.
“He ain’t goin’ away,” warns Johnson.
Some blacks voted for Trump, who made a better showing among black voters than Mitt Romney or JohnMcCain in their presidential bids. And among some blacks, Trump has put forward plans promising greater job creation, safe communities, business investment and equal justice.
The political positions couldn’t be more different. Trump’s philosophy is based on business. Members of the Republican Party believe that Americans deserve the right to own, invest, build and prosper; and that sensible business regulations should promote confidence in the economy by binding groups together and supporting essential institutions.
It’s incumbent upon African-Americans and their leaders and organizations to find possible areas of agreement with Trump. Why sit in squalor protesting? Blacks can cease the protests and give credence that the president-elect is at least thinking about the problems of the inner cities and their solutions.
Through his interactions with Trump, Bob Johnson has garnered other African-American businesspersons, professionals and ministers to see if they can work with, or be, Trump people.
The situation is not as dire as Democrat operatives say. There is a black movement for Trump — The National Diversity Coalition For Trump. The group represents prosperity gospel preachers that have been gathering with Trump. Ben Carson, RNC board member Ada Fisher, and the National Black Republican Association have been on board with Trump.
Pastor Darrell Scott, a 56-year-old evangelical minister from Cleveland who heads New Spirit Revival Center, organized Ministers for Trump. Bruce LaVell, a Georgia Republican jewelry store owner and former chairman of the Gwinnett County GOP, is a Trump supporter, as is Omarosa Manigault.
The first thing Trump can do is undo Obama’s harm. Funding at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) continues to be “separate and unequal.” There are 107 HBCUs including public and private institutions, community and four-year institutions, medical and law schools — all which have been underserved.
In his transition activities, Trump can and should make Leonard L. Haynes III executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, to lead the nation’s HBCUs through best practices to increase student success, improved competitiveness in federal grants and contracts and expansion of corporate partnerships.
We encourage that blacks be among Trump transition appointees.
William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com.