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“I don’t need nobody give me nothing, open up the doors I’ll get it myself” – soul singer James Brown
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump declared: “I will be great for African Americans.” So, six months in, the question Blacks should be asking is “What now, Donald?” Since Richard Nixon and his administration’s minority enterprise programs, Donald Trump has all the tools to be the greatest president for Black Americans.
But, his presidency has not made Trump and Blacks bedfellows. On no level, do Blacks and Trump coalesce. No group loathes Donald Trump as much as African Americans. Trump’s first six months in the White House show that Blacks’ interests are not very high on his commander-in-chief priority list.
Millions of Blacks live on the edge. But, Blacks, and their issues, are marginalized by both major parties. There’s a significant gap between Blacks and Trump. Blacks view Trump as “a racist beyond redemption.”
Published reports state “he thinks blacks are lazy.” According to a book written by former Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino President John R. O’Donnell, the real estate mogul said in 1991 that “Laziness is a trait in blacks.” Allegedly, he was referring to a Black accountant working for Trump Plaza, and added, “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.”
In a 1989 NBC interview Trump said, “A well-educated Black has a tremendous advantage over a well-educated White in terms of the job market. I think sometimes a Black may think they don’t have an advantage, or this and that . . . I’ve said on one occasion, even about myself, if I were starting off today, I would love to be a well-educated Black, because I believe they have actual advantage.’’
The Democrats have a decided edge when it comes to Blacks and their politics. “What have you got to lose?” has garnered babble from Democrats’ Black mis-leadership, which has focused on showing Trump what Blacks have to lose under his presidency.
But the economic reality is African-American households have been getting poorer over past years. The meter of progress is running backwards on African Americans, toward greater inequality and relative poverty. Trump can help Blacks’ business prospects. Despite Blacks affording him deity status, Obama’s years were no panacea for America’s long-standing racial inequities.
Trump should go beyond palace guards and step to Blacks to establish effective lines of communications.
The state of Black America is bleak. According to the National Urban League, African Americans continue to lag far behind Whites economically.
“Moreover, prospects look much worse under President Trump” says Marc Morial, the league’s president and chief executive. The standard of living for African Americans is 72 percent that of the average White person, according to the “equality index.”
A large percentage of Blacks are trapped in horrible unaccredited inner-city schools and high-crime neighborhoods in situations that negatively impact youths’ ability to attain wealth in adulthood.
In the campaign, Trump attempted to woo Black voters with a 10-point plan for urban renewal that he said would improve their lives with increased school choice, safer communities and financial reforms to make it easier to start a business.
To be “president of all the people” Trump must “open up doors” to greater accessible to Blacks.
Moving forward requires both Blacks and Trump adopt different mindsets. Blacks must reconsider monolithic support of Democrats’ policies that have failed miserably at moving Blacks out of poverty. We need Trump to address something Obama never did, a “Black Agenda” that would include economic development, stable and progressive communities with unlimited educational opportunities.
Trump can do good reaching out to Blacks. But Blacks need unobstructed access to Trump. Whatever happened to Darrell Scott the Cleveland pastor? We need people like him directing Trump give legs to campaign rhetoric such as “appointing a commission to investigate the school-to-prison pipeline and shutting it down, and investing in training and funding local and federal law enforcement operations to remove gang members, drug dealers, and criminal cartels from neighborhoods,”
William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and is available for projects via Busxchng@his.com