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December 28th, 2016

Donald Trump and “The African Americans”

William Reed
“The Donald” has paid scant attention to blacks.  So, there was a flurry of comments to former BET founder and financial mogul Bob Johnson’s urging African-Americans to give President-Elect Trump “benefit of the doubt.” Blacks are in crisis. Black families are mostly broken, with 70 percent of kids born to single mothers.  We have an astronomical crime rate and highest unemployment rate of any racial group.  The dominant “thug culture” elevates violence, misogyny, and accepting of incarceration as inevitable.  This is justified with simplistic messages that blames racism and white privilege as the source of all these problems, and more government programs as solution.

The way mainstream media depicts him causes many blacks to label Donald J. Trump’s election as “mad white folks’ politics?”  In his rallies, Trump painted a dystopian picture of black life.  “Poverty, rejection, horrible education, no housing, homes or ownership” have been themes Trump has used when discussing downtrodden blacks. Life among blacks may be bad, but it let’s not continue “woe is us” antics.  More among African Americans should be saying: “No more politics as usual. We want real change!”  When measuring our political clout, let’s admit that 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 has emerged as an interlocker to President-elect Trump.  Bob Johnson has access to Trump that few blacks have.  Johnson’s among the one percent of businesspersons Trump feels comfortable with.  Bob Johnson’s advice to blacks is to “keep lines of communication open” to Trump.  Johnson warns that “He ain’t goin’ away.”  Don’t forget that the blacks that voted for Trump gave him a better showing among black voters than Romney or McCain 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-orientation.  GOPers believe that Americans deserve the right to own, invest, build, and prosper; and that sensible business regulations are incredibly important and that business regulations should promote confidence in the economy by living notably, binding groups together and supporting essential institutions.

Bob Johnson’s not the only one preaching that it’s incumbent on African-Americans, 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 put the spotlight on other African-American businesspersons, professionals, and ministers to ponder see if they can work with, or be, Trump people.

There is a black movement for Trump - The National Diversity Coalition For Trump.  The group is mostly comprised of prosperity gospel preachers that have linkages to Trump. Ben Carson, RNC board member, Dr, Ada Fisher, and the National Black Republican Association have long  been on board with Trump.  Pastor Darrell Scott, a 56-year-old evangelical minister from Cleveland, Ohio who heads New Spirit Revival Center and 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 Celebrity Apprentice Omarosa Manigault.

The first thing Trump can do is undo the harm of Obama.  Funding at HBCUs continues to be “separate and unequal.”  Sources of great African American pride and accomplishment Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are institutions of higher education established with the intention of primarily serving African Americans.  There are 107 HBCUs including public and private institutions, community and four-year institutions, medical and law schools.  In his transition activities Trump has the ability to make appointments such as 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, improve competitiveness in federal grants and contracts and expansion of corporate partnerships.  We encourage Trump to focus on blacks as transition appointees.

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