Spoiler: not much has changed for the black community …
I’m breaking yet another editorial policy of mine this year to write about a topic I mistakenly felt that everyone knew by now: PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP IS LYING about “doing more for the Black community than any other President since Abraham Lincoln.”
I’m pretty shocked that the general media pushback — with some noteworthy exceptions — to Trump’s bombast has been either nil or feeble, especially given how it’s so easy to disprove what Trump says on the topic.
So … I’ll move beyond the surface tweet I posted last week to break my policy, and spend a few minutes chopping up Trump’s bullshit.
But be warned: calling out Trump’s lies will also involve calling out the beloved past President’s shortcomings.
For starters, let’s expand on what most Trump haters bark at when they hear him brag about building the greatest economy in history: “He only coasted on the economic success story of the Obama administration.”
Trump uses that “greatest economy line” to fold in his “I’m giving Black people jobs” meme.
Some of you who read my blog have a clear idea of where I’m going with this: Trump simply continued the same trend of low-paying job creation that Obama oversaw during the previous eight years. One of Obama’s top economic advisers verified what happened during Obama recovery years with a study. The gig economy became a popular brand under Obama for good reason …
As an aside, I give the Obama administration credit for doing the heavy work after the Great Recession, but the recovery was worse than what anyone saw in the prior five or six decades.
So, yeah. Not sure the jobs argument is a strong soapbox for Trump’s victory dance.
A visit to the Federal Reserve’s data can easily close down the rest of Trump’s economic case. Wealth inequality between African descendants — the tiny lime-colored strip in the chart below — and White folks has not changed under Trump.
Black folks held 4.2 percent of US household wealth in 2016 — President Obama’s final year in office. That number went down to 4.1 percent during the second quarter of this year. And you can’t blame the coronavirus pandemic for the dip since the share was 4.1 percent at the end of 2019 — before the pandemic.
Trump didn’t improve Black folks’ share of wealth — in fact, Black wealth became a bit worse.
Trump did nothing to improve the share of Black private business wealth.
And Trump did nothing to improve Black share of wealth through real estate ownership.
Have you ever heard Trump provide meaningful commentary regarding the race-driven pay gap among college graduates? Neither have I. That gap has not only remained significant, but there has also been no behavior exhibited by this President to address the issue.
But the metrics shouldn’t simply revolve around money.
Before the pandemic spring this year, I wrote a couple of pieces concerning the social determinants of health that Black people need to enjoy full lives, but American politicians have ignored for decades.
The science is strong here — neighborhoods need robust schools, safe recreational structures to encourage physical movement, community support networks, employment, affordable housing, and strong neighborhood health systems in order for its residents to live full lives. The lack of these social determinants of health explains why COVID-19 has killed so many African descendants in America.
Tell me if you’ve ever heard Trump say ANYTHING like the last two paragraphs I wrote.
It has never appeared on his radar, while he retreated to his stock market and Fox News bubbles. Social determinants of health is more than a lost concept with Trump — he doesn’t even offer a linguistic expression of anything that resembles a social determinant of health. So, how can he improve something he knows nothing about?
Which means — despite Trump’s non-existent plan of a plan to build a post-COVID economy — more Black people will die.
Black infant mortality remains more than twice that of the White population.
Black mothers remain more than three times likely to die than White mothers.
I’ve also seen no evidence that premature mortality has changed in the Black community.
The message is clear at this point — Trump has not done more for Black people.
His criminal justice reform cred is about the same as Obama’s — except the latter commuted many more prison sentences.
How about Trump and historically-Black colleges and universities (HBCUs)?
On the really-real, Obama didn’t initially understand HBCUs. (I gave y’all a heads-up that the former President would take a few hits here.)
This likely explains why Obama once proposed increasing education spend for colleges — except for the Black ones, where he wanted to reduce funding. I believe someone talked him out of that madness.
And of course Trump saw an opportunity to outdo Obama, and enacted a longer-term funding schema.
I’ll close down this post shortly but I have to pick on Trump’s crown cubic zirconia: opportunity zones.
My response when I first heard about the plan was “Oh, great. Gentrification 3.0.” I also thought it was a way for the rich to park or bury their capital gains to legally avoid tax exposure.
Nonetheless, I see no data that supports the “countless” jobs Trump claims were created by these zones, nor do I think Team Trump has a reliable set of investor participation rates or job creation numbers to brag about. Plus, I haven’t seen perfect news about how the zones projects are coming along — especially in the way opportunity zones suck oxygen from the traditional non-profit organizations that focus on community development and affordable housing for local residents, but without the gentrification part. This likely explains why Trump speaks in vague terms about the project’s impact.
And I haven’t even touched on his love affair with White extremist groups. But everyone knows that stuff by now, I hope.
Overall, Trump has no track record of helping the Black community to deserve his homemade crown — or the Black vote …
song currently stuck in my head: “meaning of the blues [outro] (live in san sebastian)” – keith jarrett trio