By Moses Kamuiru.
During the kick-off of the Black History Month in February this year, some blacks surrounded President Donald Trump at the White House, including former Apprentice contestant Omarosa Manigault and GOP political commentator Paris Dennard. Peppered with numerous racial missteps and misplaced critiques of the press, Trump’s breakfast-meeting remarks included an acknowledgment of Dr. Ben Carson. “During the campaign, I’d go around with Ben to a lot of different places I wasn’t so familiar with,” Trump noted. “They’re incredible people.”
One sided generalization about blacks
The President’s one-sided generalizations about African Americans simultaneously scare and aggravate many Americans. There is a suspicion that others do as well, which is why 92 percent of us voted for candidates other than him and why so many of us maintain that he is #NotMyPresident. Much of what Trump says advances racist narratives about us and communities in which we live. His assumptions are admittedly based on stereotypes and incomplete facts. Carson, a surgeon, and the previous presidential candidate is Trump’s pick for secretary of housing and urban development. Of course, the president’s only black Cabinet nominee has been asked to oversee housing and urban development. During the campaign, then-candidate Trump repeatedly declared that African Americans walking streets in inner cities get shot.
This is not true of all, or even most, of us. Many African Americans have lived in inner-city Philadelphia for decades and have never been shot. Chicago incontestably has a significant problem with gun violence, yet the overwhelming majority of African Americans who live there, in New York City and other cities haven’t been shot. Given that he only references inner cities when speaking about my people, I wonder if Trump even realizes that not all of us live in urban contexts. I have relationships with thousands of blacks who reside in small towns, suburbs and big cities across the United States, but I know none who’ve been shot. I seriously doubt that Trump knows much more.
A complete opposite
Trump’s mischaracterizations of majority-minority schools would lead most Americans to conclude that nothing good happens in them erroneously, little learning occurs, violence erupts every day, and no one goes to college. That’s not what is on the ground. Instead, we found hundreds of young men at these inner-city school sites who spoke extensively about goodness in their schools: teacher practices, peer support and other factors that helped them succeed. They’re presently in college; one is at the University of Pennsylvania, the same university that Trump and his children attended.
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