Kenton Gibbs| Staff Writer
Early in Donald Trump’s presidency, he has brought in many African American people to function as liaisons for the black community. All of those he bought in seem to rave about how he seems so genuine and is a great person. I do not know the man so I can’t make that assessment of his character. One thing that I do find to be a little troubling is the fact that each and every leader in the African American community that he brought to Trump Towers, works in the entertainment industry and has little to no experience in politics.
I am all for diplomacy and bipartisanship so President Trump reaching out to these people is a good thing at face value. I’m not one of those people who is ready to hoop and holler that they’re all disgraces to the black community. I sincerely hope that these talks were as productive as Trump and his visitors have said they were. But there’s a high chance that they weren’t and there are still a few other troubling parts of this.
President Trump reaching out is a good thing and the people accepting an invite are accepting one from the President of the United States. However, one of the first problems I see when looking at these talks is was it lip service yet no serious talk of changing from both sides. Most black males have sat in a barbershop and had talks about how the neighborhood keeps getting worse. Many of which result in nothing more than just a reiteration of the problems that we already know exist. So will the president take what he heard seriously and will those celebrities invest heavily into the communities they grew up in? That remains to be seen.
Another question that instantly arises is: why not meet with people who have political power and responsibilities? That would certainly be a great step in preventing these conversations from being moments of mental masturbation where there’s no activity or accomplishment, just words. For example, meeting with the newly elected mayor of Baltimore Catherine Pugh to discuss the problems of the black community would be powerful for so many reasons. For starters, she’s a woman and it’s clear from all the worldwide women’s marches that his words and actions have not fallen on deaf eyes and ears. Second, as a newly elected mayor of a predominantly black city, she has the ability to actually make things happen.
Let’s imagine for a second that our Student Body President Paul Nolan was known to be very conservative. Then to figure out how to best work with the African American population on campus he speaks to Russell Wilson and Dennis Smith Jr. We would all be outraged and offended at the preposterous idea that they represent us. While I do hope that President Trump was genuine in his efforts, I’m sure he’s aware of potential problems with this.
They were all people that Trump would have probably invited to his private parties had he not been president. So let’s contrast that with President Barack Obama. Micheal Eric Dyson stated on a breakfast club interview, if he wanted to better conditions for white working class people he wouldn’t meet with Miley Cyrus, he’d meet with Mitch McConnell. That statement is so spot on it’s not even funny. These men have not been in the worst parts of the communities that they’re supposed to represent for years. They may have different charities or causes there but that is not their daily reality.
While I am aware of the Malcolm X quote, “The first thing the [White racist] does when he comes to power, he takes all the Negro leaders and invites them for coffee, to show that he’s alright. And these Uncle Toms can’t pass up the coffee. They come away from the coffee table telling you and me that this man is alright.” I do not want to stroll it out as what this is. But I want to ask of all “leaders” or anyone asked to speak for the black community to please take someone of political substance with you or come away with concrete plans laid because at this point we’re tired of hearing whose genuine if they don’t genuinely implement helpful policies.