Why President Trump Loses Black Support
President Trump has spearheaded legitimately positive policy for the Black community like the First Step Act, and (pre-pandemic) he oversaw a period where Black unemployment was low. Those two things speak directly to what people like me have been begging for, criminal justice reform and opportunity.
The Democrat party is responsible for some incredibly damaging policy over the years related to the Black community, and just elevated an individual with a history of jailing Black people on low level marijuana charges to the position of VP nominee.
With that in mind there are a lot of people that don’t understand why many in the Black community, including myself, still find it near impossible to support the President.
President Trump’s Tweet (shown) is referencing programs that attempt to break the cycle of segregation that still exists as a remnant of redlining practices of the past. Providing lower income housing options in “good” neighborhoods is a desegregation effort, it aims to help those in poor communities break out of a poverty cycle by getting them into areas with better schools and more opportunity.
As with all things there are side effects. If low income housing goes in near your neighborhood, your housing value is likely to drop. The kids that now go to your kid’s school are different; their music is different, they speak differently, their culture is different.
The next thought is really the key that determines where you fall on this policy. You either believe that the desegregation effort is worth the hardship, that the pain involved in untangling the effects of our past sins is worth it, or you believe that the negatives are a direct threat to your way of life and the safety of your family so the sacrifice being asked of you is too great.
As an aside, if you fall into the latter camp, those that believe the sacrifice required to desegregate is too great, I don’t think it’s automatically because you’re a racist. I believe that your desire to keep those who, in your mind, pose a threat to your family’s well being separate comes from a place of love for your family. What I will ask of you is that you hold your position with eyes wide open; that individual decisions, even for seemingly logical reasons, end up having cumulative effects that can severely impact others. The real-world effect of the position you hold is that minority communities continue to carry the burden of our country’s sin, and it continues to drive the circumstances that foster negative outcomes.
When President Trump says, “They want safety & are thrilled that I ended the long running program where low income housing would invade their neighborhood,” there are a couple ways people comprehend that.
1. I think most Trump supporters are in a camp that views it as President Trump protecting their community from an unnecessary economic and social hardship. They don’t read “low income” as a racial thing, they read it as an economic designation and don’t correlate it to race. I’d argue that this group simply doesn’t understand how intricately linked poverty and race are in our country.
2. Then there are actual racists out there that read “suburban housewife” as “white” and “low income housing” as “black.” They’re dog whistles.
The line for these racists literally reads “[White people] want safety & are thrilled that I ended the long running program where [black people] would invade their neighborhood.”
3. Then there are people who understand that group 2 exists and believe the President of the United States is knowingly high-fiving them because he wants their votes and influence. I believe there's an argument to be made that the majority of black people perceive it this way.
There are people that live among us that believe my mixed children are abominations. There are people that live among us who believe I as a black man am more animal than man. Policy positions and unemployment numbers fade into the background when those people are considered “very fine” and are consistently emboldened by a man who holds the highest office in our country.
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