“You go on. You set one foot in front of the other, and if a thin voice cries out, somewhere behind you, you pretend not to hear, and keep going.” Black Americans must keep this quote by Geraldine Brooks in mind when think of the 2016 Presidential election.
Donald John Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States on Tuesday in a stunning culmination of an explosive, populist and polarizing campaign that took relentless aim at the institutions and long-held ideals of American democracy1 .
In light of this unexpected change in American politics, Jay Harold wants you to know that Black Americans will survive and potentially thrive. Recent history shows that this is possible. Remember Ronald Reagan? Here’re some sobering facts about Ronald Reagan2 .
Reagan fought against civil rights for African Americans.
Reagan vetoed an anti-apartheid bill.
Reagan’s economic policies caused a spike in unemployment and led to severe income inequality.
Whatever Donald Trump policies are toward Black Americans in the future is, other presidents such as Woodrow Wilson3 and Ronald Reagan have made life difficult also. Here’s some information from a previous Jay Harold post pointing out some of the valid reasons why African Americans feel that they aren’t part of the American “Dream.
We need Affordable Healthcare Insurance: It’s Being Taken Away
Jay Harold has worked as a pharmacist for over 25 years. Heartache, pain, and suffering are my constant companions at work. When 14.6% of African Americans4 of all ages are in fair or poor health; this misery is to be expected. The one obvious thing about healthcare is; money is important to better healthcare. Obamacare5 was increasing access to healthcare for everyone, but African Americans were particularly vulnerable because their median weekly first quarter 2015 wages were below the U.S. national average. Black Americans earned $650 weekly6 while Whites earned $835, and Asians earned $966 weekly. The overall median U.S. weekly wage is $776 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Will Donald Trump eliminate Obamacare? He has promised his supporters that he will. What health care plan will take Obamacare’s place? That’s to be determined, but it’s doubtful that a better health care plan comes out in the next four years.
We Know People in Jail
Black Americans are locked up in federal prisons at a rate three times7 their population according to a June 2015 report from the Federal Bureau Of Prisons. The real problem is that other groups use drugs, but they aren’t punished at the same rate as African Americans. A Washington Post article8 states, “Even more surprising is what gets left out of the chart: Blacks are far more likely to be arrested for selling or possessing drugs than whites. This even though whites use drugs at the same rate. And whites are more likely to sell drugs.”
The Sentencing Project reports that 1 out of 13 African-Americans9 can’t vote because of felony convictions. The felony convictions reduce the role of Blacks in the American democratic process. The false accusations of Voter Fraud10 directed at Black Americans lead many to conclude that this is intentional. What have Black People done to deserve this?
Donald Trump has called for more Law and Order in America. Does this mean more Black Americans are going to jail?
Some Neighborhoods are Bad: Not All!
It’s true that almost every black neighborhood could benefit from things taken for granted in other areas. There are many “Stop Six11 ” type communities throughout the country. “Stop Six’s” economic status compared to Fort Worth, Texas, in general, isn’t uncommon in America. Jay Harold has visited numerous cities such as Detroit, New Orleans, Chicago, Los Angeles, and St. Louis. What Jay Harold saw on the Southside of Chicago seemed more like a prison camp. Select neighborhoods were flooded with cameras and police cars waiting on the perimeters.
Black neighborhoods need economic development and improvements in the infrastructure like more parks and sidewalks. Aggressive law enforcement isn’t necessary.
Where’s the money coming from to fix our communities when Donald Trump wants tax cuts and to reduce entitlements?
We Always Defend America
America has always called upon Black men in time of need. Jesse Owens12 showed the Nazis on their turf that they weren’t the “Master Race.” Joe Louis13 lost to Max Schmeling in their first fight, and Adolf Hitler portrayed Schmeling as a symbol of Aryan racial superiority. The second fight lasted 124 seconds, and Joe Louis destroyed that myth.
The U.S. Military has many heroic African-Americans who have served their country proudly. Benjamin O. Davis14 , Michelle Howard15 , and Colin Powell16 are just three of many examples of those have served the country.
Black Americans have and will contribute many great ideas to help make America a better place. Let’s hope Donald Trump doesn’t think we are one of the reasons why America isn’t great anymore.
Maya Angelou said, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”