I recently saw a TV episode where Roland Martin led a panel discussing President Donald Trump’s plan to provide increased financial support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Led by Omarosa Manigault and the White House Office of Civic Engagement, the President met with representatives of these schools to outline his plans for improved funding of these institutions. It is most certainly needed. These colleges and university provide an invaluable service in educating young Black people to be contributing members of society and still educate the majority of Black doctors, engineers, teachers and lawyers. Take the money and try to make things better. But that is not enough.
The problems that the Black community faces are much more than what happens with HBCUs, although that is an important element. The issues of education, justice, political empowerment, healthcare, and economic disparity are also important as is the issue of racism in our society. They can’t be solved by doing one thing. I ran into a preacher who said because Trump invoked the name of Jesus Christ in the inauguration that things were going to be OK. Well what about Trump’s policies?
With the appointment of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary, or even Dr. Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, are we confident that the path forward will serve us all? Are we convinced that the super-rich and those who inherited wealth have a good idea of what a poor person in America goes through? Do Don King, Kanye West, and Steve Harvey represent the leadership of the Black community? I, for one, am not convinced that they do. Nor am I convinced that Donald Trump really cares for Black people.
Caring would mean that we do something about those in prison, not add more police. Caring would make our public schools better, not make it easier to go to charters. Caring would be to make sure you respect other people as human beings, not label them as illegals, rapists, murderers, thugs, criminals, or even radicals. Caring would be transparent, not hiding or vilifying anything or anybody who believes differently by a 144 character tweet. Caring would be ensuring more people are provided health care protection, not kicking them out to die. Caring is not appearing supportive. It is actually being supportive.
Sometimes, we are hoodwinked into believing that some means all. Whether it is homosexuality, reproductive rights, or issues around HBCUs, while some might agree with you on some things, it does not mean we agree with you on all issues. For progress to continue, we must commit ourselves and our country to eradicate those things where there exist great disparities in our society. They are symbolic of a deeper illness that must be addressed if we are to become the place of our promise, the place of our destiny.