Lauren Victoria Burke
TRICE EDNEY NEWS WIRE
There was the proposed massive budget cut to the Department of Housing and Urban Development; the incessant rhetoric about a rise in crime in the nation, that lacked evidence to back it up; the threats of a renewed war on drugs.
There was even a failed attempt to bully Republican lawmakers into passing a flawed bill that sought to roll back the Affordable Care Act, a law that provides healthcare to millions of Americans.
Not one achievement
This was President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in the White House. Trump didn’t win a single legislative achievement during his first 100 days. For policies that impact the lives of African Americans, it was just as perilous as we thought it would be.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump often described the Black community as a monolithic, stereotypical caricature. Trump used the types of violent stereotypes one parrots after they’ve binge-watched 11 seasons of “Law & Order,” but have never actually been to an inner city.
Much of what Donald Trump focuses on is about undoing the accomplishments of Barack Obama.
The obsession with “alternative facts” and the erasure of Obama’s legacy continues to be Trump’s core focus.
Days before his 100th day in office, Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer blamed Obama for the fiasco surrounding Gen. Michael Flynn. The White House relieved Flynn, a loud supporter of Trump during the 2016 campaign, from his post as national security advisor on February 13; Flynn ended up holding the position for the shortest time in U.S. history (24 days) after it was reported that he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence.
Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions, perhaps the most dangerous federal official for African-Americans, sought to revive the “War on Drugs” that disproportionately impacted African-Americans in the 1980s and 1990s.
During a trip to Richmond, Va., on April 11 Sessions said: “We need to say, as Nancy Reagan said, ‘Just say no.’ Don’t do it…We can reduce the use of drugs, save lives and turn back the surge in crime that inevitably follows in the wake of increased drug use.”
None of this should be a surprise to the Black community. Sessions comes from Alabama, where incarceration is high art. Placing humans in cages is Alabama’s leading industry. At 70, Sessions is a stark reminder of another era. With so many Republicans embracing “smart on crime” policies, Sessions is determined to star in the movie “Groundhog Day” on federal crime policy.
America’s inmate population rose from 500,000 in 1980 to 2.2 million in 2015, making us No. 1 in the rate of incarceration in the world. When there’s an uptick in law enforcement, do more police show up in Manhattan or the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C.? Of course not.
A quick glance at the stop-and-frisk statistics the ACLU tabulated in New York City over a ten-year period to identify the communities that experienced the greatest number of interactions with police after an elected official (former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani) decided to “get tough on crime,” tells the story.
Pastor Darrell Scott of Cleveland, a Trump supporter, held a summit on gang violence in Washington D.C. on April 18. The focus was on crime in Chicago. Trump administration officials attended. Did they introduce or invite any policy proposals to address any of the underlying issues that plague some of the predominately Black neighborhoods (high unemployment, high poverty, poor schools)? Not quite yet.
During Trump’s first 100 days, he met with seven members of the Congressional Black Caucus. He also met with more than 100 presidents of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the Oval Office to take what would turn out to be a historic set of images.
The truth is obvious
It will take more than pictures and meetings for there to be verifiable evidence that President Trump wants to have a positive impact on the African-American community.
As Trump revealed during a recent interview, the presidency was tougher than he imagined.
Clearly policies impacting African-Americans rest in the hands of his appointed minions, many of whom have shown no interest in issues affecting the Black community.
Lauren Victoria Burke is a speaker, writer and political analyst. She appears on “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin every Monday. Contact her at LBurke007@gmail.com and on Twitter at @LVBurke.