President Donald Trump toured the National Museum of African American History and Culture Tuesday and offered an olive branch to black America.
But will African-Americans accept it?
Trump, who only received about 8 percent of the Black vote during the presidential election, pledged Tuesday to confront racism and create a bridge of unity for what he called a “divided country.”
“Today and every day of my presidency I pledge to do everything I can to continue that promise of freedom for African-Americans and for every American,” Trump said.
Trump called his tour “a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry and hatred and intolerance.”
“We’re going to bring this country together. We have a divided country that’s been divided for many, many years, but we’re going to bring it together,” Trump said.
So what did Trump learn? And will Black Americans take his visit to the museum seriously? Well, many Twitter users were unimpressed.
Trump has plenty of work to do. During the campaign, the president pledged to reduce crime in inner cities but he offended many African-Americans by characterizing Black neighborhoods as crime-infested ghettos where people are afraid to leave their homes for fear of being shot.
While this narrative is certainly true in some predominantly Black neighborhoods in Chicago, Milwaukee and Baltimore, it is a broad-brush description and shows Trump’s lack of understanding about America’s Black communities.
But on Tuesday, Trump appeared more willing to acknowledge the outright racism that Black Americans and Jews are still experiencing today.
“This tour was a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms,” Trump said. “The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.”
The problem with Trump is that he makes a declarative statement on an issue one day and refutes his own comments the next day. He’s a walking contradiction so, in the case of his pledge to fight racism and bigotry, we’ll see if his legislative policies back up his rhetoric.
If Trump seriously wants to end racism, will he, for example, strike down Stop and Frisk, where police pull over, detain, and in some cases arrest innocent black and Hispanic drivers?
Will the president end his Muslim ban?
Will he help change a police culture where unarmed Black men and women are being shot to death? Or disavow and fire known white nationalist sympathizers like advisors Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller? Will The Justice Department under new Attorney General designee Jeff Sessions enforce the serious police reforms recommended by the Obama administration?
I heard Trump’s call. Now I’m waiting for action.
What do you think?