by Dr. Linda Lee Tarver
If it was achieved under any president other than Donald Trump, the unprecedented economic success that black Americans are currently enjoying would be the toast of every African-American leader in the country. Unfortunately, political considerations have led many influential black voices on the left to overlook and downplay everything the Trump administration has done to empower the black community.
In August, the black unemployment rate hit another new all-time low: 5.5 percent. To put that in perspective, before Donald Trump took office, that figure had never even gotten down to 7.0 percent. As recently as 2014, the black community was contending with Great Depression-like unemployment rates of well over 10 percent. Things have changed dramatically in just a few short years, though. For instance, we just notched our 19th consecutive month with black unemployment below the previous all-time floor of 7 percent.
Perhaps more importantly for a country with such a deep and lingering legacy of slavery and racism, this is not merely a case of a rising tide lifting all boats. The economic miracle of the Trump era is creating prosperity for all Americans, but African-Americans have participated in that boom at an unprecedented level.
The gap between white and black unemployment is at its lowest point ever, at just 2.1 percent. Historically, the gap has averaged about double that, with black Americans usually being out of work at about twice the rate of their white neighbors. In 2011, for instance, 16.2 percent of black workers were unemployed, compared to 8 percent of whites
That sort of economic progress — much more so than tearing down statues and hosting “woke” classes at universities — is what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was trying to achieve: full African-American participation in the benefits and opportunities of American life.
We are not there yet. The “Dream” may take generations yet to fully achieve, but this administration has helped our community to make the largest strides toward full equality and equity in at least a generation. Not since President Abraham Lincoln has a President of these United States done more to advance the cause of black people and promote freedom from economic, social, academic, spiritual, and political bondage.
Black-white disparities in areas such as education and imprisonment are just as important as economics, and the Trump administration has proven it is willing to address those, as well. The FIRST STEP Act, for example, is the most important measure taken in a generation to alleviate the crippling effect that draconian criminal enforcement has had on the black community.
President Trump has also made expanding educational opportunities for African Americans a top priority from the very beginning of his administration.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have long offered a path for young African-Americans to join the great American middle class. Unfortunately, some HBCUs have struggled to carve out a place for themselves in the contemporary educational landscape. For example, Michigan lost its only HBCU, Detroit’s Lewis College of Business, in 2013.
That loss emphasizes the importance of President Trump’s historic investment in HBCUs. His budgets and future budget requests dramatically expand federal HBCU funding, and one of his earliest actions as President was to sign an executive order providing federal support to help ensure that HBCUs remain competitive options for college-bound black youth well into the future.
Of course, it’s also vital that African-American parents have similarly good options when it comes to primary and secondary education. Michigan’s own Betsy DeVos has, against extraordinary opposition, made school choice the prime motivation of her professional life, and she’s carrying on that legacy as Secretary of Education.
President Trump has done his best to secure that choice, urging the passage of a landmark school choice bill and requesting $500 million to boost the charter schools that provide parents — especially black parents — with a viable alternative to sending their children to failing schools based purely on their ZIP code.
Despite the incredible success African Americans have enjoyed thanks to this President’s policies, his detractors continue to malign him as a racist, or worse. I joined Black Voices for Trump because it’s absolutely imperative that we counter the dishonest liberal narrative with the real facts — starting with the undeniable fact that African Americans are prospering like never before.
If someone not named Donald Trump were running on this record, activists and community leaders would be lining up to call him a champion of black America. Since they can’t seem to summon the courage to break with their political patrons, we’ll just have to do it ourselves.
– – –
Dr. Linda Lee Tarver is the President of the Republican Women’s Federation of Michigan and serves as a member of the Black Voices for Trump coalition advisory board.
Photo “Dr. Linda Lee Tarver” by Dr. Linda Lee Tarver. Background Photo “Black Voices for Trump” by Black Voices for Trump.