Name call if you must, unearthing the most hurtful and dated of labels – like Coon and Sambo – to describe African-Americans who meet, or who are willing to meet, with President-Elect Mr. Donald J. Trump is surely your prerogative, but at the end of your tirade, understand the world is still spinning, the business of American government must continue, and someone representing disadvantaged communities over the next four years must eventually come to the big table and inquire of or demand resources for the least of these.
As appears to be the case, many African-Americans, some who even work tirelessly to shed the monolith portrait of the race painted by others, in this moment seem to want everyone of black and brown skin to think and act alike in an unprecedented and absolute showing of solidarity and resistance. Those who I’m referring to, in my opinion, present logic that’s illogical: totally resist the country’s chief executive – due to his off-putting personality and perceived disastrous politics – and the resources which are at his arm’s length, while attempting to improve communities of color at-scale, both socially (education) and financially (jobs and opportunities to diversify incomes).
In other words, community leaders are now selling the idea they can be successful in advancing communities without even the slightest assistance of the American government, and all the agencies within, though no real social change in this country, particularly that which benefited people of color, has ever been achieved in a silo and absent of the federal government.
Furthermore, those with intentions of absolute resistance to Mr. Trump are equating the act of meeting with him to an endorsement of his agenda and the normalizing of his presidency, and that’s not truly accurate. Mr. Trump will be the President of the United States of America, and while resistance is necessary because of how dangerous and divisive his presidency could be based on the rhetoric he espoused, absolute resistance will neither reverse the Electoral College’s decision, nor benefit the least of these who depend on community leaders and advocates to work in their best interest: those who desperately want to work to feed their family and who want to rise out of poverty are likely nonpartisan in terms of where their help comes from.
“When it comes to resources in our community, both the Democrats and the Republicans have failed us tremendously. When you go into the heart of the community, and talk to those who are struggling financially, they couldn’t care less where the resources are coming from. Our communities of color are in no position to turn down resources; it’s not about Donald Trump, it’s about the people,” Mr. Anton Moore, a community advocate who spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention and who strongly dislikes the President-elect, said in a statement to Techbook Online.
If jobs are on the table, grants for arts and culture are available, and plans for widespread affordable quality housing are in the pipeline, how can those who call themselves leaders not fight to bring them to their constituents? Every day in the real-world people work with those they despise to get what they desire, this context – a petty man-child who stoked the flames of racial fire, both subliminally and directly, and won the presidency amid great controversy – is no different.
Maligning every individual who chooses to meet with Mr. Trump – as the public has done to Mr. Steve Harvey, Mr. Kanye West, Mr. Martin Luther King, III, and others – and completely refusing over the next four years to engage a bureaucracy that won’t evaporate is rather short-sided and could be prove to be self-destructive. Opting to deny one’s self the opportunity to walk on common ground when it exist, simply because of hurt feelings or because of intense unhappiness, is like a child who, not satisfied with the team he’s been assigned, sitting on the sidelines for the duration of the game.
Games don’t stop due to your unwillingness to play them; instead, stubborn players are just replaced. New leaders will certainly emerge in the space left open by those who walked away from their responsibility to do what’s right for the business of community development, not the business of self-promotion. Leaders’ dislike of Mr. Trump shouldn’t have to be inherited by their constituents, nor should their abhorrence of him impact the potential flow of resources.
Leadership, like life, is about balance and moderation, not absolutes.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™