Donald Trump being completely out of touch with the sensitivity of issues important to the majority of Black voters should come as a surprise to no one at this point, but he yet again made his lack of understanding abundantly clear with a series of indirectly insensitive comments made during a recent campaign rally in Wisconsin.
Keeping with the “Make America Great Again” theme of his presidential campaign, Trump was reflecting on the periods in American history that he believed were the most economically progressive and “strong” when he referenced the Industrial Revolution and the Ronald Reagan era.
“The industrial revolution was certainly ― in terms of economically ― that was when we started to grow,” he told the crowd. “I liked the Ronald Reagan years. I thought the country had a wonderful, strong image.”
While the Industrial Revolution may have been a time of “growth” in the eyes of white Americans, it was the hard work and involuntary enslavement of African-Americans that made that time period what it was. Trump’s celebratory disposition when speaking about such a painful period that did irreparable damage to African-Americans as a whole is simply unacceptable. Additionally, the Ronald Reagan era was also a period in our country’s history that proved detrimental to the well-being of the African-American community.
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As pointed out by The Huffington Post, Ronald Reagan was in office from 1981 – 1989 — a time period when the crack cocaine epidemic was destroying Black communities and the war on drugs kickstarted what became years of a mass incarceration cycle that still has yet to be broken.
If Trump and his team are truly interested in appealing to the hearts of Black voters, this type of commentary certainly isn’t the way.