OPINION: President Trump failed to properly acknowledge Black History Month

Black History Month is meant to be a time to honestly reflect on the past, celebrate excellence and look forward to a progressive future; however, President Trump didn’t get the memo.

On Jan. 31, President Trump signed the Presidential Proclamation of African-American History Month with all its flaws and glory. The first two paragraphs of the proclamation are fine but then there is the first sentence of the third paragraph.

It talks about how African -Americans moved from “farms” in the rural south to northern and midwestern areas of the country for industrial opportunities in the twentieth century. To call former plantations where African-Americans had to sign contracts with owners to sharecrop for little to no money “farms” is like saying African Americans were never slaves to begin with.

The historical figures mentioned in what was essentially a White House press release were self-made millionaire Annie Turnbo Malone, educator Mary McLeod Bethune, Booker T. Washington, singer Aretha Franklin and baseball player Jackie Robinson. For them, there was no mention of being descendants from “farms,” but instead descendants of slaves or in more northern parts of the country not focused on agriculture.

President Trump uplifted Aretha Franklin, a trailblazer whose voice transcended the music genre, but attacked Spike Lee for his award speech at the Oscars this past Sunday. Trump tweeted about how Lee did a “racist hit” on him when he, “has done more for African-Americans (criminal justice reform- lowest unemployment numbers in history- tax cuts, etc.) than almost any other pres!” Past presidents signing the Emancipation Proclamation, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 don’t compare to what President Trump has done, clearly.

Lee never mentioned the president in his acceptance speech. In his speech, the five-time Oscar nominee and first-time Oscar winner said this country was built upon the backs of slaves and that voters should “do the right thing” by making the right moral decision for the next president elected into office.

President Trump applauded the courage Jackie Robinson had when faced with racial inequality in baseball but called football players who kneeled during the national anthem to protest police brutality “sons of bitches” and “disgraceful,” according to NBC News. 

Falsifying any part of African -American heritage is a disservice to generations growing up in America. It defeats the purpose of having Black History Month. Aside from this fake news, no one should forget the history President Trump brought with him to his presidency.

President Trump just instituted a new measure for “Opportunity Zones,” to aid in building up destitute African-American communities. 

However, according to the New York Times, in 1973 President Trump denied allegations of racial bias while receiving complaints from civil rights groups about prospective African- American tenants claiming their applications were turned away because they were black

America is in dire need of a leader who will lead. This country has had enough of systemic racism, white supremacy and a self-absorbed bigot who said, “look at my African American over here,” like a black person is  still three-fifths a person or property during the era of slavery. 

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