Here's one thing Donald Trump could do to get black Americans on his side

Forget meeting Steve Harvey and promising to do better by African-Americans than the Clintons did. This will work

By D. Watkins

Editor at Large

Published January 18, 2017 6:30PM (EST)

Donald Trump shakes hands with comedian Steve Harvey in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York   (AP/Evan Vucci)
Donald Trump shakes hands with comedian Steve Harvey in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York (AP/Evan Vucci)

The most painful inauguration in the history of inaugurations is running toward us. I was always taught to stand tall and to never run away from pain, so I’m gearing up to go to Donald Trump’s first big day in D.C. and see all of the closet racists, proud racists and Uncle Toms bask in his Russian-hacked glory.

It should be easy to find them because I’m sure that about 99 percent of the rallying kind of Trump supporters can’t afford to stay in Trump’s D.C. hotel. The bulk of them will probably be hugged up in tents all over the city’s parks, and when they get sick from the cold, their Obamacare should still cover them. It hasn’t been repealed yet.

One of the saddest moments for me will be seeing the beautiful Obama family walk away from the White House, leaving the door open for Trump, his 200th wife and clone-like adult kids. It's like we jumped 100 years ahead with President Barack Obama and his progressive administration, only to fall 1,000 years back to an administration full of people who discriminate and deal in racist ideologies.

But I’m ready for them and willing to do whatever it takes to preserve our rights. Before those battles begin, however, I’d like to offer some advice to Trump on what he could do to counter his downward-trending popularity by growing his support among black people and truly unifying the country.

If you listen to Trump, you know that he has had multiple conversations about race in which he has clearly denied being a racist. He has said he can and wants to help “the blacks” in ways that, for example, Bill and Hillary Clinton never did. I think that’s going to be super easy since the Clintons were responsible for the policies that sent my whole family and neighborhood to prison for nonviolent crimes.

Trump’s path to building a coalition with black Americans is simple. First, stop tweeting BS. Second, Trump needs to understand that meeting with black people — I can’t even call them leaders, just African-Americans nobody listens to like Steve Harvey and Martin Luther King III — is never going to move the dial. The key to getting respect from black people is paying reparations for slavery.

Come on, Donald, make America honest and progressive like Germany and pay “the blacks” back for centuries of servitude, racist Jim Crow laws and systemic mistreatment. Cut a check!

The government doesn’t even have to pay all black people. It can hold out on the washed-up sellouts like Raven-Symoné, Stacey Dash, Ray Lewis and the rest of the #AllLivesMatter-America-doesn’t-have-a-race-problem black people. The U.S. is just fine for them, even when Trump joyfully led rallies with racist rhetoric, egging on crowds of cowards who covered themselves with swastikas and Confederate flags. Trump can also hold out on the black celebrities who said stupid things like “African Americans don’t cash for reparations; they need free college!” (Please, celebrities, speak for yourself.)

You can keep the collection of remedial classes and pointless electives that add up to a liberal arts degree in this rough job market for black people. I’ll take the cash.

It’s that simple; we will believe your talk if you pay up. It’s not a handout: Enslaved Africans, our ancestors, really did build America. That’s not up for debate.

By D. Watkins

D. Watkins is an Editor at Large for Salon. He is also a professor at the University of Baltimore and founder of the BMORE Writers Project. Watkins is the author of the New York Times best-selling memoirs “The Beast Side: Living  (and Dying) While Black in America” and "The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir," as well as "We Speak For Ourselves: How Woke Culture Prohibits Progress." His new book, "Black Boy Smile: A Memoir in Moments," is out now.

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Donald Trump Race Racism Reparations