Chances are Kanye West, Dennis Rodman, Diamond and Silk won’t be giving any thumbs up to a new report from the social justice group Demos.
The public policy organization fights for racial equity, an expanded middle class and shaving the amount of money used in politics. Demos has just released a landmark report exclusively to theGrio explaining its studied view of why the Trump administration is bad for Black people and they have receipts.
The 11-page report titled “Social Exclusion: Black People Have Everything to Lose Under Trump” is in honor of next week’s Juneteenth celebration. The annual commemoration of June 19th, 1865, is when the Union Army finally reached the last corner of Texas to let the slaves there know what all the other slaves across the country already knew – they were finally “free.”
The report examines the interpretation of freedom, equality, inclusion and how this current administration has practiced what it calls “social exclusion,” a set of decisions and actions that have systematically moved many Black Americans further away from a decent quality of life. Actions cited in the report range from defunding federal offices committed to racial justice to referring to our ancestral land as “sh*t countries.”
“Juneteenth is normally a time for rejoicing, but this year, Demos has chosen to consider the rights, opportunities, and commitments to racial redress that Black people are losing because of the Trump administration,” the report reads.
Demos has laid it out for plain as day. If you were ever confused before, don’t be. Here are 10 bonafide ways life is even more of a struggle for us under Donald Trump.
1. Ramping up Mass Incarceration and Suppressing Civil Rights
Just as President Obama was beginning to have some success reversing the incarceration trends born from the era of drug sentencing disparities and “Three Strikes You’re Out,” here comes President Trump reversing matters, according to the report.
Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has directed his prosecutors to pursue mandatory-minimum sentences where they can chase marijuana prosecutions – both trends have been shown to disproportionately affect Black Americans.
In fact, some of the actions of the Department of Justice might have those who took part in “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Ala., cringing. The DOJ is pushing for voter roll purges, declared unlawful by the National Voter Registration Act. The agency also has proposed a budget that does not include the Community Relations Service, an office mandated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ease racial tensions. And, the Office has pushed back at efforts to reform troubled police departments. It tried to back out of a consent decree issued in 2017 for the Baltimore Police Department, even though the mayor and police chief backed it.
2. Failing to Address the Black Economic Recession
Trump likes to boast that his administration pushed down the Black unemployment rate, but this trend actually started in 2011 under Obama, the report says.
In fact, Trump’s administration has had little effect on Black bank accounts, Demos reports. The Black unemployment rate continues to be twice that of whites, as it has been since 1964, according to the report.
3. Taking Money Out of Black Pockets
The Trump administration is working to take jobs from Black employees, the report says.
The White House has suspended a rule enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – the discrimination police of U.S. businesses – to report how they compensate their workers, broken down by race and other factors. Trump’s camp also refused to defend in court an overtime pay rule, a move that has cost people of color an estimated $1.2 billion yearly.
4. Ending Protection from Predatory Lenders
Black people have traditionally gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to interest rates, affordable home loans, credit cards and the like. Congress may have established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after the 2008 financial crisis to help close the gap, but the Trump administration has figuratively said, “Not so fast,” according to the report.
Under the current administration the agency has rolled back a parade of rules that protect Black consumers and communities from “abusive and discriminatory lending.” Among the actions: pulling back on cases against payday lenders that charge 400 percent or more to people who have a hard time securing traditional loans.
5. Helping Predatory For-Profit Colleges Rip Off Black Students
President Obama tried to lasso colleges that tried to load up students with debt. He even tried to push for loan forgiveness for students who borrowed to pay for schools that ultimately went under, but again, this White House is saying, “Not so fast.”
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has weakened a protection called the Borrower Defense Rule, which helps student borrowers win forgiveness if they’ve been defrauded by a college. The administration also has proposed cuts to the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.
6. Ignoring the Affordable Housing Crisis and Segregation
Black people are 41 percent of the homeless population and a third of Black renters spend more than half their income on rent. Knowing these facts, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is moving forward with plans to make living even harder for Black Americans, the report says.
Recently, HUD has weighed tripling public housing rents, according to Demos.
Thanks Ben Carson.
7. Starving Poor Families
In what some might see as an act of possible mistrust of aid recipients, the administration is proposing to rework its Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, so that the agency chooses what food and sends it to recipients, as opposed to allowing them to shop for themselves.
The White House also proposes $200 billion in cuts over 10 years to SNAP as well as to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC.
“These policies will likely increase hunger in Black America,” the report says.
8. Aiding in the Declining Health of Black Communities
Trump’s administration has worked at emasculating the Environmental Protection Agency, a move which disproportionately will put a dent in the already struggling quality of life for Black Americans, who already are exposed to pollution in much larger numbers than others.
9. Homeland Insecurity for Black Immigrants and Black Muslims
The report points out that Trump’s administration has busied itself coming for Black people from other countries and Black people who follow the Islamic faith.
Remember during his presidential campaign, Trump demanded blocking Muslims from entering the country. The Department of Homeland Security ended a program to award visas to Haitian workers after Hurricane Matthew. At the same time, the administration is “lax on policing, preventing, and condemning white supremacist terrorism” and in fact, policies pushed by the White House encourage this way of thought.
10. Trump is slowly killing us off
The report concludes with this heading: “The Trump Administration Harms African Americans.” What does this really mean? The report makes it plain as day.
“On this Juneteenth, it is appropriate to remember the history of the Black freedom struggle, because the future of health, safety and prosperity of Black America depends on the commitment of people to join in and continue that struggle.”
Stay woke, y’all and check out the full report.