Donald Trump and his Republican cohorts in Congress, part of the
effort to “Make America Great Again” includes waging a
war on government as a positive force in lifting people up and
improving their lot, while using more repressive police tactics in
the name of “law and order.” And this war will most
certainly be a war on black people.
of the areas where this war will be waged is in the nation’s
public schools, of which the majority of students are children of
color. Enter Betsy
DeVos, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education.
has no experience in education, nor has she or her family attended
public schools. Rather, she is a billionaire education lobbyist who
has devoted her time and resources to the privatization of public
education, including promoting charter schools and taxpayer-funded
vouchers for private and religious schools. In Michigan, she has
money into charter schools and pushed for state laws that have
led to reduced accountability and oversight. Further, 80 percent of
charter schools in Michigan are run by for-profit companies, the
highest in the nation.
wasteland that is the Detroit public school system — a mess
DeVos helped create — is a poignant example of what is in store
for America’s majority black and brown public schools. DeVos
public schools a “dead end,” and advocated for the
shutdown of the Detroit public schools, replacing them with a
free-market, for-profit system of privately-owned and unregulated
billionaire fought and succeeded in lifting the cap on charter
schools in Michigan and allowing failing charters, of which many are
the worst performing schools in the city, to expand and replicate.
After New Orleans, Detroit has the most
students in charter schools of any city in America. And half of
the Detroit charters are performing either worse than or merely just
as well as traditional schools.
the Republicans want to cut federal jobs and have revived an obscure
rule allowing Congress to reduce the pay of an individual federal
employee to $1, effectively killing the U.S. civil service system.
When it comes to employees, the federal government is heavily black,
accounting for about 1
in 5 federal workers, far in excess of their representation in
the general workforce. As an employer of last resort amid a sea of
racial discrimination in the private sector, particularly in places
such as the U.S. Postal Service, the government helped build the
black middle class.
fact, African-Americans are 30
percent more likely to work for federal, state and local
government. And already, black federal employees were hardest
hit by public sector losses during the Great Recession, with
blacks more likely to face unemployment than whites and Hispanics,
and the black/white employment gap for women increasing nearly six
times in the years after the recession. So, the plan by conservatives
to cut government will only further hurt us and impact us the most.
as Trump cuts our government jobs and shuts down our schools for a
buck, he will make sure that we have sufficient number of police
officers to bash in the heads of black
men, women and children, and bullets to rip through their bodies
as their corpses are left sitting in the middle of the street.
the campaign, Trump touted his promise to bring back “law and
order” to black communities he said were ravaged by crime. He
even vowed to institute a nationwide “stop and frisk”
policy as a selling point to African-Americans, as if to court black
voters in a perverse fashion by promising more racial profiling and
police brutality in urban communities. The Fraternal Order of Police,
which has railed against Black Lives Matter and critics of police
abuse, is on board with the Trump program of heightened monitoring
and harassment of the black neighborhoods.
things a step further, the nation’s largest police union
expects the new president to reverse
the ban on racial profiling in federal agencies, ditch police
bodycams and data collection on the use of force, and cut off aid to
“sanctuary cities” that protect undocumented immigrants
from deportation. “Our members believe he will make America
safe again,” the rightwing group said in its endorsement of
Trump and the GOP, who detest big government, government will shrink,
and black public sector workers will pay the ultimate price. This as
public taxpayer money will be siphoned from public schools that serve
predominantly black children and go into the hands of education
profiteers in the name of the free market. And all black people will
have left are more cops to make their lives miserable and take their
lives with even greater frequency.
this is not a declaration of war, then what is? Now is the time for
the black community to be prepared for battle and resist the
onslaught coming on so many fronts.
This commentary originally appeared in The Grio