Opinion: The White House is Gaslighting Black Americans One Tired Cliché at a Time

“One thing we’ve seen in a lot of the Black community, which is mostly Democrat, is that President Trump’s policies are the policies that can help people break out of the problems that they’re complaining about, but he can’t want them to be successful more than they want to be successful.” 

Jared Kushner, White House Senior Advisor

No matter how hard I try, I am unable to envision a lifestyle so sheltered, with grass so green, where I could truly believe the above statement in my heart of hearts. I genuinely cannot imagine that version of reality. I tried though because I really want to believe that statement was made in true ignorance and without malice. 

I want to imagine that those in leadership couldn’t possibly be so willfully ignorant of the  complications impacting the Black American experience. The conscious omission of our history, and history and reality is gaslighting at its finest. 

It’s cruel.

I would like to offer my shoes for Jared to walk a thousand miles in, and I’d give him a standing ovation if he completed two. Let’s consider what Black folks are “complaining” about. In the poorest neighborhoods schools lack resources from books to teachers. State funded positive recreational activities don’t exist. Contrary to welfare beliefs, hard working Black parents are trying to meet their families needs while being paid far less. The destruction of drugs and the resulting gang violence have long been rumored to be the result of corruption beyond the ghetto. 

The sad reality of the ghetto is it has stolen the dreams of the young. Young Black boys have more mug shots than school pictures. Many have died full of promise before they even had a chance. A dream of a better life takes radical faith. The decision to choose a better life is full of intentional, diabolical obstacles. Not that they are expected,  but there aren’t any handouts.

The generational shoulders we stand on didn’t go to school, they blistered under hot suns while picking cotton. They cooked and cleaned homes they didn’t have the right to live in. I’m not talking about long ago, in a far away land, or even some theoretical family. I am talking about MY grandma. Her strong shoulders are the ones we stand on. My mom went to and completed college, and my siblings and I have done the same and then some.

Please believe it is not just my family. As a people we are increasingly more interested in financial literacy, entrepreneurship, homeownership, organic gardening and homeschooling our children, and securing top positions such as “Vice President of the United States.” All of this, on top of constantly advocating (not complaining) for our basic needs.

Black people are fighting to be heard, included, and for our literal lives. So to hear we are somehow missing the magic ingredient of “wanting to be successful” is triggering. The ideal is foolish. It’s tired. 

Stop this. 

In the last four years we have collectively not seen nor felt real policy changes as they correlate to the Black American experience and I believe that has been reflected at the polls. 

Over the last few months, there has been protest after protest, and in denial of responsibility, leaders of the nation repeatedly stated they have the utmost respect for the American legal system and they trust its processes and outcomes. So in this moment, I for one suggest we all “stand back and standby,” and trust the outcome of the election. WITHOUT complaining.

A native of Phoenix, Arizona Aundrea Sayrie is a firm believer in the power of words, faith and a strong spirit. Her greatest desire is to encourage those around her to discover and honor their truth, and to passionately live on purpose.

Any views or opinions expressed in “Living on Purpose” are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Watershed Voice staff or its board of directors.