The Republican candidate for president of the United States is trying a new approach in his efforts to address the black community. He's now arguing that things are so bad in the black community, they can't get any worse if people vote for him. Not, "Here are the plans I have to improve these specific conditions." But literally, "What the hell do you have to lose?" It's the campaign equivalent of the Kanye shrug.
Here are words Donald J. Trump actually delivered in a speech in Michigan on Friday (August 19): "What do you have to lose by trying something new like Trump? ... You're living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 % of your youth is unemployed — what the hell do you have to lose?"
We're not so sure about that, Mr. Trump. There is a lot to lose because the black community isn't District 12 in the The Hunger Games. Here are just 12 reasons why:
A. Let's address the poverty part:
1. African-American income growth rates outpaced those of non-Hispanic whites at every annual household income level above $60,000.
2. The largest increase for black households occurred in the number of households earning over $200,000, with an increase of 138%, compared with a total population increase of 74%.
3. According to Nielsen, black households earning $75,000 or more per year are growing faster in size and influence than whites in all income groups above $60,000.
4. Black buying power is expected to reach $1.2 trillion this year, and $1.4 trillion by 2020, according to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth. That is so much combined spending power that it would make black America the 15th largest economy in the world in terms of Gross Domestic Product, the size of Mexico, based on World Bank data.
B. "Your schools" is a pretty vague statement, so we'll focus on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, ones that would explicitly fall under the umbrella of "your schools":
5. First off, the high school graduation rates for black students increased to over 70% in 2013, outpacing the growth for all students in the nation, via Nielsen.
6. It follows that black college enrollment rates increased as well, from 59.3% in 2013 to 70.9% in 2014, exceeding that of both whites and Hispanics. That’s the highest percentage of black enrollment since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking the data.
7. According to the UNCF, HBCUs represent only 3% of all American colleges and universities, and enroll only 14% of all black college students, but they have produced: 70% of all black dentists and physicians, 50% of all black engineers, 50% of all black public school teachers, and 35% of all black attorneys.
8. Graduation rates at HBCUs that fall under the UNCF's purview are higher than the average African-American graduation rates at majority institutions.
9. And based on affordability, earnings potential, representation and graduation rates, Florida A&M University, Spelman College, and North Carolina A&T University — three HBCUS — were found to be better for black students than Columbia, Georgetown, Brown University, Dartmouth, Emory...the list goes on.
C. Now on to the part where black people "have no jobs." They're actually creating them:
10. Black women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S. As of 2016, there are about 1.9 million black women-owned companies, employing 376,500 workers and generating $51.4 billion in revenues, according to an American Express report.
D. And for unemployment:
11. Not sure where Trump gets this 58% figure, or what exactly qualifies as "youth." The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found July's unemployment rate among 16-to-19-year-old black Americans to be 25.7 %. That's high, yes, but Trump's number is twice as high.
12. While national black unemployment overall is higher than every other demographic, it dropped to 8.3% in December, the lowest since September 2007, before the recession began.
We'll stop there, but of course it's worth noting that there are conditions that can stand to improve in the black community. As the saying goes, "When America catches a cold, black people catch the flu." Even though that's the case, Trump is prescribing insults, not medicine. And here is every voter registration deadline, by state.