Home News LEONARD GREENE: Jim Crow comments highlight Florida Rep. Byron Donalds’ ignorance

LEONARD GREENE: Jim Crow comments highlight Florida Rep. Byron Donalds’ ignorance


Negro, please.

What else can you say to a man, a Black man, who ignorantly and defiantly suggests that a system of racially oppressive, state-sponsored terrorism that promoted and demanded a segregated society somehow benefited African Americans?

America, meet Byron Donalds, a Florida congressman touted in some circles as a potential running mate for Donald Trump.

I’m not saying that Donalds is ignorant. I’m saying that what he said was ignorant.

“You see, during Jim Crow, the Black family was together,” Donalds said last week in Philadelphia during a voter outreach campaign for Trump.

“During Jim Crow, more Black people were not just conservative — Black people have always been conservative-minded — but more Black people voted conservatively.”

Rather than apologize and just admit that what he said was stupid, Donalds, a Republican, doubled down on the mindless remark, saying that marriage rates among Blacks were higher when southern sheriffs were spraying protest crowds with water hoses and siccing dogs on children.

“What I said was is that you had more Black families under Jim Crow, and it was the Democrat polices under H.E.W., under the welfare state, that did help to destroy the Black family,” Donalds said later. “That’s what I said. I also said that you’re seeing a reinvigoration of Black families today in America, and that is a good thing.”

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump embraces Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., left, after speaking at the Black Conservative Federation's Annual BCF Honors Gala at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center in Columbia, S.C., Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump embraces Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., left, at the Black Conservative Federation’s Annual BCF Honors Gala in Columbia, S.C., Feb. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

OK, Donalds is ignorant. And I’m not the only one who thinks so.

“We were not better off when a young boy named Emmett Till could be brutally murdered without consequence because of Jim Crow,” said House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

“We were not better off when Black women could be sexually assaulted without consequence, because of Jim Crow. How dare you make such an ignorant observation? You better check yourself before you wreck yourself.”

The Congressional Black Caucus demanded that Donalds apologize to African Americans “for misrepresenting one of the darkest chapters in our history for his own political gain.”

What are they feeding them in Florida, which just happens to be Trump’s home base?

It was just last year the state’s governor, Ron DeSantis, endorsed new curriculum guidelines requiring educators to instruct middle school students that “slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

“I think it’s very clear that these guys did a good job on those standards,” DeSantis said at the time.

It was the dumbest thing said about slavery since Ben Carson, Trump’s former housing and urban development secretary, said that slaves were “immigrants.”

From left, Black Conservative Federation Founder and President Diante Johnson, former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, and Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., stand on stage before Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives to speak at the Black Conservative Federation's Annual BCF Honors Gala at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center in Columbia, S.C., Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
From left, Black Conservative Federation Founder and President Diante Johnson, former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson and Rep. Byron Donalds stand on stage before at the Black Conservative Federation gala in Columbia, S.C., Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Donalds needs to be reminded that the Jim Crow era was an ugly part of American history that erased much of the progress Blacks had made since the end of the Civil War.

Black men — and women — were lynched to enforce new oppressive laws to deny voting rights, quality education, decent housing and land ownership to generations of African Americans.

The congressman’s Jim Crow nostalgia moment came a full day after a federal appeals court blocked a venture capital fund from awarding $20,000 grants to businesses owned by Black women.

The court sided with conservative activist Edward Blum, whose anti-woke campaign against diversity initiatives targeted the Atlanta-based Fearless Fund, a venture capital firm founded by Black women to support Black women.

“I am shattered for every girl of color who has a dream but will grow up in a nation determined not to give her a shot to live it,” Fearless Fund founder and CEO Arian Simone said in a statement.

Expect more of this kind of anti-woke backlash if Trump is elected president again. Trump is making it worse by trotting out minions like Donalds, a potential running mate, in his campaign to win over Black voters.

They deserve each other.

But we deserve better.

 

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