Abraham Lincoln, when informed that General Ulysses S. Grant was a drunk, famously asked Grant's accusers what whiskey he was drinking so Lincoln could send a barrel to every general in the army. Keep this in mind when President Donald Trump's critics accuse him of "racism" against blacks.
Under this "racist" President, black unemployment, since the government began keeping numbers, hit an all-time low in May. Polls show that inner-city parents want choice in education: specifically, they want the means to opt out of sending their children to an under-performing government school the child has been mandated to attend. Think tanks on the left (like the Brookings Institution) and think tanks on the right (like the Heritage Foundation) pretty much agree on the formula to escape poverty: finish high school; get married before having a child; and do not have that child before you are financially capable of assuming that responsibility.
But what about the quality of that high school education? A 2004 Fordham Institute study found that 44 percent of Philadelphia public-school teachers with school-age children of their own placed them in private schools. By 2013, the nationwide average for private-school attendance was 11 percent of white families and 5 percent of black families. Clearly, Philadelphia teachers, on teachers' salaries, make the sacrifice to send their own kids where they have a better chance of success.
About choice in education, Trump's secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, said: "What can be done about (improving primary education) is empowering parents to make the choices for their kids. Any family that has the economic means and the power to make choices is doing so for their children. Families that don't have the power — that can't decide 'I'm gonna move from this apartment in downtown whatever to the suburb, where I think the school is gonna be better for my child' — if they don't have that choice and they are assigned to that school, they are stuck there. I am fighting for the parents who don't have those choices. We need all parents to have those choices."
A 2016 poll in "Education Next" found that 64 percent of blacks supported "a tax credit for individual and corporate donations that pay for scholarships to help low-income parents send their children to private schools." Similarly, A 2015 PDK/Gallup Poll found that 68 percent of blacks wanted the ability to "choose which public schools in the community the students attend, regardless of where they live."
Trump also wants to stop illegal immigration. Why should that matter to urban blacks? Harvard economist George Borjas, in his 2013 research paper "Immigration and the American Worker," wrote: "Classifying workers by education level and age and comparing differences across groups over time shows that a 10 percent increase in the size of an education/age group due to the entry of immigrants (both legal and illegal) reduces the wage of native-born men in that group by 3.7 percent and the wage of all native-born workers by 2.5 percent." As to illegal immigration, Borjas says: "Although the net benefits to natives from illegal immigrants are small, there is a sizable redistribution effect. Illegal immigration reduces the wage of native workers by an estimated $99 to $118 billion a year, and generates a gain for businesses and other users of immigrants of $107 to $128 billion."
But what about how the President "insults black people"? After Trump's recent testy exchange with a black reporter, CNN's Jeffrey Toobin said: "There is a racial dimension to this. The fact that the President is always — the idea that this was some random selection of journalists he doesn't like is not the case. It's always black people with this President." Really?
What race was Robert De Niro when Trump called him "a very low IQ individual"? What race was Rosie O'Donnell when Trump called her "dumb"? What race was MSNBC's Joe Scarborough when Trump called him "crazy"? What race was former Texas Gov. Rick Perry when, during a campaign speech, Trump mocked him for his eyewear? "He put on glasses so people think he's smart. ..." said Trump. "People can see through the glasses." What race was MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski when Trump called her "dumb as a rock"? How many white politicians does Trump slam when he criticizes "stupid" trade deals?
If Trump set out to hurt blacks by pushing economic policies that helped reduce black unemployment to an all-time low; by attempting to stop unskilled illegal alien workers from competing with unskilled blacks for jobs and wages; and by empowering inner-city black parents, rather than the government, to pick the school for their children, then Trump needs to go back to racism school.
Larry Elder is a best-selling author and nationally syndicated radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com. Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.