In a New York Times op-ed, Belafonte tears apart Trump’s Platinum Plan, calling it an empty promise
Famed singer and activist Harry Belafonte published an Op-Ed in the New York Times on Election Day imploring readers to recognize that Black people had a lot to lose and have more to lose under the Trump administration.
“If the president wins again, we have so much more to lose,” he warned.
The comments from the 93-year-old singer and activist are a rift on an infamous message then-presidential candidate Donald Trump made in a half-hearted appeal to Black voters: “what the hell do you have to lose?”
“Our lives, as we died in disproportionate numbers from the pandemic he has let flourish among us. Our wealth, as we have suffered disproportionately from the worst economic drop America has seen in 90 years,” said Belafonte, a son of Jamaican immigrants. “Our safety, as this president has stood behind those police who kill us in the streets and by the armies of white supremacy who march by night and scheme in the light of day.”
Belafonte goes on to note that Trump incited some of the worst and most frequent violence this country has seen in some time.
Under Trump’s leadership, Belafonte believes that the killings of Black people, including Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Atatiana Jefferson, Stephon Clark and many more, were not treated with appropriate care.
“We have learned the names that we say now, over and over again, at each protest, so that no one will forget them,” Belafonte wrote. “Such killings did not start with Mr. Trump, of course. But he wants us to forget them.”
Belafonte goes on to tear apart Trump’s Platinum Plan, his campaign’s plan for Black voters. He writes off the two-page plan as a bereft list of what Trump thinks will entice Black voters: prosecute the Ku Klux Klan and antifa activists as terrorists, make Juneteenth a holiday and make “peaceful” Black and urban neighborhoods, among other eye candy.
Belafonte seems to think Trump continuously and willingly misses the point when speaking to and about Black people.
According to recent polling data, Trump may be pulling in more of the Black male vote than he did in 2016. Belafonte says that although he doesn’t know exactly why this is, he urges his fellow Black men to listen better. He believes that if they really look at Trump’s promises and subsequent results, they may change their tune.
“In his ignorance or his indifference, or perhaps in his contempt, Mr. Trump does not seem to understand the difference between promises made and promises kept,” wrote Belafonte in the Election Day opinion piece.
Belafonte then touches on the history of Black oppression in the U.S., the small victories that were won over time, and how eventually those victories faded and Black people were left in the same position they were in.
“Too often, the victories we have won have proved to be ephemeral or incomplete, and our full acceptance as Americans has once again been denied,” Belafonte said.
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