聽a collaboration between Keith Boykin and Word In Black,聽
examines the issues, the candidates, and what鈥檚 at stake for Black America in the 2024 presidential election.


Black Republican Byron Donalds has come under fire for saying that 鈥渄uring Jim Crow, the .鈥

The Florida congressman made the remarks at a 鈥淏lack Americans for Trump鈥 event in 鈥渙ne of the 鈥 of Philadelphia on Tuesday that featured cigars, cognac, and out-of-towners, but no Black speakers from Pennsylvania.聽

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House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries responded by suggesting that Donalds was making a 鈥 that Black folks were better off during Jim Crow鈥 and cited a number of historical examples to disprove that claim.

Donalds by accusing Jeffries of lying about his remarks. 鈥淲hat I said was you had more Black families under Jim Crow,鈥 Donalds argued.

So, who鈥檚 telling the truth here?

Donalds鈥檚 claim that the Black family was 鈥榯ogether鈥 during this period repeats a popular myth of conservative nostalgia.

First, Jim Crow was the era between 1877 and 1964 when Black people were racially segregated by law in America. The total Black population was only in 1960 compared to today, so it鈥檚 technically impossible that there were 鈥渕ore Black families under Jim Crow.鈥

Second, Donalds actually seems to be making the conservative paternalistic argument that non-marital Black families aren鈥檛 really families. But who gave him the authority to decide ?

Third, Donalds鈥檚 claim that the Black family was 鈥渢ogether鈥 during this period repeats a popular myth of conservative nostalgia. I wrote about this myth in my , 鈥淲hy Does Everything Have to Be About Race?鈥 I tell the story of 14-year-old , who was raised in a working, in 1940s South Carolina. Stinney was wrongly accused of murdering a white girl but was convicted by an all-white male jury that took just 10 minutes to decide his fate.聽

The 14-year-old Black boy was sentenced to death and executed just weeks after he was arrested. Although Stinney鈥檚 parents did everything this country expects of Black families, they could not protect their child from white supremacy and state-sanctioned racial terrorism.

That鈥檚 what makes the contemporary romanticization of Black family history so disturbing. Were Black families 鈥渢ogether鈥 when the were wrongly accused of raping a white woman in 1931? Or when 14-year-old was lynched in 1955? Or when were murdered in a church bombing in Alabama in 1963?

Black fathers are actually more engaged with their children than we鈥檙e led to believe.

The conservative argument echoes a common refrain from Black Republicans who want to 鈥渕ake America great again.鈥 鈥 are one of the primary root causes of Black Americans鈥 current socioeconomic challenges,鈥 according to former Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill. If that were true, then what was the cause of rampant Black poverty and unemployment before these so-called 鈥渇atherless families鈥?聽

Contrary to stereotype, research has shown that Black fathers are actually more engaged with their children than we鈥檙e led to believe. A found that Black men were more likely than white men to bathe, dress, diaper, or eat meals with their children. And a Pew Research Center study found that Black fathers who don鈥檛 live with their children were more likely than white fathers to on a regular basis.

Former President Donald Trump greets Representative Byron Donalds in the Bronx on May 23. (Photo by Jeenah Moon for The 老澳门开奖网 Post via Getty Images)

Donalds, who has been desperately to be Trump鈥檚 running mate, claims that 鈥淒emocrat policies , under the welfare state鈥 helped to 鈥渄estroy the Black family.鈥 First, let鈥檚 be clear. HEW, the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, was under Republican President Dwight Eisenhower. And history indicates that white Americans had much less of a problem with government programs 鈥 from Social Security to the GI Bill to Medicare 鈥 when white people were the designated beneficiaries.聽

Second, the policies that Donalds attacks are the very policies that have helped Black families since the 1960s. As author Clay Cane noted in response to Donalds, the in America fell from 55% during the Jim Crow year of 1959 to a of 17% in 2022. And even more recently, President , another Democratic policy, reduced the rate of Black people without health insurance from 20% to 10% in just over 10 years.

Donalds follows the predictable Republican logic used from Ronald Reagan to the present that has tried to shift the burden of America鈥檚 problems from government and society to individuals and families. To do this, they deny or diminish the significance of structural racism, sexism, and economic inequality, and perpetuate outdated myths of Black inferiority.

From slavery to segregation to the present, Black families have been under social, political, and economic assault. The last thing our families need is Republicans blaming us for the problems that society helped to create.

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