Breaking non-fake news: Water is wet, and President Agent Orange is EXACTLY who we thought he was (RIP Denny Green). However, apparently there are dozens of highly important, presumably respectable black folks who still haven't got the memo. Unfortunately, you can add to the list of pawns - currently occupied by names like the semi-sane Kanye West, the recently-vindicated Steve "how can you fit both shuck and jive in that suit" Harvey, and Ray "murderer-suspect-turned-saint" Lewis - essentially every primary decision maker charged with protecting our historically Black institutions of higher learning.
This week, 91 Presidents of HBCUs from across the country walked through the doors of the Oval Office with all the best intentions in the world. They sought the financial support needed to keep the doors open at institutions that are responsible for educating nearly 300,000 people of color per year. That money could potentially go to increased research, improved facilities, and financial assistance. One of those leaders attempted to justify his presence, saying "if you're not at the table, you're not on the menu". While, in any other administration, that statement would hold a great deal of validity, this presidency is unlike any in history. I take issue not with the motive, but with the level of naiveté it must have taken to believe that Donald J. Trump would be the person to provide them with their needs.
I'm questioning exactly what part of his track record makes you think that he is in any way vested in (a) education, or (b) the success of people of color? Was it the appointment of Betsy DeVos - the despicable soul who believes that HBCUs are a shining example of school choice, not of an adaptation to a systemic denial of access - to head the Department of Education? Was it the transparency in manner in which he vocalized his plan to defund that very administration? Was it his glowing endorsement of communities and schools inhabited by people of color? You were so enamored with the visit that none of the elder negroes in the room noticed the gremlin Rick Jamesing on the good furniture - not a single shoe was thrown. Nevertheless, those 91 presidents flooded the oval office, eyes wide open yet still blinded by all of its glitz, glam, and tacky golden curtains, expecting - for whatever reason - something other than letdown.
And letdown is exactly what they received. The following day, the executive order signed by Agent Orange was (un)surprisingly void of any increases in financial support. In a moment of clarity, the President of Morehouse College said, "We got played". Nah brother, y'all played yourselves. You put on the biggest Sambo smiles you could muster, lathered yourselves up in honey, strapped pounds of raw salmon to your bodies, and laid in bed with a damn grizzly bear. Your justification? You hoped - with no clear indications - that bear magically decided to go vegan at some point in the 24 hours prior to your meeting. You took a gamble that the person behind the $300 Million email was really your long lost billionaire uncle from Nigeria and not some con-artist scammer.
You lost that gamble, bigly.
Now you are left with pie on your face (or a strategically-placed Jordan meme). But more importantly, you let down the more than 300,000 students that you represent. You walked through the door expecting to take form a partnership with a man who's 50-year business model was screwing over his partners. You hoped that your seat at the table would include a meal. Your mistake came in ignoring the fact that the host openly advertised his intentions to pour the entire pot of food on the floor for no other reason than to watch you go hungry. You approached an irrational man with rational exceptions. Now, you have been relegated to convenient photo-op; you're a snapshot in time - like Kanye West two days removed from a mental facility, like the group of black pastors, like Little Miss Flint, Michigan (who still doesn't have clean water) - that will one day soon be paraded around in a half-cocked effort to say "see, the blacks love me... look at the smiling faces". The only reason you got played is because you signed up for the game. You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes. For that reason, each and every one of you are the Bamas of the week.