Was Jared Kushner right to say Blacks have to ‘want to be successful’?


Fact Box

  • Jared Kushner is President Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law, married to Ivanka Trump. After his father’s financial scandal, he took over the family business in real estate. He also took on the title of newspaper publisher after his purchase of The New York Observer
  • Monday, Kushner stated on “Fox & Friends” that “Trump has policies that can help people break out of the problems that they’re complaining about, but he can’t want them to be successful more than they want to be successful.”
  • Kayleigh McEnany, White House press secretary, said Kushner’s statement was taken out of context to take away from Trump’s “undeniable record of accomplishment” for Blacks. 
  • Former President Obama criticized Kushner saying, “Who are these folks? What history books do they read? Who do they talk to?” Obama also critiqued Black unemployment via his presidency and Trump’s.

Elizabeth (Yes)

It's no secret the mainstream media is all-in on getting Trump out of office next week, therefore promoting stories that make either Trump or anyone around him look racist and out-of-touch are constantly elevated. Many numerous Black Americans, such as Candace Owens, Larry Elder, and countless others have positive things to say about President Trump, which results in the predictable, collective astoundment and disregard across the MSM. Though it's arguable Jared Kushner was the wrong person to front any message about Black Americans, what he said is a part of a larger conversation. The comments he made were regarding the recent collaboration with Ice Cube, which was a good thing for Black Americans.

Truth is, while Trump's mouth constantly gets him in trouble, his actions—at least in regards to what he's done for the Black population—shouldn't. During his first term, he's made HBCU funding permanent, passed the First Step Act, granted multiple clemencies and pardons, and poured billions into impoverished areas. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party perpetuates the idea that Black Americans are victims who have no control over their own destinies and that the only solution is to vote Democrat. But whether through unintended consequences or not, many of the party's policies have decimated Black neighborhoods.

There are a multitude of reasons for things like the #walkaway and #Blexit movement or the 1776 Unites organization. Much of the US's Black community is tired of messages telling them they have no autonomy, no capacity to better their own lives, and that systemic racism is to blame. From his exceedingly white, upper class, ivy league upbringing, Kushner is easy to hate, but that doesn't equate what he says as being untrue or toxic.

Andrew (No)

Lecturing Black Americans about the necessity of a desire to succeed only reinforces decades-old racist tropes that Blacks are somehow fundamentally lazy and unable to help themselves. Jared Kushner is wrong to say this because it reinforces the ridiculous and racist belief that the color of one's skin determines one's level of agency and industry. Rather than blaming Black Americans for their position, Kushner should examine the structural racism built into nearly all facets of life in America to see what's really keeping many Black Americans from success. This might mean closely examining his own privilege. It is frankly appalling that someone in his position of power would suggest that a minority isn't working hard enough to succeed. Speaking to black Americans this way is disrespectful, divisive, and unhelpful.

Even if Jared Kushner lacks the basic human empathy to understand the struggles of minorities in America, he surely should have realized that saying something so blatantly racist could harm his father-in-law's reelection campaign. President Trump, who already struggles with minority voters, is facing a tight election contest and cannot afford to lose any votes because of a callous remark from someone who is a member of both his family and his staff. In addition to losing Black voters, rude and racist comments from his administration could cause President Trump to lose White voters who have recently spoken up against racism. Jared Kushner was wrong to suggest that Black Americans are lazy, and his remarks may well help to erode the slim margins that President Trump is fighting for in his reelection bid.

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