‘The Caucasity of This Debate’ – Black Americans React to Trump’s ‘Black Jobs’ Comment


Black Americans are demanding clarification after former President Donald Trump’s use of the term “Black jobs” during Thursday’s debate with President Joe Biden in Atlanta. The debate marked the first general election debate of 2024 and included a contentious exchange on issues affecting Black voters, as reported by The Hill on Friday, June 28, 2024.

Trump’s comment came as he criticized Biden’s immigration policies, suggesting they were harmful to Black Americans. “The fact is that his big kill on the Black people is the millions of people that he’s allowed to come in through the border,” Trump asserted.

“They’re taking Black jobs now and it could be 18, it could be 19, and even 20 million people. They’re taking Black jobs, and they’re taking Hispanic jobs, and you haven’t seen it yet, but you’re gonna see something that’s going to be the worst in our history.” Immediately following the debate, social media erupted with questions and demands for Trump to explain what he meant by “Black jobs.”

The NAACP, expressing the sentiment of many, posted on X (formerly Twitter), “What exactly are Black and Hispanic Jobs!?!” The query was echoed by Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison, who wrote, “What the hell is a ‘Black job?!’” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) voiced her frustration over the lack of follow-up from the debate moderators.

“I still don’t understand the ‘black job’ comment, it would have been nice if there was a follow-up to understand what he was trying to say,” Omar posted. While some responses to the former President’s comment were serious, others took a more humorous approach. BlackPAC, an organization focused on empowering Black political participation, tweeted a meme featuring actress Viola Davis removing her makeup, captioned:

“Well, now that the debate is over. Time for us all to get ready for bed so we can be on time for our #BlackJobs tomorrow.” Trump’s comments were part of a broader exchange prompted by CNN moderator Dana Bash, who asked Biden what his administration has done for Black voters amid growing dissatisfaction within the demographic.

President Joe Biden pointed to historically low Black unemployment rates under his administration. According to the White House, the Black unemployment rate stayed at or below 6 percent from September 2022 to February 2023, and fell to 4.8 percent in April 2023, before rising slightly to 5.6 percent in April 2024.

By comparison, during Trump’s tenure from 2016 to 2020, the Black unemployment rate averaged around 8 percent, and from 2000 to 2015, it was approximately 11 percent. In post-debate analysis, NBC News’s Tom Llamas pressed Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.), the Senate’s only Black Republican and a potential Trump running mate, on Trump’s “Black jobs” comment.

When asked if such terms might offend voters, Scott sidestepped the question. “Here’s what I can tell you is that whether you are a Black person or white person or a Hispanic person or any person, Native American, but whatever, you want are more jobs,” Scott replied.

“You want your wages going up, and what we saw under Donald Trump was at the bottom quintile of wage earners saw their wages go up faster than the top quintile. “That translates into more spending power. But under Joe Biden, we’ve seen the exact opposite: $28,000 of lost spending power over the last three and a half years.

“So you can talk about Black jobs versus white jobs. I think the bottom line is Donald Trump provided more American jobs.” Despite Tim Scott’s attempt to pivot, many Black social media users remained dissatisfied and confused. Some criticized the overall tone of the debate, particularly when Biden and Trump veered off into discussions about golf, a pastime often associated with white elites.

“The caucasity of this debate is taking me OUT,” remarked David Johns, CEO and executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights organization for Black LGBTQ individuals. Both presidential candidates are courting Black voters, though President Biden leads former President Trump with the demographic.

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