Hot topic here, my friends. In a recent op ed on CNN.COM, William R. Harvey, Hampton University President and Barack Obama’s former Advisor for historically black colleges and a Talledega College alumnus, makes the case that it is an “honor” for the Talladega College marching band to perform at the presidential inauguration of Donald J. Trump.
Ummmmm. Nah. I don’t think so.
Now, to be clear, from a 45th President of the United States perspective, I get it. Taken solely on its purest merits, performing at that sort of level is a most distinct honor worthy of the best that anyone can offer. No one was in an uproar when black artists of whatever genre performed at George W. Bush’s inauguration, his father’s or any other GOP president for that matter. So, under normal circumstances, yes, I agree with Mr. Harvey that this would be a great honor.
But this isn’t a normal circumstance. Not even close.
As we all know, Trump has said some of the most ugly, condescending, disparaging, reprehensible and intolerable things about both the black community and minorities in general. He started this election cycle with hate, vitriol and xenophobia. The office he holds does deserve respect, but that office must also give respect to the people. ALL PEOPLE. In my opinion, Trump needs to earn the respect of minorities and shouldn’t just expect that when he beckons to us from his gilded ivory tower (ahem — Steve Harvey & Kanye) that we will simply come running and feel so fortunate that such an abusive, mean, pugnacious, clueless, arrogant and politically inept individual has called upon us.
So no, I respectfully and emphatically disagree with Mr. Harvey’s assessment that the marching band of Talladega College should feel honored to perform at Trump’s inauguration. I’m sure house slaves wanted the field slaves to feel honored when they were allowed out of the fields and inside to clean their master’s house.