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In the couple months since Donald Trump was elected President, he has met with quite a few Black people. (Maybe as many as four.) Most recently, he shared an audience with Steve Harvey, and they presumably traded notes on Chicago, tailoring, KFC, wife retention, enunciation, homespun fuckshit, and denture flavors. Naturally, news of Harvey meeting with Trump wasn't received particularly well in most circles of Blackness. I wouldn't quite say we (collectively) were disappointed in him — high expectations are a prerequisite of disappointment — but it just cemented everything we (generally) knew about him. Basically, that he's a charlatan, and a shameless and feckless moth to money, power, status, and buttons. I don't use the word coon at all — frequent use of it is often a Hotep signifier — but he fits the definition. Shit, he is the definition. Look up coon in the dictionary, and you'll find the definition of coon. But attached as a footnote to it will be a picture of Steve Harvey. And not just any picture, but this one:


YouTube screenshot

Discussion about Harvey's meeting, however, segued into another debate. Is there any circumstance where it's cool for a Black person to pursue and/or accept an audience with soon-to-be President Trump? Are we supposed to collectively ignore the White House for the next four years?


I honestly don't have an answer to either of those questions. I'm tempted to say no to the former and yes to the latter, but I also recognize my biases (and by "biases" I mean "hate for Darth Cheeto") might be clouding my judgement. I just can't fathom a reason to legitimize him and pay him that respect. I don't believe there's anything a fucking conversation with him would accomplish, other than learning the color and scent of his anus.

That said, are there conditions that can be met where I'd reconsider? Where if, for whatever reason, Trump and/or the Trump administration invited me to the White House, and I accepted? Yes, there are! But before I continue, let me make a couple things clear.


1. I recognize that there are people who may have similar feelings about Trump, but have to meet/engage with him because they either work in or closely with government, and their jobs depend on it. These people should be exempt from judgement.

2. Me hypothetically opting out of a hypothetical meeting with the soon-to-be President is not brave. Or even particularly principled. And I want to make sure that this isn't coming off as me attempting to prove how brave and principled I am. I do think I can be brave (I killed a thousand-legger last week!) and I think I have principles and shit, but this isn't an example of that. It's actually easy for me to say fuck no, because I have no incentive to say yes — there's nothing he can do for me and there's nothing I want from him — and every incentive to say no.


Anyway, what would need to happen for me to accept a meeting with President Trump?

He'd have to show he was actually serious about making the country better. And not better in an 1930's Germany sense, but actually better.


And for me to believe he was serious, he'd have to publicly apologize for the birther controversy and admit it was a transparently racist ploy to delegitimatize President Obama. He'd also have to admit that he ran on a platform that intentionally pandered to racist and misogynistic fears, he'd have to apologize for all of the insults and implied violence directed towards Black people, women, Muslims, Mexicans, disabled people, and anyone else I'm leaving out, and he'd have to devote his resources towards actually making the country a safer and better place for those Americans he's deemed unamerican.

And then he'd have to fire each one of his hires. And, of course, resign. Because as long as he continues to be President of America, it's proof that he's not actually serious about fixing it.


And then, would I meet with him? Eh, I don't know. I mean, I'd make the drive to DC. But I'd probably just end up at Marvin.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a columnist for GQ.com, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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