There are many reasons for anyone of conscience not to serve in the administration of our hate-mongering, habanero-hue-having president-elect.
He is a racist. He is a sexist. He is a xenophobe.
Likewise, there are plenty of reasons for a black man in particular not to want to serve in the administration of such a character.
His comments about the Central Park Five then and now; his history with housing discrimination; his very long history of making racist comments, particularly those that are anti-black; his efforts to publicly undermine the nation’s first black president by questioning his citizenship; his describing black neighborhoods and black life in America in the spirit of Mister telling Celie that she was po’, black and ugly.
Yet, for all the ample amount of evidence readily available, Robert Johnson cited a reason rooted not in principle but in loss of power.
Speaking with CNBC this week, the BET founder revealed that he had met with President-elect Donald Trump earlier this month and was offered a Cabinet position. "It was an easy discussion because I wasn't coming there on a job interview," Johnson explained. "He hinted at something I could be interested in, and I quickly shut that down. It was a Cabinet position.”
What prompted such a quick dip? According to Johnson, he can’t work for the government “because to me, as an entrepreneur, trying to work in a government structure where you got to go through 15 different layers of decision-making to get what you want done doesn't fit my mold."
So this Negro’s only real gripe with serving in the Trump administration is that he wouldn’t be able to have as much say as he’s accustomed to. Not to mention, he wouldn’t be able to make the kind of money he’s used to earning.
This line of thinking is more verbal manure than most decent people can take—except, Johnson decided to take things one step further by arguing that Minute Maid Mao was not racist.
"To me, I never thought Donald Trump, and I still don't believe it today, was a racist. I don't believe that he's anti-African American," Johnson argued. "For too long, the African-American community has been ignored by the Republicans because they thought we were always locked with the Democrats."
To Johnson, one plus one equals a 12-pack of Sunkist, each one topped with a weird-looking wig. There’s willful ignorance and then there’s Bob Johnson on national television to claim that a man proven guilty of housing discrimination and with a lengthy track record of saying incredibly racist things for decades is not racist. The man can trot out that cliché about the Grand Old Party needing to engage more with “the blacks,” as his tangerine demagogue of a work buddy likes to call us, but the reality remains that Republicans consistently engage with us: It’s called voter suppression.
Johnson went on with his brown bag full of lies, saying that Trump is neither Democrat nor Republican. "Certainly not an establishment Republican [and] he's not a Democrat; he was open,” Johnson said. “And he's a business guy. And business guys tend to look at where's the opportunity for a benefit.”
Minute Maid Mao may lack political ideology, but there is a constant that has lingered throughout his personal life, his business practices and his political ascension: bigotry.
What a pathetic sight to see: a black man saying the sole reason he won’t serve under an administration swimming in white supremacy with a minority friend here and there serving as water boy is that he doesn’t want to deal with a high chain of command. Not only that, but to go out of his way to lie about exactly what kind of man our president-elect is.
If there’s one thing to remind ourselves in the coming months and years ahead, it is that black people must know who is for us and who is not. Being black alone does not mean you are for us. Johnson is proof of that.
As fate would have it, Johnson recently announced the launch of the Urban Movie Channel, described as “the first subscription video-on-demand service created for African-American and urban audiences in North America.” Some may support Johnson’s venture and cite a motivation to focus on “the bigger picture” and the other black creatives who may benefit from this app. Such is their right.
As for me, I don’t have the space, physically or mentally, to lend support to any black person who will cater to a bigot who will bring terror to marginalized people and damage us in ways that could last generations. To that end: To hell with Robert Johnson and his app.
You are not for us; thus, you do not deserve our support.
Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.