Steve Harvey has had quite an interesting couple of weeks.
He met with President-elect Donald Trump and signed on to work with presumed future Housing Secretary Ben Carson on an "inner city initiative"—whatever that means.
"I walked away feeling like I had just talked I had just talked with a man who genuinely want to make a difference in this area," Harvey wrote on Twitter. "I feel like something really great could come of this…I would sit with him anytime."
People were naturally unhappy about this.
But that was actually the second super-problematic thing Harvey had done in the past weeks. He'd already offended the entire Asian community by deeming Asian men undateable to both white and black women. It was a joke! Hahahahaha.
After the expected and well-deserved backlash on social media, Harvey has since responded with his feelings about both controversies.
He offered a typical "say something offensive and it's fine because you can send a non-apology apology" apology about the Asian comments.
"I offer my humblest apology for offending anyone, particularly those in the Asian community, last week," Harvey said on Twitter. "It was not my intention and the humor was not meant with any malice or disrespect whatsoever." Yeah, whatever.
But when it came to Trump, Harvey just wanted to talk about how wounded he was.
“I didn’t expect the backlash to be so fierce. I also understand if I’m going to keep getting stabbed at, at least while you’re stabbing me, you should understand my intent. I’m from the hood. I’ve been putting in the work for years. I care about these inner cities because that’s where I’m from," he said on his radio show on Monday.
Yes, it's true Harvey was born in Cleveland, and even lived in his car for a few years in the 1980s. But today, he seems to be quite far removed from the issues that hinder so many inner cities. (And, once more, Harvey's only actual qualifications for this position appear to be that he is both black and famous.)
In 2015, Harvey told Fox News that "loving sleep is directly tied to poverty" — the implication being that, if you're sleeping, you're not working and making money. That's actually the exact opposite of the reality. In 2013, the American Psychological Association released a study that found children from low-income families don't get quality sleep and that it's actually tied to their ability to function in school, emotional and behavior problems—all things which are pretty important for a job.
Harvey also preaches a tired form of respectability politics. Just last summer, he had educator and TV personality Steve Perry tell the young men who attended one of his mentoring camps that they might actually obtain social and professional success if they cut their "dreads, braids and unkept frosh." His speech was followed by a short ceremony in which the boys cut their hair.
So, yeah. Maybe Steve Harvey isn't exactly the person who should be addressing the problems within America's inner cities. (Also once again, NOT ALL BLACK PEOPLE LIVE IN INNER CITIES.) And, to be honest, neither should Ben Carson.
Harvey is ridiculous—but the fact that he was even chosen shows the offensive and stereotypical ways Trump sees black people. First, he released his 10-point plan for "Black America" to celebrity gossip site MediaTakeOut, because apparently that is the only site black people will read? Then, in an attempt to connect with the black community he met with a string of random, famous black people, like Kanye West, Jim Brown, and Ray Lewis, all while insulting civil rights activist and US Representative John Lewis.
You would think if Trump was indeed serious about helping the black community, he would meet with organizations and people who have proven to help black people time and time again. Instead, he's giving us Steve Harvey.
Tahirah Hairston is a style writer from Detroit who likes Susan Miller, Rihanna's friend's Instagram accounts, ramen and ugly-but cute shoes.