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OPINION: Diamond and Silk need a reality check about Trump and the coronavirus



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The Twitter page for Diamond and Silk is displayed April 12. Photo illustration by Sarah Zygmuntowski

Two video bloggers commonly known as Diamond and Silk who have gained a reputation for supporting President Donald Trump have faced criticism for their online coverage of COVID-19. The media personalities, who are black women, are hosts of a pro-Trump talk show on Fox News's online streaming service Fox Nation.

The duo's Twitter account was temporarily suspended Wednesday for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus.

Diamond and Silk, whose legal names are Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, posted a video on YouTube last month saying the coronavirus was being blown out of proportion to make Trump look bad. They have since repeated this view on social media and their Fox Nation show. More than 21,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19 as of Sunday, according to the New York Times.

Speaking of the coronavirus as if it's only a theory is dangerous. Diamon and Silk's comments are also concerning because black people are especially vulnerable to COVID-19, facing higher rates of contraction and death than white people.

They are black women who are often outlandish in their support for a man who clearly does not care about their people — or anyone other than rich white men. Their dedication to Trump seems to overpower care and concern for their people. 

Diamond and Silk resemble a modern-day, female version of Uncle Tom and make black people look uneducated and unaware. Of course, people have the right to believe what they want to believe. But that does not mean blatant ignorance of Trump's disregard for minorities should be acceptable. 

Black women supporting Trump has always confused me. Diamond and Silk are taking it to a whole new, unnecessary level. 

When I first saw a video of them at the White House during an African American History Month reception in February, I thought it was some sort of joke. It looked like an eerie episode of "Saturday Night Live" or a horror movie. Diamond and Silk sat next to Trump glowing while talking about how people should “vote right so you don’t get left.” They thanked Trump for a seat at the table, which they said would not happen under an Obama administration.

These are interesting statements coming from black women media personalities when Trump commonly demeans black women who use their voices. For example, two weeks ago Trump attacked black woman journalist Yamiche Alcindor after she asked him to clarify past comments on COVID-19 supplies.

"Look, let me tell you something," Trump told Alcindor. "Be nice. Don't be threatening."

The duo has tweeted, “We Love and appreciate our President. He’s the best President ever. Thank you President.”

I hope this all is a publicity stunt and they are only doing this for the money. There is no way these thoughts are real and authentic. But that does not make it right. In a sense it makes it worse.

Diamond and Silk should wake up to the reality that America is a divided county. Racial and social inequality is prevalent. And their favorite president has fueled it all. Misinforming the public about the coronavirus only makes the situation worse.

Jaclyn Ferguson (she/her) is a junior studying journalism and African American studies. She is the secretary of the National Association of Black Journalists at IU.

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