Race Relations--"The problem is us"--posted by Tony Garcia on 8/20/2006
It seems like Al Sharpton is beginning to get it
Many black youths fall under a spell of "gangster mentality," preventing them from becoming leaders and making a positive impact in politics, the Rev. Al Sharpton said.What is really more encouraging is the next quote in the story.
The civil rights activist faulted Hollywood and the record industry for making "gangsterism" seem cool and acceptable.
"We have got to get out of this gangster mentality, acting as if gangsterism and blackness are synonymous," Sharpton said Thursday at the annual conference of the National Association of Black Journalists.
"I think we've allowed a whole generation of young people to feel that if they're focused, they're not black enough. If they speak well and act well, they're acting white, and there's nothing more racist than that."Now you may already know that being free from partisan restrictions on speech and beliefs I am able to give credit where credit is due. This is all simply people speaking and not acting, so a grain of salt is necessary. But the next passage also got me a little bit excited about the prospects and future of race relations.
The key to leadership is taking the initiative to change things, said Sharpton. He said his National Action Network is just one group willing to help young black leaders get into politics.
"Nobody broke in my house in Brooklyn and dragged me out the projects and made me a leader, I wanted to do that. Clearly, we would work with young people who want to do the work," he said.
Lottie Shackelford, vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said during the same panel discussion that the time is ripe for getting more young black people involved.Now the underlying part...
"So many young folks are waiting to be asked, or they say they want others to move so they can gain a slot, and I say, there's room for everybody. Let's work together," she said.
People in power (almost universally) are driven to maintain their power. In observing this in a historical context and in more local and present day contexts I have come to the theory that ALL groups should be dissolved upon completion of their original chartered goal. NOW, NAACP, and even political organizations and Unions all seem to have accomplished much of their original necessity of being. Now they seem to do more harm to the cause of what they seek to fix.
Think of it this way...one of the big issues for black leaders (like Jesse Jackson) is the disparity of wealth between white & black. Now, this could be an internal reflection (what can we fix about ourselves) as Bill Cosby has been suggesting and Larry Elders for even longer. Or it could be the Jesse Jackson position of how the system is stacked in favor or whites and against blacks. Which position will keep the black population mostly in unison? The us vs. them, the blacks vs whites position. The bonus for those in power is this does more harm to the problem than it does good...which means the need for Jackson's "leadership" will continue.
But what happens to Jackson if this DID become a colorblind society (of course ignoring the few idiots that will always exist)? He becomes unnecessary and loses his power.
Same is true in every single group. Unions did wonders for workers but now what is left except the perpetual 'Worker Unite' and 'Management Sucks'? There is honestly very little that they are necessary for and eventually cause more harm than good for their industries.
So...what might be the reason for Sharpton & Shackelford to be taking this new approach? It could simply be the rhetorical messaging of people that there is still a problem and WE will fix it. Perhaps the words of Bill Cosby are starting to pressure the black leaders...and it is making sense to many people. Their power-holding days may be drawing to a close. It would still be many years before black leaders lose power, it is within realistic projections to say it is only a handful of years until the DNC loses its grip on the black population it currently enjoys. This new angle will help buy time.
First, "here is the REAL problem we face" rhetoric with little action to help address the new "real problem".
Then there will be time increasing ideas, policies, etc that will address the problem. Then perhaps results...or a new angle.
So, while it is encouraging to see a more introspective and honest approach by some more of the black leadership I still am waiting to see a follow-through.