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Sunday, August 20, 2006

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.

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.
What is really more encouraging is the next quote in the story.
"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."

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.
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.
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.

"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.
Now the underlying part...

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.


Blogger Rahelio said...

Jesse has done a lot to advocate for education and business development; he's visited prisons and preach about personal accountability; he's fought for white rights, woman's rights, latino empowerment - you name it. Now, you paint him here in the same tired way that people who are ignorant of his record continue to do - mostly because they don't like him.

So, I ask you: what have you done for black progress that puts you above Jackson?

August 20, 2006  
Blogger Tony said...

Your question implies that I am calling myself a black leader. I am not and feel no obligation to do like the Jesse...

...like rush to the defense of black teens who were suspended for starting riots at a high school football game. That's practicing personal responsibility.

...like try and make a race issue of the Tookie Williams execution. Tookie, a murderer who up to the end still did not take "personal responsibility". Jackson did not preach about that. Instead he said, "At the conclusion of our one and a half hour visit I told him ‘We are going to fight for you and we are going to win.'"

...like castigate and contradict the words of Bill Cosby.

You see, preaching at a prison about "personal accountability" is great if it were not offset by blaming the system at every other turn.

Jesse is FAIRLY put into the category of poverty pimp. His actions and his rhetoric do little towards solving Poverty in the black community, race relations, etc.

I actually think I'm being easy on Jackson as there are easily more examples of actions to justify my criticism of him as being more harmful towards solving problems than examples of him actually solving anything.

And again, HE is the self-proclaimed black leader. He SHOULD be solving issues, but is not.

August 20, 2006  
Blogger Rahelio said...

Jackson does not call himself a "black leader." There is a difference between blaming the system and pointing out systematic inequities. Unless you're willing to say we have achieved equality of power - racially speaking - in the United States, your argument is little more than a retread of right-wing rhetoric.

Solving problems? There are black businesses that owe their existence to Jackson. There are students in college at this moment who owe their tuition to Jackson. There are anti-gang programs and school support programs due to Jackson. Jackson has spoken out against rap, against violence, against family breakup, against crime.

It would be impossible for you to go "easy" on Jackson because he has outperformed you for a lifetime. He is a national organizer and community resource. You're some guy in Minnesota with a blog and an underdeveloped opinion.

There is no comparison.

Watch a little more FOX news and get back to me. I'll do you one better - I'll watch it for you and tell you what they said you think.

August 20, 2006  
Blogger Tony said...

Let's get a few things correct...I do not watch FoxNews. In fact, I watch NONE of the television news agencies as they are nothing more than McNews...snippets that tell nothing.

Jackson assumes the role of "black leader" and does not correct people for calling him such.

Simply for having "black businesses" does not mean (a) success in averting poverty, (b) moving towards equal opportunity, (c) strides have been made towards a color blind society. The very fact that you point out that "black businesses that owe their existence to Jackson" demonstrates he is not moving society closer to color blindness.

It is not impossible for me to go easy on Jackson. All he needs to do is stop pimping poverty. Start embracing what Bill Cosby has been saying lately instead of trying to counteract it. (I am remembering watching Cosby and Jackson on stage and Cosby yelled at Jackson, 'don't you get up here and undo everything I'm saying this time.')

Once again you try to make the fallacious effort to put me in the same category as Jackson in an attempt at diminishing the actual damage I specifically mention Jackson is doing.

I also noticed that while claiming I have an "underdeveloped opinion" you have yet to address any of the specific items I mentioned. Worse, you have been unable/unwilling to address the ideas. Quite telling about you, actually.

Yes, he is a community resource. The issue is that he is not helping his community...and while I have answered your claim that he is teaching "personal responsibility" you have failed to directly address my points.

Go "easy"? Why? I believe he should be doing things to bring this nation together and he is NOT doing that. He should be pressing for a color blind society and instead seeks to continue dividing the nation on racial lines. In doing that (and so much more) he is doing more harm to the people who mistakenly believe he is going to help them.

Why does he do this? To maintain his power. Nothing more, nothing less.

August 21, 2006  

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