Thursday, January 15, 2009
Rise Black Man Rise, Keep Your Eyes On the Prize
I am willing to bet one arm one leg and the limbs of many colleagues, that the Black Man's image will not be rehabilitated not today and certainly not during the next eight years, if President Obama is elected to a second term in office.
So why I'm I so pessimistic about the Black Man's image amidst so much euphoria with the historic election of President Barack Obama, a candidate that I proudly voted for in November, 2008? A harsh dose of reality that's why.
I reviewed some of the Black Panther's Ten Point Plan, and no I'm not a militant in case you're curious. Here's what my research produced:
1. We want freedom. We want the power to determine the destiny of our black community.
2. We want full employment for our people.
7. We want an immediate end to police brutality and murder of black people.
9. We want all black people when brought to trial to be tried in a court by a jury of their peer group or people from their black communities.
So why did African Americans who had espoused such illustrious dreams settle for so little so quickly?
Media Tokenism. With the rise of President Elect Obama, Tiger Woods, New York State Governor, David Paterson and Tyler Perry African Americans have forgotten not only the dreams stated above for the black community, but its reality as well.
New York State Civil Service has a poor record if one examines the number of minorities in high level state positions as a total percentage of state employees. So although an African American Governor is the leader of New York State, the real story is far worst than what the media portrays. New York City has a similar story as well. Unless those making hiring decisions change, figureheads are unacceptable.
America has a bipolar relationship with the black male. When one contrasts the black male image and the photographs of convicted felons such as Willie Horton, Lee Woods, O.J Simpson and the now infamous Mike Tyson with what President Elect Obama represents, a contrast in stark reality emerges.
After portraying black men as common criminals who led commercials about a leader's inability to be tough on crime (Willie Horton) it will take decades before the black man's image is rehabilitated to the point where he's no longer defined as a common criminal that should be avoided at all cost, feared and denied gainful employment.
I am willing to trade the ascension of New York State's first African American Governor and President Elect Obama for millions of good paying jobs for "minorities." Symbolism and tokenism do not feed hungry children, pay delinquent mortgages, rents and maintain livelihoods.
The media in its efforts to present what's right with America, has ignored what's wrong with America in the same vain. As the economy continues to dwindle, and wealthy banks with well heeled share holders receive one bailout package after another, the story of the common man is lost forever in the swirling winds of euphoria.
Minority or African American leadership even at the highest office level, does more to mask the real problems of minorities instead of solving them. These real issues were once featured stories on many networks. Today, they're mere footnotes.
The bliss of Obama's Presidency does more to distort the harsh reality for minorities, instead of placing them in the forefront where they can be examined and solutions sought. It is difficult to write and think against history and incessant media coverage of the new King of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
I am happy for the new president, but I will be even happier when people I know begin to flourish and partake in employment, better education at local public schools for children, affordable housing and affordable health care. For it is these thorny issues that dictate the real quality of life and euphoria for minorities in America.
I remain a heretic who requires a good dose of scripture to be converted. The emergence of this new "Post Racial Philosophy" is as dangerous as an unattended child playing with matches and lighter fluid in their parent's home.