Article by James Clingman.
For years now we have been involved in movements, events, and initiatives organized for the purpose of saving Black people from the ravages and vestiges of historical discrimination, disparity, and disenfranchisement. We have had meetings, conferences, forums, and seminars whose purpose was to provide a roadmap to true freedom for Black folks. Our public discourse, in large part, at least among the so-called “conscious” among us, has been centered on self-reliance, political and economic empowerment, and self-determination. Reflecting on the results of our rhetoric, I offer the following insights and, if I may, recommendations.
In light of the fact that Black people have no real voice in the political process, not with the President, not with the Black Caucus, and not even with many of our local Black politicians, it seems to me that we must do as the folks in the Tea Party did – start our own party and let our voices be heard via that collective. And, because politics is local, as Tip O’Neill said, we must act on a local level to appropriate the benefits we need to survive and thrive in our own neighborhoods, by electing Black folks – and others – who have our best interests in mind and are unafraid to act on our behalf. If the Black vote is as important as everyone says it is, then why aren’t we leveraging it to the extent that Black people get something back for it?
On the education front, we see an increased assault on our young people after we turned them over to be educated by a system that cares nothing about them. Read Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow, and get a real handle on what is happening when it comes to schools, jails, and Black folks.
Economically, Blacks are in deep trouble. We have the highest debt and the lowest net worth. We have the highest unemployment and the lowest savings. We have the highest interest rates and the lowest asset base. We have the highest dependency and the lowest self-sufficiency. We demand the most and supply the least. In many cases around this country, if a crisis arises, Black people could not feed ourselves for a couple of weeks; we could not take care of our children’s needs; and we could not provide assistance to others. We have no infrastructure to deal with crises, thus, we would all be isolated in our own cocoons individually trying to fend for ourselves.