African-Americans’ illusion of inclusion

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(NNPA)—Herman Cain’s assertion that Black Americans are “brainwashed” and George Soros’ observations that: “Obama has lost control of the [country’s economic] agenda” and as a result it’s been left “in the hands of the Republican Party” is the raw, but true state of Black politics in America.

WilliamReedbox

Because of Blacks’ “illusion of inclusion” and penchant for assimilation, “Black politics” is little more than an afterthought to many across America’s mainstream media. Blacks’ political role is to support maintenance of the status quo. Instead of making sure that measures toward curbing Black unemployment and underemployment are being carved into the 2012 Democratic Party platform, the majority of African-American activists are singularly engaged on keeping Barack Obama in the White House.

An illusion is something that deceives or misleads intellectually. In the rush for inclusion in America, the election of the first Black president represented the apex of success in this school of thought. The folly of that has fallen to the level that Blacks’ major political pursuit is maintenance of the status quo and Obama as president. In their moves to be mainstream Blacks now eagerly accept “second-class American” status.

If you look at any social index, Blacks have much to complain about. Not just this Democratic administration but most political administrations over the years have ignored Blacks and their political needs. Black activists must be “brainwashed” or blind not to see legacies of institutional racism and discrimination in housing, education, policing, criminal justice and employment that continue under Obama’s presidency. The average African-American income is $33,916, compared with $54,920 for Whites. Conservative Republican Congressman Allen West offers a different slant on “who is brainwashing whom” by citing Black Americans’ disregard of the 16.7 percent unemployment rate in Black communities, 20 percent unemployment rate for Black adult males and 45 percent unemployment for Black teenagers under the Obama administration.

Collectively African-Americans are more involved in the political process than most minority groups. Black American enclaves have high levels of Congressional representation and the large majority of African-Americans support the Democratic Party. African-Americans have improved their social and economic standing significantly since the Civil Rights Movement and recent decades have witnessed the expansion of a robust, African-American middle class. Unprecedented access to higher education and employment in addition to representation in the highest levels of American government has been gained by African-Americans in the post-civil rights era.

By calling himself “post racial” President Obama has transcended racial politics, convinced Blacks that American racism has gone away, all the while seeking to maintain White support by showing no favoritism toward Blacks. If there was ever any doubt that Obama is no champion of Black politics, that doubt should have been put to rest when Obama defiantly told the Congressional Black Caucus convention, “Stop whining!”

Instead of the 2012 contest being just about “keeping a Black man as president” shouldn’t Blacks be making campaigners compete for their vote? Blacks should not be ashamed of who we are and what we stand for and remember that whoever wins this next election is going to set the tone for this country for a long time to come.

In contrast the representative government we say we want, as we approach the 2012 political season Black activists want to “keep on keeping on”. Black political activists have found a hero to adulate, and in doing so, they have chosen largely to sacrifice their own political needs to keep Obama as president. At the assemblage of Black power at the Congressional Black Caucus, President Obama spent little time assuaging Black economic fears and high levels of unemployment. Instead of any pretense of attention toward Black issues, in effect Obama told Blacks in attendance there to stop thinking of their own predicament because it was sapping the energy he needed them to expend to get him out of his predicament. Cavalierly, Obama demanded that they stop thinking of their lack of jobs in order to work on saving his. “Stop complainin’. Stop grumblin’…we have work to.”

(William Reed is available for speaking/seminar projects via BaileyGroup.org.)

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