The local news has been saturated with the fact in Beaver County a giant international organization is building a multi-billion dollar cracker plant. The construction time table will be about four or five years and it will require five to six thousand union workers, and upon completion about six hundred permanent jobs. The average person including myself had no concept of what a cracker plant is. I definitely know now.
Our major concern must be that this cracker plant be a plant of inclusion where we will be afforded the opportunities that traditionally we have been denied. The word “cracker” has often been considered a negative referral to White persons, but too often over the years it has meant non-inclusion of Blacks.
If we analyze cracker building in the actual sense over the years it will be apparent that Blacks have been left out almost completely. Is our memory that bad, or have we given up fighting for what we deserve?
Over the years there have been major projects built with taxpayer’s funds and almost no Black participation.
Do we remember that the two stadiums on North Side would qualify as cracker projects 98 percent White 2 percent Black? What about the Casino, buildings in East Liberty, Hill District, Strip, Lawrenceville, Garfield, Allegheny County Jail, Allegheny County International Airport, Larimer Avenue?
I ride through these neighborhoods regularly and very rarely do I see persons looking like myself working in any capacity.
We have forgotten the importance of local politics and while we argue about Trump and Hillary the potential for the improvement of local Blacks continues to diminish. The number of Blacks on the Allegheny County Courts, Allegheny County Police, and Pittsburgh Police are at an all-time low.
I received a phone call last month from an Allegheny County employee and he asked me to look into the fact that they only have three Black janitors and once they were 90 percent Black.
You should call your representatives on Allegheny County Council and Pittsburgh City Council and ask them how many Blacks [if any] have been awarded a professional service contract in the last four years. A professional service contract does not have to be bid; you can just award it to those who fund your campaign, which includes your brother, in-laws, and friends. Professional service contracts are an extension of cracker mentality and Black denial.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
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