Filed Under:  Columns, Opinion

The Hard Truth – Bamboozled!, Part II

29th May 2012   ·   0 Comments

By Min. J. Kojo Livingston
Contributing Columnist

Part II

When President Obama took the political risk of openly endorsing gay marriage, it should have sent a message to the Black Nation inside the United States. The squeaky wheel…

It should insult you that Al and Jessie would call for Black pastors to support the president on this issue when the whole crowd, including negro media personalities keeps defending his silence on critical Black issues such as the Prison-Industrial Complex. The U.S. is by far, the largest (per capita) incarcerator on earth. Most of those inside look like us, even though most criminals are white. What about the school to prison pipeline? Or the overt move to eliminate public education altogether? What about the continuing crisis in Haiti, some of which was caused when the U.S. kidnapped and deposed their “democratically elected” leader? What about the national problem of police abuse, including murder?

Like other Black politicians Obama wants Blacks to wait for the last part of his second term to throw us some crumbs. Why?

“Because you’re a chump, a political chump.” Malcolm X was right.

When Skip Gates had a confrontation with an abusive cop which gained immediate national attention, Obama had an opportunity to call for a state-by-state federal investigation into the growing national problem of police abuse/community relations. He could have sponsored public hearings where people could testify on camera about the problem. HBCUs could have been given the financial resources and legal backing to study the causes, effects and offer solutions to this problem.

But what was Obama’s answer? A beer summit. A beer summit!

Really? With all of the innocent Blacks who are daily bea­ten, slaughtered, or falsely imprisoned in the USA, the best you can come up with is a beer summit?

Oh, there’s a hand up in the back of the room.

Yes, the beer summit was a “stunt.” Fortunately, even gullible Black people did not fall for that one. I see you’ve been listening, so move to the head of the class!

Gay interests come before Black interests for the same reason everybody else’s interests will come before ours: We keep accepting last place or no place at all. We somehow feel obligated to make excuses for leaders who fail us. Our people have given Obama a pass just because he is there.

But the LGBT movement politically does all of the right things that Blacks don’t do. They are clear about what they want. They are united. They are vocal and persistent about their goals and values…not just their gripes. They vote and vote as a block. They put their money where their cause is. They use the power of the boycott and they network like hell.

We could learn a lot from this movement, which learned a lot from watching ours.

There are two major obstacles to our creating and collectively enforcing a group agenda like others do. First is our aversion to thinking like a group. Most of our so-called leaders at all levels are quick to declare that nothing that happens to us is related to our race. At least this is what they say publicly. In private they sing a different tune. When we start to acknowledge the obvious about our situation and get proactive about solving it we will start to win some.

The second is our aversion to planning. This is a sign of our collective immaturity. We still function on emotion (anger) rather than on vision. It is difficult to get us to even sit down to talk about where we want to be in the next five years as a group. Try to name a Black group that is pushing a five-, 10-, or 20-year-plan. Not just a list of objectives, I mean an actual detailed plan that says what is going to happen, who is going to do it, what resources will be needed and how you will measure success.

Interestingly I have found that activists will sabotage any effort to do this quicker than the feds. Why? Because it takes more work and more responsibility to do the research and other work related to this approach than jumping out with a picket sign or press conference.

We must “grow up” as a group and change our thinking and our approach toward getting what we need and want. Only then can we get off the back of the bus of politics and start to get some accountability on the front end…like everybody else does.

So, Whatchagonna DO?

This article was originally published in the May 28, 2012 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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