Black leaders fail their constituency
"Just turn it off, I can't watch that anymore," said my lovely and talented wife Alison when Jesse Jackson came on television. The news was showing clips from Jackson speaking in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He was up to his usual tricks. Upon seeing the inside of the Superdome after the people had been cleared out he said, "This looks like the hull of a slave ship."
Jackson, ever the wordsmith, knows how to choose words and imagery. Translation: "Looks like whitey did it to us again."
Jackson also said, "It is racist to call American citizens refugees." Huh? I would agree that "displaced" is a better word, but now "refugee" is a racist word? Good grief!
From Jackson, to Al Sharpton, to the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), to Black Entertainment Television to Juilan Bond and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People - the "we speak for black people" establishment in this country has lost all credibility with millions of fair-minded American people. Whites and a growing number of blacks.
Black America needs new leadership. Leadership on what blacks can do to improve their own plight rather than leadership that is always looking to blame the white man. That day has passed.
As we all know, there were thousands of black people who went to the Superdome and the convention center in New Orleans to ride out the category four storm. They were told to do so by pompous Mayor Ray Nagin, who can't seem to hold a press conference without using profanity and blaming others for his and his city government's colossal failure to protect their own citizens. His first failure was not getting the people out of the city, and his second failure was not providing enough food, water and especially security inside those places. Yet, immediately, he blamed others
And don't look for the national black establishment to hold him responsible either. They could if he were white, especially a white Republican, but they will not dare go after him because he is black Democrat. Here is what we got from the CBC with Congressman Elijah Cummings doing the honors on the Friday before the Saturday morning rescue: "We cannot allow it to be said that the difference between those who lived and those who died in this great storm and flood of 2005 was nothing more than poverty, age or skin color."
As the black leadership network Project 21 responded: "The comments and actions of the Congressional Black Caucus were morally opprobrious and divisive," said Project 21 member Mychal Massie. "It is beneath the level of sane discourse for the CBC to suggest that blacks are suffering more than the hundreds of thousands of (other) Americans who have been displaced."
Watching all those poor black people I did a connect the dots in my own mind about why so many blacks live in poverty and - evidently - in the case of New Orleans - didn't even have a car or the money to leave town even when a major hurricane was bearing down on a city under sea level.
For several decades now many blacks have been receiving welfare checks and other government aid. Initially, it was done in the name of compassion and to compensate them for the unfairness and discrimination they had been subjected to by white society. That was understandable. However, we have now learned a hard lesson and that is: If you give people unending handouts they will grow dependent on those handouts and a high percentage will quit trying to provide for - or better - themselves.
Couple that with the fact that 70 percent of all black babies born in America are to unwed mothers and you have a recipe for poverty, a failure to become educated and high rates of criminal activity. These kids have no resident dads, no family structure and very little moral guidance. Is it any wonder they are in the shape they are in? White people are not making black teenagers have sex before they get married, which perpetuates this cycle of trouble and despair.
Furthermore, the rap music that young blacks listen to and watch on Black Entertainment Television and MTV is almost exclusively about glorifying illicit sex and rebelling against authority. White people are not responsible for the programming on BET.
But you don't hear nationally known black leaders - save Bill Cosby and a handful of others - speaking about these things. It's easier to blame the white man.
Fair-minded Americans are tired of the race-baiting and the black establishment's blaming whites for the situation many blacks find themselves in in 2005 America. The whining and griping from the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons of the world are falling on deaf ears. They have no credibility. They only make you want to turn your television off.