...Scholars of black politics need to begin asking questions
concerning the viability of urban electoral politics as a mechanism for
generating upward mobility of impoverished populations. We may discover
that electing black mayors has had a minute impact, if any impact at all, on the upward mobility of the poor.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had a chance to re-define himself, his
family’s legacy and the discussion on America’s most cruel and
questionable practice—capital punishment. A practice that
disproportionately impacts African American communities nationwide, all
eyes were on California—and all attention was on Schwarzenegger, as he
and he alone determined Stanley “Tookie” Williams’ fate.
Every year, radio/tv commentator Tavis Smiley holds a forum that brings
together "the best and the brightest" African-Americans from academia,
political, economic and health care, to hold panel discussions on
what's wrong with Black America, and how we Black Americans should go
about fixing it.
This is a good gesture, if we truly believe it will bear positive fruit
in the lives of African-Americans, to the point of where we will
actually be motivated to take action to improve and take back the
communities that serve to develop and nurture us. I cling to that hope,
for in many instances, the hope of a better future is all we, as
African-Americans, have left to sustain us.
The massive demonstrations by immigrants and
their supporters have been magnificent to behold – many hundreds of
thousands in cities across the country, with total participation well
over a million. Most progressives are ecstatic, believing that a new
era of activism has begun. But, as a Black man, I’m feeling twinges of
a different emotion: shame.
There exists in the African American political conversation a great
disconnect on the subject of “economic development.” Among some Black
political tendencies, the term “economic development” is thought to be
synonymous with individual entrepreneurship. That’s a very narrow
definition of economic development, one that reduces most Blacks to the
role of mere potential customers, who are expected to support
individual Black businesspeople as if the survival of the Race depended
In recent years some nationally prominent Black leaders have complained
that they resent being known as Black leaders, they say they want the
world to know they are capable of leading anybody. Rather than
demonstrate that leadership by leading their own people to the
necessary levels of self- sufficiency and competitiveness, these
leaders have abandoned the critical issues facing Black people and have
begun to chase an ambiguous romanticized notion of alliances with other