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Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Black communities are deteriorating, but today's black leaders are too out of touch to help

"Being a Negro in America means trying to smile when you want to cry. It means trying to hold on to physical life amid psychological death. It means the pain of watching your children grow up with clouds of inferiority in their mental skies. It means having your legs cut off, and then being condemned for being a cripple. It means seeing your mother and father spiritually murdered by the slings and arrows of daily exploitation, and then being hated for being an orphan."
--Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.

"The conditions for black men and women in America are sliding backward, with huge numbers of impoverished and unemployed removed from society and locked up. Baker acidly calls this “the disappearing” of blacks. The unemployment rate in most inner cities is in the double digits, and segregation, especially in city schools and wealthy states like New Jersey, is the norm. African-American communities are more likely to be red-lined by banks and preyed upon by unscrupulous mortgage lenders, which is why such a high percentage of foreclosures are in blighted, urban neighborhoods. The Village Voice’s recent exposé that detailed brutal and sometimes fatal beatings of black and Hispanic prisoners by guards at New York’s Rikers Island was a window into a daily reality usually not seen or acknowledged by the white mainstream."
--Chris Hedges, Truthdig


Listen up. One of The Daddy's favorite journalists is Chris Hedges, author, former war correspondent for The New York Times and now contributor to Truthdig, Today, Hedges just published a controversial but nonetheless important story indicting today's black leaders and black elite for caring more about their careers and their status in white institutions than the black communities they purport to serve. And it says these black elites have lost touch with the black underclass.

Whether one agrees with this indictment or not, The Daddy believes that these two arguments-- That the black elites today cares more about building their personal resumes, status and fortunes than the black and poor people and that they have lost touch with the black underclass-- should be discussed by blacks and non-blacks alike; and all communities would be better served for it. Here is the article by Hedges:
AP / LM Otero

By Chris Hedges

LeAlan Jones, the 30-year-old Green Party candidate for Barack Obama’s old Senate seat in Illinois, is as angry at injustice as he is at the African-American intellectual and political class that accommodates it. He does not buy Obama’s “post-racial” ideology or have much patience with African-American leaders who, hungry for prestige, power and money, have, in his eyes, forgotten the people they are supposed to represent. They have confused a personal ability to be heard and earn a comfortable living with justice.

“The selflessness of leaders like Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Harold Washington and Medgar Evers has produced selfishness within the elite African-American leadership,” Jones told me by phone from Chicago.

“This is the only thing I can do to have peace of mind,” he said when I asked him why he was running for office. “I am looking at a community that is suffering because of a lack of genuine concern from their leaders. This isn’t about a contract. This isn’t about a grant. This isn’t about who gets to stand behind the political elite at a press conference. This is about who is going to stand behind the people. What these leaders talk about and what needs to happen in the community is disjointed.”

Jones began his career as a boy making radio documentaries about life in Chicago’s public housing projects on the South Side, including the acclaimed “Ghetto Life 101.” He knows the world of which he speaks. He lives in the troubled Chicago neighborhood of Englewood, where he works as a freelance journalist and a high school football coach. He is the legal guardian of a 16-year-old nephew. And he often echoes the denunciations of black leaders by the historian Houston A. Baker Jr., who wrote “Betrayal: How Black Intellectuals Have Abandoned the Ideals of the Civil Rights Era.”

Baker excoriates leading public intellectuals including Michael Eric Dyson, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Shelby Steele, Yale law professor Stephen Carter and Manhattan Institute fellow John McWhorter, saying they pander to the powerful. He argues they have lost touch with the reality of most African-Americans. Professor Gates’ statement after his July 16 arrest that “what it made me realize was how vulnerable all black men are, how vulnerable are all poor people to capricious forces like a rogue policemen” was a stunning example of how distant from black reality many successful African-American figures like Gates have become. These elite African-American figures, Baker argues, long ago placed personal gain and career advancement over the interests of the black majority. They espouse positions that are palatable to a white audience, positions which ignore the radicalism and structural critiques of inequality by W.E.B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. And in a time when, as the poet Yusef Komunyakaa has said, “the cell block has replaced the auction block,” they do not express the rage, frustration and despair of the black underclass.

The conditions for black men and women in America are sliding backward, with huge numbers of impoverished and unemployed removed from society and locked up. Baker acidly calls this “the disappearing” of blacks. The unemployment rate in most inner cities is in the double digits, and segregation, especially in city schools and wealthy states like New Jersey, is the norm. African-American communities are more likely to be red-lined by banks and preyed upon by unscrupulous mortgage lenders, which is why such a high percentage of foreclosures are in blighted, urban neighborhoods. The Village Voice’s recent exposé that detailed brutal and sometimes fatal beatings of black and Hispanic prisoners by guards at New York’s Rikers Island was a window into a daily reality usually not seen or acknowledged by the white mainstream.

“I have three people within my immediate family that are men that have come home within the last 24 to 36 months from being incarcerated,” Jones said. “They are tired of going to jail. They don’t want to go to jail anymore. But there are no jobs. What service can they provide? My belief is those individuals coming home, these ex-felons, have more credibility to stop the violence in the inner city than the police do. It is their sons and nephews and their immediate families that are being the provocateurs of that violence. But if we are asking them to stop crime, what incentive are we providing them to do that?”

For the full story, click here:

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

When are going to get back to music and poetry?

Guitar Arbitrage System said...

The same question-- I will ask. By the way, thank you so much for sharing this blog and I learned a lot of things/informations!

MacDaddy said...

Guitar: Your first time here? Welcome. Hey, sign up as a follower of this blog on the sidebar at the top. In that way, people can see click and find out about your business. And come back and make a comment once in a while.

MacDaddy said...

EPayne: Thanks for becoming a follower of daddyBstrong. Looking forward to you coming back and putting in a word or two. Meanwhile, I'll check out your blog. Blessings.

Stimpson said...

So many thoughts. I'll try to be brief.

I'm not sure it's fair to expect every person from any community to always and in every case identify first and foremost as a member of that community. And I can't help but think Mr. Baker is being rather unfair to Louis Henry Gates in particular, expecting a bit too much of him.

Having said that, I have little doubt that people generally do become detached from "where they came from" after attaining wealth and success. And I agree with the sentiment that they do owe some loyalty to their "old" communities.

I guess I'm torn on this. Once again, you've given me something to think about. Thanks.

Stimpson said...

I just noticed I transposed Mr. Gates's first and middle names.

Kinda related to this post, a friend sent me an (at www.fair.org/index.php?page=3846)awesome analysis of how the news media refer to "class war" in an unbalanced way. Seems it's always the poor who are engaging in class warfare, as far as Fox News is concerned.

Cheers.

Somebodies Friend said...

As for the black elite, I hope people aren't seeing this for the first time. It has been obvious to me for many many years that most blacks in positions of power care very little about the people they say they are looking out for.

As for those that are wanting a different life, a better life, and could help turn the younger brothers around before it is too late for them, well, the whole system needs to be changed for that to happen. first these people coming out of jail need jobs that pay liveable wages. Then that will demonstate to those that aren't in over their head yet that they can survive without resoting to a life of crime. You can't tell a brother to stay clean and then not provide a single opportunity for them to make an homest living.

CurvyGurl ♥ said...

Hey, MacDaddy! Very valid points. I long ago disconnected any notion of their being true "black leadership" in this day and age. There are many who continue to fight for what's right, but the idea that any one group or person will step up to make the far-reaching differences Dr. King and others did is not something I think I'll see in my lifetime. Simply due to fact that there are too many agendas and attempts at self-promotion...the message is always diluted and eventually lost.

MacDaddy said...

Scott: Thanks for becoming a follower of daddyBstrong. Hope you come back and make a comment now and then. I'll check out your blog as well.

RiPPa said...

Mac, I agree with some of what was said in the post, but I am also very wary of this type of talk. It is this exact rhetoric which has kept us divided. That said, I have to question when something like this is said even in a Liberal presentation that is truthdig.org.

I think getting into politics or running for office is a noble undertaking. Many people who do have great aspirations but are often met by reality. And that reality is the fact that plutocratic interests supercede the will of the people.

Money talks and bullshit runs the marathon.

MadMike said...

This was a most thought provoking read Daddy. Your careful research made for an interesting view of cultures in conflict from both internal and external forces. Sadly, I don't see an end, at least not in my lifetime, despite our best efforts.

MacDaddy said...

Rippa: Thanks for the insight. And you're right: These discussions can keep us divided. But I think the discussion is warranted precisely because we are so divided. More specifically, I think a lot of politicians have sold black folks out. I think they've climbed the backs of some truly dedicated leaders-- some of whom paid the ultimate price-- to gain politically and materially for themselves what they should have gotten for blacks as a whole. But I fully acknowledge that this talk can be a very dangerous thing for us indeed.

CurbyGurl: Thanks for dropping by. And thanks for your perspective as always. And amen to all you said.

Stella by Starlight said...

Regretfully, our nation is not color blind. In addition, Americans are increasingly concerning themselves with class and money rather than helping others. No wonder we're in such a mess.

MadMike said...

I just saw a wonderful movie called "The Great Debaters." It touched me deeply and made me keenly aware of the problems we face, even today, many years after what took place in the film. I strongly recommend this flick by the way for those what haven't seen it. It is on pay per view and DVD.