by Robert Booker
Black Americans are in the midst of facing many delightful social dilemmas with the election of President Barack Obama. Paramount among them is where does race politics fit in the total equation? Is racism over and done with now and we can all go home? Should we take all our clues from the president, or what? Should we continue the old or adopt the new?
I say lets do both. New leadership has emerged and bold solutions are on the horizon. Many Black people are now forming their social issue strategies on the old wedding axiom of taking something old, something new…and so forth.
The old leadership of Joseph Lowery, Shirley Chisholm, Rosa Parks, Edward Brooke, Medgar Evers, John Lewis and others fought the good fight and accomplished a great deal. New and emerging leadership of Jesse Jackson Jr., Arthur Davis, Michelle Bernard, Eugene Robinson, Michelle Obama, and mommas and daddies all over, bring new ideas and opportunities. Let’s hook em up!
Race politics has been and will remain critical elements of formulating new strategies for Black evolvement in America…and that’s not a bad thing. Diversity has now become a noun, verb, and an adjective. We must adjust and hit the reset button on how we use race and politics as tools of progress in America.
First and foremost, we are a demographic. More precisely expressed, Black people (and others) represent multiple demographics involving that fine old American tradition of green dollar bills. Yup, dead presidents, currency, money or any other descriptive adjective one uses to characterize gold. Remember the golden rule momma taught us, “them that got the gold, makes the rules”. Demographics are powerful gold with the powerful.
Demographics can cause the proverbial glass ceiling to go up or down. The ability of demographics to affect income is often directly and proportionally related to improvement of opportunity. Although opportunity has improved for some, things have gotten worse for others. The ceiling is cracked but still very much in place.
Nevertheless, cracks in the glass ceiling create great opportunity for old and new leaders to finish the job. We can fuse the old Andrew Young, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X strategy of protest and boycott with the new Oprah Winfrey, Richard Parsons, Bill Cosby and Robert Johnson policies of business empowerment, by reacting to free enterprise market conditions. Let us begin by identifying the real enemies and strategizing their demise.
For example, Rush Limbaugh and other talk radio buffoon entertainers feed our flesh to millions of unknowing trailer park (and others) victims. Race based diatribes tighten the shackles around our ankles in the minds of Joe the Plummer and others who think we’re the enemy that prevents them from feeding their families. But Rush doesn’t operate in a vacuum.
These people get their juice (money) from advertisers empowering them to victimize Joe the Plummer and us. Those advertisers sell their products to everyone, which just happens to include Black people. We’re part of the demographic. Our shear numbers of employed in the traditional and underground economy make us a vital part of any product demographic equation.
Black people in America earned over 880 billion dollars of aggregate income last year. We are one giant demographic consumer family. But like any family we’ve got to establish a budget and learn to stretch our dollars by spending our money wisely.
Step one of our new strategies should be to establish something I’ll name “dangerous species list”. A “dangerous species list” is identical to the ones used during the civil rights movement by leaders that “outed” American corporations, foundations and educational institutions investing in the Apartheid government of South Africa. Black people should identify and “publicly out” all those institutional entities supportive of policies and people that slow our progress. Rush type advertisers are at the top of the list.
Step two is for us to distribute the “dangerous species list” and identify all of their products anywhere we gather. Distribution centers should include all churches, mosques, temples, salons, clubs, fraternal organizations, newspapers and radio outlets. Black people should commit to not spending one damn dime of our hard earned money purchasing products sold by those who make our lives any more challenging than they already are.
Step three is for the old heads (like me) to immediately cease and desist publicly calling out individual racist for acting like themselves. We don’t know what’s in someone’s heart. In any event, if they are racist, being identified as such by you won’t phase them, because they don’t care. You’ll just warn them to adjust their actions by becoming more discrete. Cut out their hearts by going for the money. Don’t be a hater. Show them much love.
We have great opportunity in America. The election of Barack Obama can cause a rebirth in our way of life. Let’s build something new by incorporating the best of the old with the promise of the new.
It is a grand honor for the buffalo bullet to run my dear friend Robert Booker. Booker is a self syndicated, independent conservative opinion columnist and former newspaper publisher writing on African American public policy issues. Robert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org