Last week, newly elected Democratic Governor Mark Dayton announced a $1 billion jobs stimulus program for Minnesota. It sounds great on paper, but until I see a commitment to reversing the traditional disparities in such projects, it’s just a continuation of employment apartheid in Minnesota.
The record shows that no matter where stimulus proposals come from, African Americans are denied jobs. For eight years, this column has been asking for the plan of inclusion in employment, education and housing consistent with the spirit of Cecil Newman, Nellie Stone Johnson, Dr. Thomas Johnson, Frank Alsop, Father Denzel Carty, and other great Black Americans who have passed from this life.
They would be heartbroken to hear that not only is there no plan in existence or contemplated, but also no Black or White community leaders have stepped up to oppose this. They want nothing to interfere with their separate gravy trains.
This turning of their collective backs on opportunity for African Americans defeats the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., Black history, and the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement. History will rightly record these betrayals as acts of cowardice as “leaders” repudiate the dream and legacy of opportunity and freedom for African Americans in Minnesota.
A $1 billion jobs stimulus program for Minnesota is absolutely great — if you’re White. It is one of the reasons that leadership of all colors in the Twin Cities have refused to discuss and examine the 2010 Disparity Report of October 21 and 22 (see my 2010 columns of Nov. 17 and 24 and December 15). What and where is the Plan for 2011?
Only cowards or quislings would turn their backs on the findings and the warnings contained in that half-million-dollar study disclosing one of the things that is absolutely guaranteed in Minnesota: that people of color, and particularly African Americans, will not get a fair shake when it comes to hiring, the awarding of contracts, and other acts denying general areas of economic opportunity.
There are many in the Black community who say they have the ear of the governor and of the power merchants of the Democratic Party, and yet none of them has spoken above a whisper regarding how Black Minnesotans will fit into this $1 billion jobs stimulus program.
Maybe we have embraced more quickly than I realized what the White governor of Ohio told the Ohio Black Legislative Caucus: that he didn’t need Black people to do anything for him and his administration in regards to the future of African American economic opportunity in Ohio. The only difference between these White governors is that one is Republican and the other a Democrat.
At least in Ohio, the Black legislative delegation challenged the governor of that state to ask for the inclusion of all Americans irrespective of race, creed, color or national origin. When will the Blacks of Minnesota stand up?
It’s February, Black History Month, and yet no one has the courage to demand the basics that there be a place at the table for all of our citizens, regardless of their race or their color or whoever they may be. Think about it, my friends: a $1 billion jobs stimulus program in which the governor is saying he wants to borrow money to make things better so White Minnesotans feel more comfortable knowing there is success at the end of the great highway of White prosperity.
How much longer until Black Minnesotans and others of color are afforded that same courtesy and respect? My oh my oh my oh my. As Bilbo would say, along with Strom Thurmond, happy days are here again for you know who.
Let us offer our prayers for the sons and daughters of the African Americans of Minnesota, the victims of nullification and reversal in exchange for a better White Minnesota. Even in the worst of circumstances, we have been the most loyal and faithful to the republic, to this state, and to the Democratic Party. Yet we find ourselves once again oppressed by intentional nullification and reversal of the interests of Black Minnesotans.
Nellie Stone Johnson said, “Without education there can be no jobs, and without jobs there can be no housing.”
Vikings stadium construction jobs?
Was the Vikings team’s stadium left off the construction jobs bill by mistake, as was the African American Museum? The museum has been put back on the list. Will the Vikings be put on the list? If so, will the team stop breaking the compliance rules identified by the Diversity Study?
Ron hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm and co-hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “ON POINT!” Saturdays at 5 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his solution papers and “web log” at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.