Blacks are growing in their frustration with Black organizations for their inability to move the Black agenda. Part of that problem is that no one can really define the Black agenda.
This is a good buzz phrase to use in meetings, but what is the Black agenda? Ask this question of several Black agencies, and you will get several different answers.
What is more important is that once the Black agenda is defined, what each agency and each leader has in common is the inability to move that agenda, because most lack the leadership skills needed to influence government. Too many Black advocates function in the attitudes of race-related issues as if they are locked into the 1950s.
Too many leaders, both Democrats and Republicans, talk about today’s issues with a 1950s focus. Therefore, what is perceived as the Black agenda of today is met with the arguments of persuasion based on the 1950s. Thus, the archaic arguments pushing old ideas such as entitlements and social preferences failed to move the complex issues relevant to Black people in today’s communities.
Black leaders are at an impasse but do not admit to this because of fear of losing their positions. In response, members of the Black community are sounding off against various agencies that fail to move Black issues.
Far too long did many of these Black agencies enjoy the silence and loyalty of Blacks remaining quiet about their blunders. Now it’s not only this columnist, but others as well who are speaking out about the failure of Black agencies to both identify and move any Black agenda.
Black leaders have not been able to move the Black agenda because the opposing side (now Democrats) will argue that we have done our job, Black folks. The Black leader will talk about jobs. The Democrat response is that more Blacks are employed in White-collar jobs today, Mr. Black leader.
The Democrat, knowing the Black leader argument, comes back with the theme of the 1940-‘50s: “Mr. Black leader, in the 1940s Blacks were employed in White-collar jobs at five percent. Come on, Mr. Black leader, it has changed to 32 percent in the 1990s and it surely must be higher today, as you park yourself across from my Democrat desk.”
Leaders today are not prepared to deal with such feedback, because their thinking is locked into the archaic past. Let this columnist be told such a thing by a Democrat. I will remind him of the current facts of today.
I would say, “Look, Mr. Democrat who is supposed to be a friend to and love Black folks, you know d*** well that Blacks still make less money than White Democrats, even with levels of equal education.” (Blacks are afraid to say this for fear of losing a White Democrat friend.)
To make it sound good, I would likely make up a few good-sounding numbers, knowing I would be close anyway. I would go on: “Mr. Democrat, Black women with just a high school diploma earn $672 for every $1,500 earned by a White Democrat woman.”
At this point the White Democrat is ready to mention Obama and/or Oprah. I would cut him/her off and say (getting back on my game), “Don’t give me that rich Black folk crap. Black men with a high school diploma earn $300 for every $2,000 White male Democrat. So today, Mr. Democrat, explain to me why Blacks at all educational levels have higher unemployment rates than both Whites and Hispanics? Huh? Huh? Tell me this, Mr. Democrat.”
Understanding today’s Democrat
Black leaders must understand the psychology of the White Democrat today if they are to move Black issues. The White Democrat today is not the White Democrat of the ’50s.
When you have discourse about Black inequality today, understand that the White Democrat’s understating of the reason for inequality is not that of their slave-owing, racist forefathers. Black leader, the old argument of change needed because of the present negative ramification of slavery is played out.
The argument does not meet today’s generation of White Democrat, and certainly not the Republican, with any real authenticity. Generations have removed them from attaching themselves to or feeling your claims.
The Democrat does not feel that Black issues and needs are the product of slavery and/or discrimination in today’s time as they did from the 1950s to the early 1990s. Most Black entities have not been able to craft a more authentic argument meeting today’s time.
Black agencies need the New Deal Argument. Remember, this term started with this columnist. The New Deal Argument that will move the Black agenda today (once we agree on what this is) must be based on a balance of blame. The balance must involve placing blame on both Blacks and the historical social discrimination against Black people.
Of course, I am drawing from my social science degree to make this claim. Black leaders have to not be afraid to give up the old arguments with Affirmative Action themes relating to jobs, housing and entitlements, because the White Democrat support of such programs and arguments continues to drop.
Why, are Black leaders and agencies afraid to give up these useless arguments of today? I asked a good question and I’ll answer a good question: Because these old, weak arguments are all many of them know.
Stay with me — part two in my next column.
Lucky Rosenbloom welcomes reader responses to 612-661-0923, or email him at email@example.com.
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