Sovereignty: A New Year’s resolution for Black America
Patrick Delices | 1/9/2014, 12:59 p.m.
Traditionally, a New Year’s resolution is a declaration that something tangible or measurable will be rendered to enhance the quality of one’s life or living standards. However, as we approach 2014 without a clear collective resolution, the quality of life for Blacks living in the United States is disturbing, disappointing and unacceptable.
According to BlackDemographics.com, the poverty rate for the estimated 44,456,009 Blacks living in the United States in 2012 was 28.1 percent, which is an increase from 25.5 percent since 2005, where, for the most part, Black families are living on $2 a day or less. The Pew Research Center, in a 2011 study titled “Wealth Gaps Rise to Record Highs Between Whites, Blacks, Hispanics 20-to-1,” illustrates that from 2005 to 2009, Black households lost 53 percent of their wealth and, as a result, our assets were 5 percent that of whites. Moreover, BlackDemographics.com indicates that Blacks in the United States have an unemployment rate that nearly doubles the overall population where the income/wealth disparities and poverty/incarceration rates of Blacks are calamitous under a biracial president.
By the way, according to J.A. Rogers in “The Five Negro Presidents” and Dr. Auset Bakhufu in “The Six Black Presidents,” President Barack Obama is not the first “Black” president of the United States of America. Nevertheless, recently, Obama granted clemency to 14 drug dealers (eight were granted commutations and six were pardoned) who destroyed Black families and communities. Obama has yet to pardon or grant a commutation to Black political prisoners who have empowered Black families and communities. Furthermore, this biracial president has yet to improve the quality of life for African-Americans.
According to the Sentencing Project, “The United States is the world’s leader in incarceration, with 2.2 million people currently in the nation’s prisons or jails—a 500 percent increase over the past 30 years.” In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that in 2009, Blacks comprised 39.4 percent of the total population of those incarcerated, as they only constituted 13.6 percent of the U.S. population in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
In spite of living in a “post-racial society,” the future of Black America looks bleak unless we seek our own land along with economic, political and cultural independence. For Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz in “The Price of Inequality,” “the growing inequality over recent years suggests that the level of opportunity in the future will be diminished and the level of inequality will be increased unless we do something. It means that the America of 2053 will be a much more divided society than even the America of 2013.” As a result, Stiglitz states that “it is at the bottom and the top where the United States performs especially badly: Those at the bottom have a good chance of staying there, and as do those at the top,” where despite “full equality of opportunity, 20 percent of those in the bottom fifth would see their children in the bottom fifth.”
Since our enslavement, we have been at the bottom of the economic reality and socio-political development of the United States. Hence, commencing on Jan. 1, Blacks in the United States must strive to achieve sovereignty given our heartbreaking living conditions and lugubrious quality of life, along with the historical fact that our sovereign rights as Africans have been interrupted and usurped by the European-American empire, as evident in the transatlantic slave trade, chattel slavery, Jim Crow, medical apartheid, the New Jim Crow, terrorism and systematic racism.