More than two decades ago, I concluded that the more Blacks that we would elect to public office, the worse our condition would become in this country. This has resulted from our practicing plantation politics. Whites select “our leaders.” We elect them. The “white” primary still exists despite Smith v. Allright. Statistics support this conclusion. Black inmates in the criminal justice system have increased more that tenfold since the enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Poverty is on the rise. The number of Blacks attending college is shrinking. The number of Black homeowners is decreasing and Black unemployment is on the rise.
Whites are not only compiling these statistics, but they are also devising strategies around them. Once I became aware that Sen. Barack Obama was not molded in the likes of Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, I predicted, before the start of the presidential sweepstakes, that he would become the nation’s 44th president.
Cong. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. submitted his “Black Position Paper” to the 88th Congress. In it, he said, “Black people must seek audacious power.” Moreover, “The Black masses must demand and refuse to accept nothing less than the proportionate share of political jobs and appointments which are equal to their proportion in the electorate.”
Today, neither Black leaders nor Black masses have drafted a “Black Position Paper. “It is a case of “the blind leading the blind.” “If you do not know where you are headed, any road will get you there.” Cong. Powell had drawn a political map. This is why he was booted out of Congress.
On the other hand, neither Gov. David Paterson nor Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith would ever dream of devising a specific agenda for Blacks. At best, some Blacks are third party beneficiaries of some of their public policy positions. If you are gay, for example, you may benefit from Paterson’s same-sex marriage proposal, even though most Blacks oppose it.
Paterson and Smith cater to special interest groups and not to aggrieved ethnic groups. Although the “founding fathers” were white males, the U.S. Constitution was written by special interest groups. It was not enough to be a WASP. There were not only sectional rivalries, but there were also competing interest groups like manufactures and planters. Forget about public policy. Paterson and Smith will not even enforce the Constitution if it means protecting the legal rights of a Black person and also offending whites. This should be a birthright. Minimum costs are associated with enforcing constitutional rights.
John White of Suffolk County is an example. He was wrongfully convicted of killing a white racist who was trespassing on his property while the racist, with a white mob, was threatening to do serious bodily harm to his family. Paterson has refused to pardon White. Instead, White may go to prison. The same thing can be said for his shortchanging the “Central Park Six” after the court lifted five of their wrongful convictions.
Supposedly, the Constitution guarantees everyone a level playing field. Historically, Blacks have suffered constitutional hiccups. Enforcing the Constitution for Blacks is like playing musical chairs with all seats reserved for whites who started playing musical chairs in 1787. Blacks had to wait until 1868. By then, whites owned all the seats.
With no reparations on the horizon, Blacks will simply continue to be political caretakers for whites. We have no communities and no special interest groups. As Dr. Martin L. King Jr. had predicted, Blacks are living in chaos and not in communities. Politics is a mirage.
The NYPD is a belligerent, occupying force designed to employ terrorist tactics to maintain the status quo and to protect private property. Its presence in the Black colony guarantees an impediment to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Mayoral control of schools to advance Black children is a fraud.
Against this backdrop, the plight of Latinos is similar to the plight of Blacks. Neither group has leaders that are concerned about the plight of its people. The difference between Black leaders and Latino leaders is that Black leaders are wedded to the Democratic Party, even if it means supporting a Latino governor and a Latino majority leader in the New York Senate. Even though the Black “community” is disorganized and dysfunctional politically, I would bet anything that it would not tolerate two Black rogue politicians turning their backs on the Democratic Party simply because there was a Latino governor and a Latino leader of the New York Senate. State Sens. Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate are “D-minus” politicians who are self-promoters and incapable of engaging in critical or moral reasoning. They do not want to upset the status quo. Instead, they are seeking a return to it. In New York State, it is abnormal for a Black Protestant and a Black Roman Catholic to be members of the “Gang of Three.”
It has been said for years that any candidate for an at-large position in New York must visit the 3 I’s; namely, Ireland, Israel and Italy. When Paterson became the lieutenant governor, the “Gang of Three” consisted of Gov. Eliot Spitzer, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Everything was quiet among Black and Latino leaders.
The problem is even more glaring in New York City, where white minority rule rules the roost even though the majority population consists of Blacks, Latinos and Asians by a long shot.In New York City, it is the “Gang of Two” that makes all municipal deciions. The “Gang of Two” consists of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn. White minority rule operates in New York City like it once operated in South Africa. New York City is a police state,as is set forth in the New York City Charter. The governor can remove both the mayor and the police commissioner if they refuse to back up the police. The problems in New York City and New York State are structural.
This problem will continue until the so-called minorities in New York start acting like the majority and start to understand how to exercise their balance of power. Dr. Carter G. Woodson highlighted this problem in “The Miseducation of the Negro.” Blacks, Asians and Latinos should read this book in addition to Dr. Amos Wilson’s “Blueprint for Black Power.”
Blacks, Latinos and Asians make up 40 percent of this state’s population, while whites are divided between urban, suburban and rural, on the one hand, and the Republican, Democratic and Independence parties, on the other hand. Blacks, Latinos and Asians fill the gap in the Democrats’ edge over the Republicans.
This should mean that Blacks, Latinos and Asians are engaged in coalition politics and are either not being an appendage of the Democratic Party or not burglarizing the Republican Party. Instead, Espada is looking to give the Republicans an edge in the apportionment of federal and state legislative bodies for the next decade. He has cashed in his constituents for 30 pieces of silver.
Politics is about exercising political leverage to increase the economic benefits of a group and to reduce its economic burdens. It would be suicidal for historically oppressed groups to follow Paterson and Smith, on the one hand, or to follow Espada and Monserrate, on the other hand. This is a matter of picking your poison.
June 18: Veteran activist Dick Gregory will speak in New York City to the Black community on myriad topics. There will also be a fire sale of Black memorabilia and door prizes. This is a must-attend symposium on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Friendship Baptist Church, 144 West 131st Street in Harlem.
June 20: Dinner-dance for Freedom Retreat for Boys and Girls at the Cotton Club, 656 West 125th Street in Harlem, from 9 p.m. There will be a sumptuous buffet, live music featuring vocalist Ann Sinclair and the Cotton Club All-stars, door prizes, a raffle drawing and more to help our children attend the 2009 Freedom Retreat for Boys and Girls. Celebrate Father’s Day with UAM.
June 24:UAM Weekly Forum at Elks Plaza, 1068 Harriet Tubman (Fulton Street) near Classon Avenue in Brooklyn at 7:30 p.m. Take the “C” train to Franklin Avenue. Two blocks to Elks Plaza. Admission is free. Parent orientation for Freedom Retreat for Boys and Girls starts at 5:30 p.m.
July 5-August 1: Freedom Retreat for Boys and Girls for children ages 7-15 in the Catskill Mountains. This summer retreat was established in 1994 after the “Central Park Six” to avoid future wrongful convictions of our children. These convictions cost families thousands of dollars in legal fees, coupled with travel and lodging fees, simply because they lacked legal, survival and social skills. All children will participate in a legal advocacy program, recreational activities and tour the Underground Railroad, among other important activities. This is the only African-centered, sleep-away, summer retreat in the nation. For more information, call UAM at (718) 834-9034.