It is a shame that after all these years, the Black socio-political structure seems inept. With a plethora of slogans and protests, there’s been little progress in Black America, even with a Black president. That’s not a dig. It’s just a shame.
It’s hard not to see the inconsistencies plaguing a progressive movement toward social parody in America. The “pimping” of the racial divide has lined pockets of politicians, developers, lobbyists and NGOs with annual commemorations that only open old wounds and supply donors with honorary “POC Friend” awards, while perpetuating the practice of impotent outrage. If one were to remove the emotion and the trained response, clarity would reveal a disturbing notion: The designated “leaders” are merely pressure-relief valves from our community for the “state.” I make this statement with a heavy heart and a love for my children, and the desire for future generations to live better.
The “stock response” has not worked; it has neither removed the racists from the ranks of law enforcement nationwide nor addressed the racist policies that empower and protect them. This reality has left America even more fractured politically and economically, although Black culture permeates the American persona, from food to music. Hell, even white girls want figures like Black women now. Yet, justice for Black people, Native Americans and other people of color seems unattainable, although it may very well be the “Great Fix” America needs. The wrongs perpetrated against Black America are researched and reported on but never fully addressed. The reality is the Democratic Party takes the Black vote for granted, and the Republican Party takes the 13 percentage points as a handicap in national elections. And with all the data and all the reports, there’s still no stopping gerrymandering and the recurring assault on voting rights.
The new generation of authors and activists have irritated the hypocrisy, recounted the crimes and traced the steps of justice seekers, only to be left empty by the great American unwillingness to change. The disenfranchised have no viable leadership, and those of all creeds and colors hoping to improve America are starving for real options.
I worry about the children, the country we are leaving them and the social mess that reduces real dialogue to slogans. “Justice of Else!” Or else what? “No Justice, No Peace!” Meaning what? “Black Lives Matter!” Matter to whom? A system that was built on you, by you, for everyone but you? And there’s my favorite, “Support the Troops,” as we send young Americans into harm’s way for corporate interests, and then treat the survivors like national burdens who need fundraising operations when they return.
So like the country’s infrastructure, the potential greatness of America is deteriorating because of willful neglect by a majority of compromised elected officials, by community leaders who seek favor from the power structure at the community’s expense and American clergy who have made millions duping of the poor of spirit into an industry.
So for many, the notion of the American dream is a painful reminder of all the things you should have as an American but are denied by those who seek to “keep the dream” for themselves.
Randall Robinson quit America because he saw no willingness to fix America. So did W.E.B. Du Bois.
To stay and fight to improve the American experiment would include federal oversight of police departments to require a residency rule, reparations for enslaved people who suffered through discriminatory policies throughout the 20th century (this can be done through the Social Security system) and term limits for all political offices.
The goal is to make America worthy of the sacrifices so many have made. Then America can truly be great—for the first time in its history.
Edward J. Harris Jr. is a documentary filmmaker and entrepreneur.