One year into the nirvana of a Black man as 44th President of the United States enough time has passed to realize empowerment for the mass of Blacks is not on Barack Obama’s agenda. Is it time yet for Blacks to have the audacity to think about forming their own Political Party? The Old School bluster of Malcom and lyrics of the song "Is That All There Is?" brings the question to the fore.
With a Black man holding the highest office in the land, the idea of a Black Political Party is unfathomable to many African Americans. The symbolism of progress allows these voters the folly of equating racial equality with African Americans holding high Establishment positions. If that is all there is it’s time for more of us to be disaffected. To date, African Americans in high political positions have done little that increased Black American lifestyles or diminished institutions built on racism that clearly remain racist; yet the majority of Blacks spurn steps to create voting blocs and ability to leverage power to get what we want.
Blacks’ issues are not priorities in present parties’ political agendas, yet much hoopla is made that in one generation Blacks have advanced to significant representation in the major American political institutions. This “transformation” is best characterized as moving from protest movements primarily outside normal American political channels to established political behavior inside the political system as the predominant mode of political participation. Mainstreaming of Blacks since the Civil Rights Era has produced some political and economic empowerment. Along with ranking Black politicians, there has been an expansion of an African-American middle class. In 2004 African-American workers had the second-highest median earnings of American minority groups after Asian Americans. African-Americans are the nation’s second largest consumer group with a combined current buying power of over $892 billion - likely $1.1 trillion by 2012. But, the economic bottom-line is that, even in 2006, the median income of African-American men was approximately 76 cents for every dollar of their European American counterparts.
Blacks inside political and private sector systems take as their duty to decry race-based initiatives even as African Americans as a group remain at pronounced economic, educational and social disadvantages relative to European Americans. Despite so-called “empowerment”, persistent social, economic, judicial and political issues for African Americans include inadequate health care access; institutional racism and discrimination in housing, education, policing, criminal justice and employment. Mass “post-racial” idiocy is all the more reason for a Black Political entity. While some Blacks are profiled for personal progression in “the system”, the stark truth is that in October 2008 unemployment rate for African Americans was 11.1%, while the nation rate was 6.5%. The income gap between Black and White families remains significant; in 2005, employed Blacks earned only 65% of the wages of Whites, down from 82% in 1975.
An example of how post-racial politics is debilitating Blacks’ interests is being illustrated in the Governor’s race in Alabama. Rep. Artur Davis represents Alabama's Seventh Congressional District, a twelve county area. Seventy percent of the people in his district are Black, but to win the Democratic nomination Davis’ is running a campaign to get “mainstream” votes. In a statement to counter a legendary figure in Black politics in the state about his shortcomings on racial issues, Davis says “old line” Blacks believe a Black officeholder must follow a certain racial path or “be inauthentic”.
Much of current party political is “inauthentic” for Black Americans. Collectively, African Americans are more involved in the American political process than other American minority groups and have the highest level of Congressional representation of any other minority group; yet, African American-biased legislation is not a priority in national domestic policy.
(William Reed – www.BlackPressInternational.com)