Thursday, October 27, 2005

More Leaders Of Black Productivity And Fewer Leaders For Black 'Civil Rights”

More Leaders Of Black Productivity And Fewer Leaders For Black 'Civil Rights”

As I listened to Professor Cornell West speak at a forum surrounding the book “When Affirmative Action Was White” I could not help but notice his perspective and compare it to the history that I was exposed to earlier in the week having visited a customer of mine.

For Dr. West the solution to Black people's problems were three fold for today. First Black people must unite against the “War In Iraq”. This would codify our opposition to Western Imperialism and White Supremacy. Next we needed to join in with Tavis Smiley's “Black Covenant” Movement that was christened in January at his “State of the Black Union” conference but after which I heard little about. Finally Black people had to link up with the activities surrounding the upcoming “Millions More Movement”. (West's speech occurred a few weeks prior to the event).

In listen to Dr. West's views it is clear that he sees Black progress in the context of a struggle against White overreaching beyond what they should rightfully claim. He focused on years of oppression and how Affirmative Action should be used to reset the clock and give Black people their just due. He talked about how prior American policy was in fact “White Affirmative Action” as Black people were denied the benefit of these policies that White folks used to heal themselves from the Great Depression and post war America.

He and other speakers wasted no opportunity to comment against the “Right Wing Conservative” domination that is in place today. They, it appears, are the biggest threat to Black America.

My conclusion about Dr. West's vision is that if Whites behave themselves, Blacks will then prosper. Since he did not talk about what Black people need to do in the context of White folks acting properly I have to believe that we will naturally rise, absent anything else.

I couldn't help but to contrast Dr. West's perspective with the rich history that I was exposed to earlier in the week. I went to a technology conference in support of a large national railroad company that I support. We were treated to a dialogue with the CEO of this 12 billion dollar company as he talked about how his work force of 44,000 people were facing big challenges in the years ahead. Starting in 2008 and through 2014 more than 40% of his workforce will be retirement eligible. In them resides much of the corporate knowhow. He is depending on us, his vendor partners to increase the safety and efficiency of his operations as he brings in a new crop of employees and has them to operate his “E-Enabled Railroad” into the next century.

He talked about the “Work Force Of the 21st Century”. A question from the audience had him to focus on the state of the local school system and how the dropout rate was unacceptable. He talked about his company's support of a local school in which his employees are credited time for going into schools and exposing them to a world that they are not privy to in their normal course of life.

They talked about all of the employee training, with a particular emphasis on safety training. He told of how employers are being retrained and redeployed as technology makes their old job obsolete and opens up opportunities in other areas.

On the second day of the conference we had the option of taking a tour of the train operations or touring the rather large collection of art that this railroad had amassed. I chose the art tour. The corporate historian told us that most railroads have a tremendous amount of history stored in their archieves. The founder if this particular company requisitioned several artists during the early part of the late 19th century to head into the western part of this country and capture the brilliant natural landscape with the hopes of having people to travel in the West rather than vacationing in Europe as was fashionable at the time.

The bulk of the paintings, however, focused on the culture of Native Americans. These artists captured the daily lives of many of the original people of this land. All of the paintings were done in a respectful manner and served as a small keyhole to the broader world of study of the hundreds of tribes and the unique culture that they all represented.

Now there is little doubt that these same railroad companies who made passenger and cargo transportation easier for Anglo-Americans who were participating in the economy that was established by the USA at the time to further populate the lands of that where these Native Americans lived and there were plenty of wars and blood shed as the battles ensued over control of the land. At the same time someone living today and making such an assessment simply can't abstract themselves from the benefit that they are receiving by living in this land today.

Circling back around to the discussion about Dr. West – ABSENT from the dialogue that I hear from Dr. West and other Black Activists is the presence of a VEHICLE to lift Black people to where they aspire to be. While the owners of these railroad companies grew filthy rich providing services to the people who demanded them – they also operated as the foundation for the economic boom of America that Dr. West and all others reside in. Countless thousands of jobs were created and trillions of dollars of wealth as been created form their network of steel rails. America would not exist in it's present form absent the railroads.

My challenge is to dislodge the heavy Leftist THEORY of a Dr. West and others who have power in the Black community from the actual map of events that we as African-Americans must follow as we walk a path to prosperity.

The railroad is not JUST a tale of exploited workers, and Pulman Porters who were confined to a race based context to Indian wars. This industry served as one ingredient to the recipe of America's success. In my view Dr. West and others who dominate Black consciousness from the left have not the entire perspective and set of components that are necessary to bring Black people to the “healed state” while we maintain the standard of living that we aspire to.

We need a new class of leaders who work to balance out the worthy concepts that are put forth by some of these thought leaders. Their efforts will surely bring more of these abstract thoughts of prosperity and independence to life.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

What Have Liberal Policies WITHIN The Black Community Done For Us?

After years of being assaulted as a "Black Conservative", a title that I don't subsribe to because the word "liberal or conservative" does not indicate anything specific.

Making "liberal" use of the term that others make use of I have to ask "What has 'liberal' policies WITHIN the Black community done for us as a people?"

To be clear I am speaking of policies that Black people make use of to manage each other. This is not in reference to policies supported to expand our rights with respect to White people.

It seems to me that as we seek to TRANSFORM ourselves that there is a need to discipline ourselves. A Bootcamp is not a "liberal" environment where people can wear iPods or long hair as they choose to. We are in need of discipline in order to successfully transform for the better.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Black = Liberal / Left Winger?

Dear Black Commentator:

Once again you have lived up to your billing at the "Attack Sheep Dog" who's job is to round up all wayward Black sheep and to keep them in the pack.

I have a challenge to you that might have you to shift your considerations a bit. Clearly your article was written to document the "powerful LIBERAL base that resides in the Black community". One thing that you missed, however, is that many of the "liberal" cities on your list are also home to a great deal of economic suffering and stagnation.

In my view you are also mislabeling the ideology that many Black people hold. I think that the word "socialist" (I personally use quasi-socialist) rather than left wing or liberal would be a better fit. From Universal Health care which would draw resources in proportion to the money that you have and distribute it to the masses based on their needs to the majority of the other economic policies that you and other "quasi-socialists" support it is clear that "socialist" is a better descriptor than is "left" or "liberal". These words mean little in and of themselves.

My challenge to you though is to switch from the mode of the consideration of "QUANTITY" of support and shift over to the concept of "QUALITY" of your ideas in TRANSFORMING the Black community. In my view the Quasi-Socialist orthodoxy that dominates the Black community (and yes I am a Black man) is not bound toward the transformation of Black folks by any means necessary. It is bound to retaining it's power. You in this article only showed the success of their message to have Black folks to think in this way.

When you dare to make the same measure based on the quality of life and standard of living advances for Black people - that was created by the policies that Black folks support then you have a different story. The fact is that liberal Detroit, liberal Gary, liberal Baltimore have lost much of their economic engine that was built on Capitalism. Your periodical said as much in your "Flight of Capital" series. Despite your heavy allegiance to "liberalism" you have thus far not been able to replicate the same economic environment nor "confiscate" your way back to prosperity in these cities because the "engine" has moved to a different political and tax district and thus you have no control over them.

There are two fronts in the battle that Black folks face - the long time front has been to have the country of America to both hold everyone to the same constitutional standard, not allowing anyone to violate the rights of another based on race and to bestow resources assured to America with fair measure to all. The second front is INSIDE OF THE BLACK COMMUNITY where we TRANSFORM the masses from where they stand to where we want to be as a people. This will enable us to make use of these newly enforced freedoms.

While our "civil rights leaders" have done very well at the external battle, in my view many of them are incompetent at addressing the internal battle. You see in developing a solid culture on the inside the blame game on outsiders does not get you far. Your "liberal orientation" fails miserably in this case. Where we need disciplined minds and a sense of purpose - your "liberal orthodoxy" would have a boot camp that has all of the recruits listening to iPods, spending their money on spinner rims and sneaking out of the barracks looking for women at night.

The failings of "Black Liberalism" is seen when we are LEFT ON OUR OWN without the ability to create UNITY because of our fight against some outsider.

I again ask you to "rerun your report" that you have made. Rather than sorting you "QUANTITY" of support for the same ideas that you have, as you trample on minority ideas. I challenge you to do a sort on QUALITY of these "liberal ideas" to TRANSFORM BLACK PEOPLE. Here is where you will see the flaws in your orthodoxy.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Part 2: Evacuating the Democratic Operatives Out Of Our Midst

I often debate these Democratic Party operatives who often claim to be working in the best interests of Black people and not on behalf of the Democrats. I will bring forth evidence that disrupts the glowing picture that they have of how the Democrats and their Black Elected officials who are Democrats have created in the Black community. Without fail their response will be to point to the Republicans rather than the expected response of defending the record of their beloved elected leader. How does one have a debate that has the objective of bringing resolution and advancement to the Black community when both parties are not bound to some type of framework for the discussion and an objective analyst provides feedback as to if a certain response is grandstanding or obfuscation and does not address the question that is being asked?

It becomes clear over time the main mission of many of them is not resolution of Black problems "by any means necessary" as their radicalism would have you to believe. In fact their agenda is to promote a solution that is based on their ideology since they have rationalized that their ideology has some type of exclusive benefit of being the only true and correct orientation for a Black man to have if he is a "real Black".

I challenge those who are truly above the American system of bifurcated entrenchments and who are really focused on solutions for Black people to call out their brethren who are Democratic operatives in the same manner that they are quick to call out advocates for the Republican party who are Black.

In our community simply giving George Bush a fair shake and coming to the table with an open mind added to one's own knowledge of the limitations of government is tantamount to "treason" in many folks eyes. Often times I am correcting misstatements and all out lies about Bush or some accepted enemy of Black people as christened by the dominant forces in our community. In doing so I am said to be a defender of everything "Bush" when in truth I am very critical of his policies when they deserve criticism. (Rampid spending, lack of a clear alternative to Affirmative Action as he says that college admissions should not be race based but also acknowledges the long history of racial segregation in this country.)

It seem to me that at the end of the day all parties who have their respective positions on the ideological spectrum need to adopt common goals and allow each person to have their own methodologies to get there. There is no such thing as "total unity". The price for attempting to reach this point is seen in the repression of thought that happens along the way.

We need a framework for the evaluation of policies that are thrown our way. In this type of measure we purge those plans that have not worked or have a slow rate of ascention to the said goal. We can take frequent measure to provide feedback and adjustment. We can communicate "Best Practices" to promote those items that work and stay away from those that have failed.

The disingenuous of battling for one's political party in the context of battling for one's race's best interest needs to be kept separate for the same reasons that "church" should be kept separate from "state". The infusion of the two can only lead to perversion of both.

The Democratic Operatives Within The Black Community

I view myself as a Black man who holds traditional values. In my personal life I make note primarily what I need to do to effect change in my life and then I follow a course of action to stick by my plans.

I fully acknowledge that there are some structural issues in this society that will tend to thwart the best laid plans that I have due to my race. This certainly was the case in the past as no amount of "planning" would have allowed a Black man to rise to the top of the government or a corporation prior to structural change in this economy made that even a possibility.

With the above words as a pretext I find it interesting to listen to various Black people that I come into contact with, particularly with their economic and political views. What I find as I listen to them is that many of them are simply spouting the ideological and political understanding that they have been exposed to by leaders who have influence over them.

This in no way is an attempt to diminish their ability to comprehend and make judgments for the best. I am saying, however that absent a "battle of ideas" that are thoroughly and objectively debated and have them witness to this debate you can expect that their views that have been constructed from their experiences will have them skewed toward a certain ideology.

With that said I must give credit to the Democratic Party of America. They have cultivated an active crew of defenders who work for cheap and have direct access to the circulatory system of Black America. They are well camouflaged within the community. These people talk as if they are working in the "best interests" of Black people. In truth they are really just one PERSPECTIVE on Blackness but in their dominant position within the popular Black political ideology they fuse the concept of their ideology and Blackness. Anyone who does not support what they support are therefore "working against the best interests of Black people".

To prove this all you need to do is to listen to them as some popular political issues come about - Supreme Court nominees, the recent flooding and blame game in New Orleans and Federal social spending. Many of their positions taken closely model that of the line put forth by the Democratic Party. Through the powerful forces of the Black press, the Civil Rights orthodoxy, the Black minister in the pulpit and the Black entertainers who have the power to drop messages in their music (Public Enemy, Kanye West) they retain their grip on the understanding of the Black community.

Please don't misunderstand what I am saying. The fact that there is a high amount of correlation between their views and that of the Democratic Party does not have one to conclude conspiracy between these two groups. It may indeed be the case that in their ideology they rationalize things as do many Democrats do and thus come to the same conclusion.

What I am saying is that you will clearly see these people who are supposedly working in the "best interests of Black people" living vicariously through the Democratic Party's best interests. When I hear Jesse Jackson saying at the "State Of The Black Union" conference in front of an all Black crowd that "WE can take back the Congress in 2006" I first wonder who the "We" is since Blacks have never "had control of the US Congress". Secondly I wondered how in a church full of Black folks how he could be so comfortable in assuming that all of these Blacks were DEMOCRATS? Certainly none of them ever called him on these two assumptions.

Just as some Black folks make note of another Black person's use of the words "we" and "they" when talking about Black people as a measure of the person's sense of linkage with the Black community, it must also be noted how these Black Democrats interchange the word "Black" and "Democrat" as if these two were synonymous.

Most disturbingly however is that after all of the advocacy on behalf of the Democrats, having followed the notion that since Blacks are mostly Democrats and thus the Democrats in power is favorable to Blacks, little is noted about the PERMANENT improvement for Black people that has been made or failed to have been made having pursued this course of action on behalf of the Democrats. The people who were highlighted in New Orleans after the flooding had the benefit of living under a long series of Democratic mayors and governors and the same Federal government budget surplus that is credited to Bill Clinton - yet they still are poor.

It is also interesting to note how certain concepts are both propagated and enforced. I recall recently being in a beauty salon following the flooding in New Orleans. As Bush and elected officials I recall one beautician walking back and forth past the television, reserving her negative comments toward Bush and the Republicans only. For me to challenge her inaccurate statements would have me verbally assaulted. I kept quiet and marveled.

I make the case that a FALSE DICHOTOMY has been hoisted upon the Black American. We have been duped into believing that the American two party system is the sole framework for understanding our problems and for solutions. I make frequent mention of other non-white people who reside in this country and who have been achieving rapid absolute economic growth in this country by applying certain methods and practices that work outside of the traditional American system of allocation of financial resources, education and enforcement of community 'laws'.

The solution is to push all political operatives outside of our vital circulatory system. Anyone coming to the Black community offering solutions should be made to prove their previous success at achieving the common objectives that most Black people maintain. Most of our disagreement is over methods to achieve these objectives mostly stemming from their interpretation of the role of the government and their view of the protection of the most liquid of property - one's money received through income and paid as taxes.