Monday, February 18, 2008
The Black Best Interests
The "Black Best Interests" or "The Best Interests Of The Black Community"!
I keep hearing this repeated over and over and over in debates and commentaries.
Who possesses it?
Who stands against it?
Rarely do I see it defined in any particular way. How exactly is it measured?
As I listen to and scrutinize the dialogue I have concluded that the concept of "The Black Best Interests" is really defined as "What is POPULARLY CONSIDERED TO BE In The Best Interests of The Black Community" as defined by the Black community itself. As strange as this might sound - if you are satisfied with the notion that the active MAJORITY of Black folks having defined their notions of "best interests" is indeed descriptive of their ABSOLUTE "best interests" you indeed might be WRONG.
You see - all you have done is to define the POPULAR notions. This is subjective. This is opinion based. This has a lot of bias injected within. When was the last time you have seen those who DEFINE this "Best Interest" actually taking inventory of the real world advancement of Black people and making note of how far THEY have lead us? Of course they do this all of the time with respect to how much they have gotten White people and 'the system' to follow the rules and they have opened the pathway toward seeking recourse in the event that any of them violate our rights. These advances are indeed important. I must make note, however, that these are EXTERNAL issues to the Black community that set the stage for locally elected leaders of our own choosing to govern in our best interests. The true measure of "Black Best Interests" should be focused upon the advancements that are made WITHIN the system of government by people of our own choosing having our rights to live as we choose secured by the protections that are stated above.
For me I must take a more empirical and systematic approach and add the requisite constructs to the question in order to come up with a more definitive measure of what is indeed "in the Best Interests of Black folks". There must be some fixed reference defined in order to turn what is otherwise subjective into something that we all can plainly see as being the case.
First - clearly it is the best interests for a group to gravitate to some common goals. Why aren't these goals defined as the foundation of the debate over "Best Interests" if it is a credible debate then? Absent such a list I note that representatives of the people in power often cherry pick from a wide range of items in order to paint a rather unbalanced picture of what they have done while in power to benefit Black people. There is no measure of "comprehensiveness" detailed in their response. (ie: How many Black people are actually benefiting from a particular strategy that is popular among us?) Surely their list is out of tune with the realities on the streets of Black America per the continued grievances heard from our people.
Based on my research the universal best interests of Black people are defined as follows:
1) Attainment Of Quality Education
2) Safe Communities
3) Local Economic Development
4) Healthy Lifestyles
I have listened to Black folks - left and right - and I can safely conclude that these points are what all of them can agree upon. I have also introduced a 5th point as a means of driving home the point of a disciplined way forward:
5) The execution of the first 4 goals as EFFICIENTLY as possible using the most COMPREHENSIVE solutions so that the maximum amount of the community can recognize the benefit as soon as practical
This #5 is important because it removes from the table the consideration of "crumbs" that have been gained from an INEFFICIENT movement when we could have had a LOAF OF BREAD had we had the constraint of EFFECTIVENESS, COMPREHENSIVENESS and EXECUTION as our operating mandate. Today many of our leaders operate in this zone of low expectations placed upon them. They live down to these objectives routinely.
With respect to the label: "The Best Interests of Black America" - it stands to reason that this state is obtained by any faction who can MEASURABLY PROVE that they are indeed moving the collective closer to obtaining these 5 points in our destination. We can consider improvements on standardized tests per the self directed supplemental education that is offed BY US to augment the failings of the public school system, the reduced unemployment via the corresponding increase in businesses of our own in our community, the reduction in street crimes because there is more self-initiated community bonding events and thus the former petty thief is no longer inclined to break into someone's home that he knows and finally - a reduction in diabetes among Black people in a particular community because of a program that goes door to door getting community members to come out and walk around the block for exercise. (I think I just happened upon a #6 principle - The Organic, self-initiate, self-directed nature of our actions where we are not waiting for external help to give us what we need)
I especially want to attack the notions of POPULARITY as there is no particular reason why these measures must be POPULAR as a prerequisite for moving us closer to our goals. In the world of diets - surely it is more popular to seek out that one pill that you take in the morning and magically shed 40 pounds after 4 weeks of doing nothing else to contribute to your goal. Certainly there is billions of dollars per year that is made by the people supplying the pills to satisfy the popular demand. The alternate weight-loss route of going to the gym and exercising only to wake up the next morning and not be able to get out of bed due to the muscle pain that you experience ranks very low on the list. Despite its low rating on the POPULARITY scale- empirical evidence shows us that exercise is far more EFFECTIVE for individuals aspiring to reach their weight loss goals than is that magic pill. Beyond this it is the LIFESTYLE CHANGE where the exercise regimen is integrated as part of one's daily routine along with better dietary choices works most EFFECTIVELY at achieving this goal. Few people are willing to sacrifice as such and thus this is not a POPULAR course of action.
In truth that pain felt in the morning is a sign that your body has been worked beyond what it has gotten used to. You have ripped some muscle fibers that hadn't been challenged in years. The pain that you experience is your body's natural recovery process. Once completed the pain subsides and your body is stronger than it was prior to your workout. Thus the temporary pain that had to be endured was actually a gateway to more strength and greater capabilities for the future. It may be easy to converse about this pain in theoretical terms instead of suffering through it - but indeed it is for the best for your body.
Why then are my people so inclined to focus on POPULARITY rather than EFFECTIVENESS? Part of the reasons are associated with "group think". We have some active "Attack Sheep Dogs" who punish dissent and thrive on "forced unity". Even though we produce some of this nations most strident Rebels and Revolutionaries who work to counter the US Government, corporate entities and the prevailing White Establishment - when it comes to the criticism of THEIR ACTIONS they don't seem to have the respect for free speech and diversity that they have lobbyed for in these other adversarial entities.
Having done battle with these forces for years and making note of their canned responses - I have leanred not to take their assaults personally. Instead I marvel at the techniques that the particular individual uses. Some are more cleaver than most while the majority simply don't have the intellect to disguise their antics beyond the simplicity of "either you go with the crowd of Blacks or I'll attack you and 'Uncle Tom You'" that they display. Little intellectual jousting is shown on their parts.
Beyond these battles - the RESULTS OF THE WAR cannot be spun! Time is the true disinfectant. 40 years and millions of individuals who serve as samples as to the efficacy of the plan "is what it is". There is no excuse that can be justified otherwise. Yes we will continue to hear from them about the damage that Slavery has done which continues to perpetuate throughout the Black community today. I have a hard time believing, however, that the kid who was born in 1995 that I was helping to read over this past weekend is a victim of Slavery and Jim Crow. In his case his mother did not practice his reading with him enough to make any difference. He was in 6th grade but had difficulty reading material about Louis Armstrong that was written at a third grade level. I told him that he needs to find an older person who could help him figure out the words that he was struggling with but by all means he needed to PRACTICE!
Despite these modern painful truths there are still a number of Black people who have a long roll of "police tape" in which they seek to extend the crime scene far back into the past to explain the circumstances of today. This does nothing more than IMOBILIZE and OBFUSCATE the issues of today. There will be NO SCIENTIFIC STUDY done in order to come up with a more EFFECTIVE MEANS of moving forward with these tactics in place. The only thing that can result is MENTAL PACIFICATION, the assumption of the notion that "It ain't our fault that we are this way. WE WERE MADE TO BE THIS WAY by the events of our past."
Ultimately the Black Community in aggregate must decide the importance of REACHING THESE GOALS that I have detailed up above. We must ask an honest question of ourselves - Has our interests in PARTISAN POLITICS and IDEOLOGICAL LOYALTY trumped our willingness to open our eyes to the painful truth that is upon us AND the relative protections and resource via the law that was never in place before in the event that external mauraders destroy our communities...despite all of this in place today....broad stretches of GOALS as a people remain UNMET and the no closer in sight.
I thought that as a faction GREW in power they would be LESS inclined to blame some outside entity for their failures? This CLEARLY not likely to happen - when there is no COUNTER FORCE present to scrutinize the performance of this faction that has monopoloy control. Where is the INDEPENDENT force of the Black commuity that DEMANDS RESULTS after we have previously agreed to follow this course that the leadership has taken us upon??? Maybe the problem is that we have a COMMITMENT TO THE IDEOLOGY THAT THEY ARE PREDISPOSED to agree with rather than having a full commitment to the END GAME - regardless of the IDEOLOGY that takes us there?
Today there is a CIRCULAR REFERENCE in place within our community that keeps us neutralized:
#1 "Why do most Blacks vote and think as we do today? Our votes are in the bag before we even enter the polling place. Is this a good thing? "
#2 "Because we are expressing the popular mandate of our people! - Look at the numbers. Black people know who has their best interests in mind and who care for us. Are you calling Black people STUPID?"
#1 "No. I am just trying to figure out why, despite our near unity of ideology we are still short of satisfaction within our own communities. What ever we are doing - it is not working to solve our problems."
#2 "Well please tell me what THE OTHER GUY who doesn't care about us is going to do any differently and then we'll change and begin supporting him!"
The sad fact in this oh so common exchange within Black America is that #2 WILL NEVER ASK THE PEOPLE WHO ARE IN CHARGE RIGHT NOW to tell him WHAT THEY ARE DOING TO MAINTAIN HIS SUPPORT. He will never consider the fact that he remains DISCONTENT despite their growth in power over him. He is instead EXTERNALLY YOLKED - more focused upon what his ADVERSARY is doing to get away from him than he is about what HE IS DOING while he is alone. He might even fuse his own development goals in with this external political enemy becoming a more valiant and consistent warrior on behalf of his party than the other members as he more of his racial development goals vested in this political entity than does the other party mates do.
The fact that those in power are ideologically compliant with him is enough to pacify his mind. Ultimately - He has done EVERYTHING NECESSARY to remain where he is today - in the future. The punishment of "asking the tough questions" upon his own virtually insures this. Where is their support of free speech, agitation and revolution where it is needed most?