Being considered “black enough” is something I have struggled with my entire life. This is probably the one issue I did sympathize with presidential candidate Barack Obama on. Did his Caucasian mother, Ivy League education, and light complexion exclude him for being black? Obviously not since over 95% of African Americans voted for Barack Obama. Had he been a republican candidate, I doubt the results would have been the same. A sworn Democrat is the only way that one of African descent could ever be President of the United States of America.
After being called a derogatory name once again by an African American Obama supporter (who claimed to be a fiscal conservative yet she embraces Obama’s policies ????) it is clear that being a democrat is obviously essential to ones acceptance in the African American community. When I use the term acceptance I am referring to the sort of acceptance that means your are accepted unconditionally. Without names or prejudgments (which is actually prejudice) . I am not referring to being the tolerated friend who gets dragged out of the closet when one needs an entertainment boost at the family picnic. You know the sort. I will pretend to respect your values until I am around my liberal friends/family and then I will join in on the can of verbal whoop ass against the black political sheep.
Any situation such as this should cause indignation and protest on the part of the black conservative but for various reasons, conservatives being conservatives, we are usually conservative about displaying our anger. That is until you are like me and you snap. Not the going street on some folks kind of snapping you see on the Jerry Springer show, but rather the Afrocity no longer gives a damn sort of snapping.
The colors of the American flag are red, white and blue…How is it that America has become so black and white? How is it that Black America has become so rigid in its internal diversity that there is no allowance for dialogue which involves “alternative thinking”. Here alternative thinking is really not that alternative when one considers that Caucasians have frequent discussions on conservatism versus liberalism, religion, and sexual preference. There are black conservative revolutionaries like Thomas Sowell who clearly see the destructive element among African Americans whose sole political identifications lie with the Democrats. As a race we are devoid of true political understanding. A tension lies between what is logical or self advancing versus what is “black”.
Take for instance the situation with the mayoral race in Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta has typically always had a mayor of color, however this soon may change. From this article in the Black Agenda Report:
The End of Black Politics As We Knew It: Will Atlanta’s Next Mayor Be White? Should We Even Care?
October 21, 2009
by Bruce A. Dixon36 years of black Atlanta mayors have given birth to a thriving and empowered class of black managers, attorneys and contractors. But even after moving tens of thousands of poor blacks who once lived in public housing to areas beyond the city limits, fully one third of black Atlanta remains below the poverty level, making Atlanta number 5 in black poverty among the 40 largest US cities, according to current US Census data. So have the generation of black mayors and the crew that brought them in really done African Americans that much good?
The unfortunate answers are maybe, and maybe not.
The 1973 election of Maynard Jackson was supposed to be a great victory, among the first tangible fruits of the fifties and sixties Freedom Movement. The days of marching and striking and demonstrating and boycotting and defying unjust laws, black leaders told anybody who would listen, were over. It was time for those among us who were prepared by virtue of their educations, resumés, good suits and connections, to move into the corporate boardrooms that were now ready to accept them, and the political offices they could now be voted into. The mass movement which opened up those doors was disbanded and sent home. Collective action was to be a thing of the past, except for voting and patronizing black businesses.
Guaranteeing the prosperity of the black business class and the black elite, so the gospel went, was the indispensable key to the uplift of entire black communities. Because he assumed office at the beginning of Atlanta’s mega-airport construction project, Maynard Jackson was in a better position to prove this theory of black economic uplift than the first generation of black mayors in places like Newark or Gary or Cleveland. Jackson retained a visionary purchasing exec who skillfully leveraged mayoral power to spawn more than twenty new black millionaires in the first few years of his administration and lay the foundation for the thriving and empowered class of black contractors and professionals who dominate Atlanta’s political life today.
After 36 years, the results of this experiment are in. It’s a failure. Census data on black poverty rates in the 40 largest US cities reveal that the strategies of boosting black businesses, electing black officials, and locking in the prosperity of the black elite have done all those things without lifting black Atlanta any further out of poverty than cities like hard-hit Detroit or Chicago, which hasn’t seen a black mayor since the eighties, and both of which have lower densities of black businesses than Atlanta. In 2008 33.6% of black Atlanta was below the federal poverty rate, a higher number than Philadelphia or Columbus, higher than Houston or Memphis, or Kansas City or even Detroit. Nationally, Atlanta ranks number 5 in black poverty behind Milwaukee, Cleveland, Long Beach and Portland.
Atlanta has this alarming rate of black poverty despite fifteen years of one of the nation’s most aggressive efforts to bulldoze and clear lower income black neighborhoods.
Rather than caring whether or not a political candidate is of the right color and the right political party, shouldn’t we as African Americans be more concerned that the political candidate will do the right thing for our communities? If most of America’s urban areas such as Atlanta are electing, black elites to office who continue to excel in their personal and professional lives, while their constituents continue to decline and lose their lives…then really what are we accomplishing by voting for such individuals? Why are Chicagoans continuously electing the likes of Democrat Todd Stroger who raises sales tax to 10.25% in a city with 36% of African Americans below the poverty line?
Curse Afrocity for being a Republican all you want. Call me a slave, mammy, Auntie Tom. Accuse me of being a delusional black woman who curses my skin color every time I look at reflection in the mirror. I too sing for black America. I too care about our situation, but I will be damned if I am going to subvert my political freedom in order to pacify your need to adhere to the black political standard.
Autographed Letter Signed,