If it’s to be, it’s up to you and me. — Calvin Rolark, Black newspaper publisher, social activist
How “empowered” are today’s generation’s Black Americans? Barack Obama’s election to the highest political office in the land in 2008 was a proud moment for Blacks. It represented another advance in the slow but steady progress Blacks have made in gaining a greater foothold in political leadership.
Political representation is good, but it’s not the essence of real power in America. Political representation is the activity of making citizens’ voices, opinions, and perspectives “present” in public policy making processes.
While Blacks revel in their political “empowerment” think we should be aware of the false promise of Black political representation Record numbers of African Americans hold elective office, but the policy preferences of Black voters remain unlikely to be enacted. Many Blacks view political representation as a potential catalyst for increased racial equality.
According to a Pew Research Center survey, roughly four in 10 Black adults (38 percent) say that working to get more Black people elected to office would be a very effective tactic to help achieve equality. Whites are less likely to view this as an effective way to bring about increased racial equality (24 percent).
Blacks expect their shortcomings in commerce and wealth to be equalized by their ballot power. Black families earn just $57.30 for every $100 in income earned by whites. For every $100 in White family wealth, Black families hold just $5.04.
Instead of building cliques toward collective capitalism, Blacks prefer to participate in partisan politics. Wealth — the measure of an individual’s or families financial net worth — provides all sorts of opportunities. Wealth is the most complete measure of a family’s future economic well-being. After all, families rely on their wealth to pay their bills if their regular income disappears. Unfortunately for many African Americans’ socialist mindsets, wealth in America is unequal by race. Blacks need pay as much attention to GNP figures as they do those on ballots.
Blacks should be more cognizant to sport people and issues that represent their views. If we are to be relevant in America, Blacks need to be about creating businesses and evolving business mindsets. While other ethnic groups gravitate toward American commerce, Africans place hopes for upward mobility on the largess of the public sector and elective office.
Data from the past 50 years reveal the upward yet uneven trajectory of Black political leadership in. In 1965, there were only six members of the House of Representatives were Black. By 2015, there were 49 Black House members but little change in attention to Black issues and projects. The future of Black political representation in Congress is grim, and Blacks ought to mobilize to salvage what they can of racial districting.
If Blacks are to gain equality in America, it’s up to you and me becoming politically and economically relevant through power politics and astute capitalism.
William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com.