President Barack Obama listens as Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. speaks in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, on the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

“An apology to African-Americans is meaningless without reparations payments.” — Randall Robinson

As black Americans entered 2017, their unemployment rate was double that of whites, 9.2 percent to 4.4 percent. Whites’ wealth rate was almost 20 times that of blacks, $111,146 in holdings compared to $7,113.

In light of these things, black political leaders such as Rep. John Lewis who are operating as loyal Democrats are presenting incorrect and politically-biased interviews.

In contrasting to growing political power, blacks in the United States lag far behind whites in key areas of economic well-being such as wealth, income and homeownership. It’s time blacks recognize and pass judgment regarding disparities between blacks and whites that has persisted over centuries.

While their politicians play “mainstream politics, the meter of progress is running backwards on black America, toward greater inequality. At our current pace, it will take 228 years for blacks to amass wealth equal to that of whites.

Shouldn’t there be a outcry of rage among African-Americans for justice? Why don’t blacks make a formal demand regarding the racial inequality since slavery in the distribution of wealth, power and life opportunities?

Affluence in the country remains overwhelmingly white. Only 1 percent of black families have a net worth above $1.4 million, compared to 9 percent of white families who have that much wealth.

The majority of blacks seem to think that Lewis’ antics represent “political empowerment.” The civil rights icon’s behavior prompts the question: how relevant is the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to black life in America today?

While Lewis dominated the mainstream news by alleging Donald Trump is a “illegitimate president,” most black Americans aren’t aware of legislation presented to the 115th Congress that will impanel a commission to study slavery and its effects that could get each black family a million dollars.

How relevant is the CBC to blacks and their causes when the black group is one of the most reliably Democrat operations in politics? Blacks have succumbed to a “go along to get along” mentality that often fails to serve blacks’ interests. The mainstream media and far too many blacks are paying more attention to Lewis’s blatant party politics move than to Rep. John Conyers’ H.R. 40 legislation that would set up a commission to consider whether reparations should be paid to black Americans as compensation for slavery.

African-Americans have been outside the nation’s economic orbit, on a trajectory that can never achieve parity with whites. As the race’s political prospects declined, black politicians have been useful tools to the Democratic Party. Politically-sophisticated African-Americans will have to move beyond partisan “color-blind” politics and platforms to conversations about the $14 trillion owed descendants of slaves. It’s time blacks take the lead on more conversation and attention be paid the reparations issue.

Black politicians are part and parcel of the Democratic establishment. More blacks need to see that their support of Democratic agenda has enhanced blacks’ inequity and demand members of the CBC “take care of home.”

Mainstream-oriented blacks cower and view reparations advocates as “delusional” with “ill-conceived efforts to force whites to pay for the sins of slavery.” Barack Obama disparaged the concept of reparations and caused blacks to subscribe to “mainstream thought” to their own detriment. Surely a substantial debt is owed. The legacy of slavery hinders the economic progress of blacks in America. Reparations would rectify a historical wrong and help more blacks lift their communities and increase their living standards.

The country still has work to do for blacks to achieve equality with whites. Four out of 10 whites believe the country will eventually make changes needed for blacks to have equality, while 38 percent say enough changes have already been made. Getting our amends in America will require blacks to realistically ask who is carrying water on our behalf. Blacks need to take possession of the politics within our communities by telling candidates for office that we seek those who represent our collective interests.

H.R. 40 needs CBC co-signers. Call the CBC offices at 202-224-3121 and say, “I want to get paid.”

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via

William Reed

William Reed is President and Chief Executive Officer of Black Press International. He has been a Media Entrepreneur for over two decades. A well-trained marketing and communications professional, Reed...

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