Santa Claus, go straight to the ghetto. Hitch up your reindeer and fill every stocking you find. — James Brown
Where is the “hopelessness” mentioned by Michelle Obama evidenced more than in America’s urban enclaves? Nobody, neither whites nor blacks, cares about the poor among us. If Santa can’t find his way from the North Pole to your house, don’t expect any assistance in direction course or route from people in the city, county councils, Congress or the White House.
Masses of blacks are under a false promise of black political representation. Black elected officials are too busy representing the interests of “all people” and not just one race. Black political operatives are resistant to legislation, laws or practices that is “race-specific.” In essence, the masses of blacks and the middle class just want to go along to get along.
Black leadership is effectively leading us nowhere. Blacks have held high government offices for decades as the environments the represent decline and deteriorate. The black middle class and leadership is too busy chasing and condemning racism to take time to help the “have-nots” among us.
Blacks are enjoying the fruits of American democracy and are well-represented at all levels of government. Record numbers of African Americans hold elective office, but policy preferences of black voters remain unlikely enacted. There are black mayors and majority-black city and county councils. There are 45 black members of Congress and so is the current occupant of the White House. The appearance of black political clout is deceiving, because despite their gains in participation and representation, blacks continue to fare worse than whites.
Jolly old St. Nick is about the only name of note that journeys into urban jungles. The issue of race was often in the forefront of the 2016 campaign, but received little discussion or platforms. It’s time the nation’s underprivileged start built political agenda and platforms. The formation of black neighborhoods is closely linked to the history of segregation in the United States. Today’s urban black residents are routinely ignored and capriciously violated by political office-holders and official policies.
When evaluating whether it’s worthwhile for urban dwellers to step forward on their own, it’s worth noting wealth dynamics taking place within the black community and the widening wealth gap between “black elites,” and other African-Americans. It prompts the question: who is carrying water for us? In today’s two-party system, the political interests of black Americans aren’t represented well. Black voters are “captured” — ignored by one major party and taken for granted by the other. Black voters’ issues are routinely ignored and overlooked resulting in African-Americans being left behind.
It’s time to measure African-American leadership. The typical white household has 16 times the wealth of a black one. Who do you know that’s advocating affirmative action for historically disadvantaged groups? Blacks in the United States continue to lag behind whites in key areas of economic well-being like wealth, income and homeownership, If current economic trends continue, the average black household will need 228 years to accumulate as much wealth as their white counterparts hold today. The top 10 percent of African-Americans accounted for 67 percent of wealth held by African-Americans. African-Americans have the highest poverty rate, 27.4 percent among racial and ethnic groups. Forty-five percent of young black children (under age 6) live in poverty.
If they want “real justice,” black Americans need remind the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to either lead, follow or get out of the way on the issue of reparations. Each black household is due $1.5 million. Three-fourths of blacks are owed a million dollars each but too few exercise the political muscle to prompt H.R. 40. Black leaders have the power to initiate plans, discussions and campaigns toward CBC adaption.
William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com.