According to black Democrats and pundits, all is well in Negroland. Donald Trump’s assertion that African-Americans had “nothing to lose” by voting for him has hurt the feelings of blacks’ leadership cadres, and black elites — in a rare display of unity — engaged in aggressive deceptions, glorifying mediocrity to the masses.
In contrast, from themes such as “Distress Signal” to “Crisis,” over the past 40 years National Urban League has publicly documented and presented the plight of blacks in America. And at no time has all been well.
The Urban League’s annual “State of Black America” report statistically demonstrates blacks’ political leadership’s substantial failures. The 2016 report, black Americans are just about 72 percent equal to whites.
To come up with this number, this year’s report looked at five categories: economics, education, health, social justice and civic engagement. The measurement shows blacks’ status not on par with white Americans. Median black income is just two-thirds that of whites, the black education equality index came in at 76 percent, health at 80 percent, social justice at 61 percent and civic engagement at 104 percent. (African-Americans tend to be overrepresented in civic engagement because a higher proportion works in the military and public-sector jobs.)
All seems to be well with the Congressional Black Caucus too. Its annual legislative conference claims to be “the leading policy conference on issues impacting African-Americans,” but has dropped the topic of reparations from the forums in the upcoming conference in D.C. next month. Actually, the CBC’s political action committee has endorsed Hillary Clinton in spite of her opposition to reparations.
Democratic Party programs, platforms and preferences regularly take priority over Blacks’ issues. The Democrats give short shrift to blacks and their issues. This “failure in leadership” regarding blacks is manifested in ways ranging from racial disparities in wealth, poverty rates, housing patterns, educational opportunities, unemployment rates, urban apocalypse and incarceration rates. A growing number of blacks claim that current racial inequalities in the U.S. are rooted in centuries of cultural, economic, physical, legal and political discrimination based on race. And these inequities can only be surmounted through significant remedies.
Based on Pollyanna-ish politics, blacks are expected to give the overwhelming majority their 2016 votes to Hillary Clinton despite her lack of a plan, discussion or agenda for blacks’ betterment. Black voters accept second-class treatment from politicians. The situation prompts note of Margo Jefferson’s “Negroland” memoir and study about the black bourgeoisie. The book is an examination of the black upper class’s ways of being and performing and illustrates that African-Americans are missing competent leadership.
Do the masses of African-Americans think all is well in their lives and living and accept and agree to continue Democrats’ disbelief that whites won’t pay reparations? Black Democrats’ continuing reception of this nation’s refusals to provide justice in the form of reparations flies in the face of most African-Americans’ desire and endeavors for equity and fair treatment.
All is not well among America’s blacks. Blacks need some remedy for injustices done us. In my opinion, and that of Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, reparations are owed to African-Americans because of crimes of slavery and ongoing acts of subjugation and supremacy. Reparations would benefit by providing the environment in which African-American talent could rise to its potential. Paying descendants of slaves their just due and improving their opportunities can dramatically increase wealth generation. The Green Party shows that reparations is a reasonable campaign issue and has it as a part of its party platform.
For far too long, blacks have accepted second-class status in American society, as well as in its politics. When will African-Americans demand more from elected officials — black and white?
William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com.