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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Black Jesus

Back in 2008, this country elected its first Black president.  In the four years that followed, Black people in America sat back and waited for Obama to "do something for us."  Sure he appointed a Black U.S. Attorney, but what else?  Its as if we expected Obama to morph into Jesse Jackson circa 1984--but with a better chance at winning.  We were looking for our savior.

Fast forward to 2012--Black people still wait for Obama to "throw us a bone" (as if the Democratic Party would have nominated this guy in 2008 if he was intent on "blacking out" the White House).  But Obama, in the words of Jay-Z, is off that.  Obama sees the future and it ain't Black folks.

Black people are no longer the "dominant" minority in America.  Sure we blazed the trail for the rest, but we've rested on our laurels of the Civil Rights movement way too long.  It's time for Blacks to realize it ain't just about us anymore.  Check the election stats.  Obama received less than 40% of the white vote, but over 60% of the Black and Latino vote.  Blacks and Latinos together make up about a quarter of the U.S. population, with the Latino population being the fastest growing group in the country.  Within two years Latinos will out number Blacks.  Their birth rates are higher, their incarceration rates are lower (at least proportionately) and theres still that whole immigration thing.  In fact, the same things can be said for just about every racial minority in America (with the exception of birth rates).  The answer then for Black people is to form alliances.

Let's be real: the success of Civil Rights movement has left Blacks feeling entitled.  We did this in the '60s, so it's only right you do that for us now.  There should be more Black federal judges.  There should be a broader safety net.  There should be more government contracts given to minority (read Black) contractors.  And so on and so on.  The problem with this is that Blacks are politically a dying breed.  We don't vote with regularity.  Fewer and fewer Black men are receiving college degrees and more and more are being incarcerated.  Sure we could blame the justice system, but that doesn't explain the decisions that led to any questionable administration of justice in the first place.  With more Black men being convicted felons, that takes away a portion of the electorate (since convicted felons can't vote).  Why invest political capital in a group that's slowly being overtaken by a group that's on the way up?  Obama made his choice, now the rest of Black America needs to make theirs.  If we want Obama to "hook us up" we need to be a part of the group getting hooked up.  That means political (and maybe even economic) alliances with Latino Americans.  Its time to look toward the future and stop living in the past.