All Articles Tagged "african american leadership"
(WABE) - Illegal immigration is an issue that divides the African-American community. Many black leaders have opposed the controversial immigration bill that Governor Deal is expected to sign any day. But one major local black organization has not officially opposed the bill. Victory for the World church is a mega-church off of North Hairston Rd. in Stone Mountain.
Working and middle class blacks make up the congregation. Immigration isn’t an issue that’s on top of the minds of the faithful, but it’s still an issue that Pastor Kenneth Samuel brings up in a recent sermon. ”Hispanics, they work under conditions that most black brothers and sisters I know wouldn’t even think about. Now, we’ll work in Kentucky Fried Chicken, but have you ever been to the chicken plants in Georgia?”
(AP) — The state’s highest court is about to see another milestone. Yvette McGee Brown will be sworn in Saturday as the first African-American woman justice on the Ohio Supreme Court. Her swearing-in comes after Justice Maureen O’Connor took the oath of office on Friday, becoming the first woman to serve as Ohio’s chief justice. The 50-year-old McGee Brown will be the third black justice in Ohio history.
Unless you’re plugged into the feeds of international news organizations or you get your news directly from the Wikileaks site, you wouldn’t know that many of the Wikileaks cables delve deeply into issues which impact the continent of Africa and other brown and black countries. You wouldn’t know because the brown and black mouthpieces responsible for connecting the dots have been – by in large, well…silent.
In the last few weeks, we’ve learned that the cables reveal that the Saudi government believes that Hezbollah is setting up bases in Africa and that China is operating on the continent in partnership with ‘unsavory’ regimes. No surprises here. Africa has become a veritable wasteland to an array of world leaders for whom the road to economic dominance meanders through Africa’s limitless pool of slave labor and mineral-rich resources.
It is also no surprise that, as usual, the global community doesn’t give a rat’s behind about the plight of the dark continent or its inhabitants. For the most part, establishment journalists have gone on the hunt for Wikileaks founder Assange in lockstep with the governments that he offended by leaking the official diplomatic cables. Instead of directing their critical voice at the corrupt governments who lie, steal, and break both national and international laws, pseudo-journalists have their crossairs aimed at Assange. Mixed in with the meshing of pretend journalists and administration officials, however, is the deafening silence of African American leadership (if such a thing still exists) on the Wikileaks revelations on Africa.
Rev. Jesse Jackson said that the release of some decades old cables in which Mandela’s attorneys expressed concerns that Jackson was working too closely with the South African government to secure Mandela’s release unearthed painful memories (Note: Mandela’s attorneys were probably right). Here we are in the midst of what may be the largest dump of raw government information in American history and our default civil rights leader is worried about his emotions, further undergirding the false narrative pushed by the establishment media that the Wikileaks releases are merely gossip. Move on folks…nothing to see here.
In order for the life’s blood of truth to pump through the veins of a fully functioning democracy, the organism’s fitness must be maintained by a steady intake of information revealed which can only be revealed through investigative journalism. And actions must taken by active dissident factions to follow up on those revelations. These dual functions are necessary to enrich truth. In America, we have neither. Flatline.
Those who are coming to the defense of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange are not the familiar copycats who boldly go where every rebel has gone before. They are not rioting in the streets, risking having their brains splattered on the concrete, or peacefully marching arm in arm as a show of civil disobedience. They are hackers.
At a gathering of hackers in Germany for the annual Chaos Computer Club (CCC) meeting, the group reiterated their core beliefs: “All information should be free. Mistrust authority. Computers can be used to create art, beauty and help transform life for the better. Access to computers, and to information that shows how the world functions, should be limitless and complete.” As we speak, hackers are mirroring the Wikileaks site and working to build new alternatives such as Openleaks, a project started by former CCC attendee and Wikileaks spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg.
Unlike the relics of the civil rights era, hackers are doing more than just going on the record about Wikileaks. They are actively preparing for a new generation of struggle and oppression. Whether we agree or disagree with their methods, we must acknowledge that hackers recognize the chaos afoot and are plotting a new way forward. Increasingly, we must examine the ever apparent reality that people like Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton, who appear on cable news shows only to tell us what we already know and leverage their own financial interests, are relics of days long gone. They are not only expendable, but detrimental to the causes for which we care about so deeply.
We’ve seen Jackson and his cadre jettison off to South Africa and to a variety of other locations as surrogate diplomats for the U.S. government. But whatever happened to standing up to – not on behalf of – government? Well, it still happens. It’s happening now. If you don’t smell revolution in the air, it’s probably because you’re sniffing around in dead grass. The revolution will not be televised, probably won’t be tweeted, and most certainly won’t be instigated by the sames names and faces which we relate to the 1960′s Civil Rights movement. It’s time to move on.
Yvette Carnell is a former Capitol Hill Staffer turned political blogger. She currently publishes two blogs, Spatterblog.com and GoGirlGuide.com.
(Washington Post) — As President Obama prepared to sign his $858 billion tax dealFriday, White House aides moved quickly to soothe the anger among liberal constituency groups that bitterly opposed the measure. An e-mail distributed to black leaders declared the package a “major victory for African-Americans,” arguing that a series of middle-class tax cuts will give “targeted” aid to minorities. The White House also invited one of its key African American surrogates, the Rev. Al Sharpton, to Friday afternoon’s bill signing and scheduled a private meeting with top labor union leaders who had railed against extending the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy.
(The Phoenix) — When the Theater District’s Cure Lounge ejected a group of black Harvard and Yale alums and grad students last month, many saw it as the latest confirmation of Boston’s racist core. It is a perception — as old as Bill Russell and as current as Skip Gates — that successful, professional-class blacks will find more hostility than welcome in the Hub. The Cure incident also caused heartburn for city leaders. With two major black conferences coming to Boston this summer, they hope to prove how far Boston has come in terms of race relations. The Urban League conference in July and Blacks in Government (BIG) the next month are expected to bring a combined 13,000 visitors to the city — breaking what has been, in effect, a quarter-century boycott of Boston. If something like the Cure incident were to happen during those conferences, it could do exactly the opposite, setting the city back years.
(NPR) — Democrats and Republicans have chosen leaders for the upcoming two-year session when Republicans take control of the House of Representatives. Both created new posts filled by African-Americans to guarantee diversity in the ranks. Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel was censured for financial and fundraising misconduct; and Michael Steele loses support to keep his post at the helm of the Republican National Committee. Host Michel Martin discusses these developments with Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Mary Kate Cary of U.S. New & World Report.
(The Grio) — Change, a concept on which President Obama ran — and won — in the 2008 election, is the one constant we can rely on in the new political era. Just two years ago, the president won a historic victory that swept Obama into the White House. Two years later, he and Democrats on Capitol Hill are contemplating the political road back — in the midst of a crock pot economic recovery and an angry electorate that is concerned about unemployment, increased government spending and the reality of the American dream for our children. While the political winds for Democrats have been brutal, results for African-American politicians have been a mixed bag — a sign that the community continues to make progress towards political parity in America. As we enter the second decade of the 21st Century, the electoral landscape for African-Americans has changed dramatically.
Over the past three years, we have witnessed the rise of a Black man to the highest office in a country where Black people were once property, where we were defined in the Constitution as three fifths a human being, in a country of Black Codes and Jim Crow laws. He is a President in a nation where Black suffering is still not only legislated but tolerated and sometimes encouraged. This means a lot for the future of humanity in the United States.
Particularly, it means a lot for the future of White Americans and for the first time in the history of American racial reconciliation, they seem to recognize that. To be honest, they seem terrified by it. Not surprising however is how woefully unprepared leadership within the Black community seems to seize the moment. Leaders of today are at the wall of Jericho and poised for the Promised Land but the proverbial walls will not come tumbling down without the faith and courage of a few good men. Where are they? Who represents the Joshua generation and what must be done?
The day before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed in Memphis, he delivered a soul-stirring speech. Written in support of the city’s striking sanitation workers, toward the end, it took a turn into the prophetic. He said, “We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop.” This is of course his famous allusion to the Biblical story of Moses leading the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt. Dr. King was of the Moses generation, the folks who fought hard toward a winnable peace but who will never live its manifestation.
King was allowed to see the Promised Land. Others have been allowed to see the election of a Black President but we have leaned too hard on the old guard, on the Moses Generation for their vision and courage. The freedom fighters of the Civil Rights era and those who came before cannot chart a new course for tomorrow. Just as the Hebrews of old needed leadership beyond Moses, so does a struggling Black community.
Barack Obama refers to himself as a member of the Joshua generation. Speaking in Selma, Alabama as a presidential candidate, Obama said “I’m here because somebody marched. I’m here because you all sacrificed for me. I stand on the shoulders of giants…We’re going to leave it to the Joshua generation to make sure it happens.” Disparities that exist along racial lines have always been points of weakness to the integrity of the United States.
Barack Obama is no stranger to the flaws in the American character. In just the first short year of his Presidency, it has been uncovered like a wound that refuses to heal. There it was in the shouts of Joe Wilson, in Hillary Clinton’s “conceding her loss,” the arrest of an esteemed Harvard professor on his front porch, the Vice President’s compliment of Obama’s speech and hygiene.
Every cartoon of Obama as a bullet-ridden chimp and his wife as a gun-toting militant carries within the sting of a much larger injury and for it, the President has been able to provide little to no tangible leadership. For a problem that he knows more intimately than any other President, he has been paralyzed in the vice of American racial politics. I hope, as writer Isaac Rosenfeld once stated that “no man suffers injustice without learning, vaguely but surely, what justice is” and that Obama’s firsthand knowledge of what justice is and isn’t will make him this nation’s greatest ally to the oppressed.
John Lewis, still baring the scars of his commitment said after the inauguration, “Barack Obama is what comes at the end of that bridge in Selma.” In that sense, Barack Obama as a public figure and a President of the United States is a goal of the Civil Rights Movement. There are still battles ahead and more water to wade but the President and other Black elected officials will not be as Joshua was for the Israelites.
As a leader elected by a diverse constituency, he is in the tradition of negotiation. Like Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Johnson, he is called to hold a nation together that sometimes needs to be pulled apart, pulled apart where it is compromised to be made stronger. It has become increasingly apparent that Barack Obama cannot speak truth to power because he is beholden to and represents it.
While Barack Obama, as a nationally elected official must assuage tension, Dr. King advocated the creation and use of tension. The Moses generation’s delicate management of tension has brought us to this moment in American history; one where White Americans are actively dealing with a challenge to the very concept of Whiteness. The election of a Black man to the highest office has threatened that which has been secure for so long: Whiteness and its place in the American caste system. Barack Obama’s very presence in the White House represents to many White Americans what the presence of only White men, in that office, has always meant for women and minorities; insecurity.
At the end of his life, Dr. King was working toward expanding the promise that is America to its poor citizens through the Poor People’s Campaign. His eyes were fixed on the Promised Land of economic and political freedom. He began addressing the issues that still trouble the waters of our imperfect union. He was pointing a way forward for the Joshua generation. There are of course advocates within the Black community – individuals and organization with the vision and nuance of a modern political age – and I do not begrudge the President for not being among them. The mantle of advocacy on the behalf of Black Americans is not his to shoulder.
The advocates of today must recognize, as the Moses generation exemplified, that “Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God.” If character is like a tree and reputation a shadow, the Black community will need men to move out of the comfort the shadows provided by the Moses[es] to become branches, extending their efforts onward.
The path of progress takes great character and through individual acts of humanity, the chasm that we must cross has been made smaller. It is incumbent upon the Joshua generation to bridge the gap that remains by going where there is injustice and eradicating it, whether the President is leading the way or, more likely, if he is not.
Donovan X. Ramsey is an Associate Researcher at the Identity Orchestration Research Lab at Morehouse College where he is currently engaged in research regarding the expression of Black male identity in contemporary politics.
Marc Lamont Hill, an associate professor of education at Columbia University’s Teachers College and a political commentator, has had a lot to say as of late and The Atlanta Post wanted to specifically get his feedback on the state of the NAACP as well as the challenges of African-American leadership and activism.
It was bound to happen. Jesse Jackson has infused himself and his huckster brand of leadership into a celebrity fiasco which has no promise of uplifting the broader African-American community. Such behavior is the by-product of the band of brothers mentality so pervasive among 1960’s civil rights leaders who recycle an obsolete brand of leadership and doggedly refuse to pass the baton to the next generation of African-American leaders.
In describing the dysfunctional relationship between multimillionaire basketball great LeBron James and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, Jackson fashioned Gibson as the slave-master and James the slave. Jackson said of Gilbert, “He speaks as an owner of LeBron and not the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. His feelings of betrayal personify a slave-master mentality. He sees LeBron as a runaway slave.”
True, the letter Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert penned to disappointed fans, in which he referred to LeBron as “narcissistic” and called his decision to play for Miami a “betrayal”, was out of line. Gilbert’s bizarre letter read more along the lines of a jilted lover than a team owner.
Gilbert should be ashamed of his moronic rant, not because it was racist, or because of any underlying hints of a master-slave relationship, but because such grossly asinine communications should remain the domain of tender-footed teenagers, and not grown men. LeBron’s choice was about business, just as the Cavalier’s desire for LeBron to stay in Cleveland was about business.
As is always the case with Jesse Jackson though, he skipped all nuance in favor of fictitious and polarizing contrast. Jackson is astute, nimble and acutely aware of the racial politics involved in discussions where African-Americans are center stage. So it is doubtful that he missed the nuance, as some more imperceptive political figures might. To the contrary, there’s always a method to the good reverend’s madness.
As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t call it a method as much as it is a formula. Jackson uses benign current events to whip the African American community into some sort of race induced frenzy and then uses the ensuing debate to widen the reach of his personal brand. With each imaginary offense, he regains relevancy by scheduling T.V. spots and radio interviews with drowsy media outlets too lazy to search for a perspective more appropriate to their purpose.
While some may find it comfortable dwelling in Jackson’s legacy of mounting shortsighted approaches to race relations, I do not. He and his cohorts consistently pressure the white community into discussions on race by pretending to desire a serious conversation, only to boil the discussion down to rhythmically cadenced soundbites of the Cornel West variety.
Such superficial conversations lead to a plethora of missed opportunities for the African-American community. The relic of the Civil Rights movement, and those who pattern themselves after him, either can not, or choose not to apply the intellectual muscle required to tackle the complex issues of the 21st century.
This is not to say that Jesse Jackson has not made valuable contributions to the African-American community. His run for President in 1984 planted a seed which was nurtured, and harvested in 2008 with the election of President Barack Obama. Now though, Rev. Jackson has played past his prime, and outlived his usefulness for those of us who long to see a more mature and refined approach to the issues which affect African-Americans.
LeBron “King” James may very well go down as one of the greatest basketball players in NBA history. He is a multi-millionaire with legions of public relations experts at his disposal. He doesn’t need Jesse Jackson. And the African-American community no longer requires a leader who champions causes as a strategy for gaining headlines rather than seeking creative solutions to the problems which still suppress income and foster inequality in the African-American community.
The truth of the matter is that LeBron’s use of a prime-time show to announce his decision was narcissistic. However, we’ve come to expect such vacuous behavior from our mega-stars. LeBron, though, is not the only narcissist in this scenario. It’s time for Jesse to move on.