All Articles Tagged "black leadership"

Flesh Peddlers: Rev. Al Sharpton’s Exchanges the Plight of a People for Profit

January 21st, 2011 - By TheEditor
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"Yvette Carnell"In a recent New York Daily News  op-ed which garnered mostly snickers and jeers, Rev. Al Sharpton, or as he was referred to by one snarky reader in the comments section – “Rev. Simpleton” – anointed himself sole heir to Martin Luther King’s dream and proclaimed that King’s dream had been nearly fulfilled in New York.

During a brief moment of deliberation about the cases of Abner Louima and Amadou Diallo in his piece, Sharpton reflected the following, “…during these times, we were all forced to take a stern, hard look in the mirror to see how our own shortcomings and preconceived ideas may have contributed to a climate of hatred and animosity.”
Yes, if you utter the wrong words at the wrong time or offer up your wallet too quickly, New York City’s finest are predisposed to stick a plunger up your hiney or fill your body with bullets. It happens.

And when Rev. Sharpton’s ex-wife and daughter were arrested in Harlem after a traffic stop, I’m guessing that ‘just happened’ too. Back then though, Rev. Al Sharpton lashed out at what he called the “unfair treatment” of his ex- wife and daughter by New York City cops. How far we’ve come since 2009.

Rev. Simpleton is a charlatan. I’ve been preaching this mantra to anyone who’ll listen for longer than I care to remember. But it’s always a positive development when the person you’re dissecting adopts an active role in his own undoing. Reverend Al has revealed himself to us. He, and those like him (Rev. Jackson & Co.), have always and continue to use MLK’s legacy as the preferred currency for their personal asset accumulation.

The hustle may change, but the game remains the same.

In a society of haves and have-nots, where strengthened clusters of haves are recapturing wealth from the have-nots, Al Sharpton is being leveraged by the super-elites to convince African Americans not to trust their lying eyes. He tinkers around the edges, blustering about one thing or another, but never having any beneficial impact on the community he claims to serve.

At this point, I feel that I’m beating a dead horse – both figuratively and literally. The vast intellectualism in the black community has been replaced by self-interested quackery. Al Sharpton runs a media firm while Jesse Jackson heads an entrepreneurial conglomerate – evidenced by his annual Wall Street Project. These two men don’t bellow from the good book of anyone’s pulpit every Sunday morning, don’t focus the bulk of their energy on their flock, nor do they abide by Christian principles and thus, their titles are mere symbols intended to hone your attention on the very things that they are not – honest men with moral cores. Henceforth, I will be referring to Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson absent their title of Reverend. By doing so, I aim to elevate content above symbolism.

What’s made clear from Mr. Sharpton’s camouflage of 21st century disparities is that the African American community is 1) devoid of principled leadership and 2) having their views misrepresented on both the national and international stage. More than any other time in history, African-Americans are in dire need of an action plan.

First up on our to do list should be recasting the spotlight of leadership elsewhere, preferably as far away from Sharpton and Jackson as possible. How do we do that? Glad you asked.

1)    Resist any impulse to defend Mr. Sharpton or Mr. Jackson in conversation, even on Right wing blogs or among mixed crowds where the impulse is strongest. Instead, deflect the conversation to a thinker who you believe is a better surrogate than Sharpton or Jackson.  The person you choose could be anyone; entrepreneur, professor, writer, essayist etc.  Just be sure the person has a strong record of working with ideas and creative solutions.

2)    Call up your media outlet when you turn on the tube and see Sharpton or Jackson’s serpentine smile on any of the major news networks.  Ask why these men are given your proxy? Make your displeasure known. Further, advise them that the views espoused by these men do not reflect your perspective or that of the broader African American community.

There is hope that we can remove Sharpton and Jackson from the conversation and allow for the re-emergence of men like Clarence Jones. In a recent op-ed published in The Guardian, Jones – who was also Martin Luther King’s speechwriter and counsel, said what all African-Americans know is true: Dr. King’s dream remains unfulfilled.  It’s somewhat reassuring to know that we have at least one stalwart in the room whose not toiling away King’s legacy in exchange for proximity to power. It’s a rarity these days.

Yvette Carnell is a former Capitol Hill Staffer turned political blogger. She currently publishes two blogs, and

Ohio’s 1st Black Woman Justice to Be Sworn In

January 10th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(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.

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Tom Joyner Ignores Negative Press and Launches Pre-Paid Card

January 5th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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Radio personality Tom Joyner seems unphased by all the negative criticisms of pre-paid debit cards and how they take advantage of lower-income individuals as evinced by the fact that he’s launching his own pre-paid card called the Reach card. According to PreCash, the company issuing the card with Joyner, the Reach Card should cost about $120 a year for most users, implying that it’s far cheaper than the charges levied by other pre-paid cards.

Mia Mends, general manager of prepaid debit for PreCash, told ABC news that the Reach card was developed with Joyner’s audience in mind.  “We don’t assume all of them are unbanked or underbanked, but there’s probably some overlap,” she said. Prepaid cards do appeal to those without bank accounts because you don’t need a bank account to maintain the card.

Maybe the Reach Card wants to address unbanked African-Americans but shouldn’t leaders like Joyner consider going into partnership with banks to encourage those individuals to open an account, which would provide more financial protections and better money management? PreCash and the other companies creating these debit cards must have a great business model because it seems that so many celebrities can’t resist the lure of endorsing these less-than-esteemed products. The Kardashian Kard was shut down in November amidst a slew of negative press surrounding the fees.

Maybe Joyner is getting a nice financial cut for his partnership but unfortunately, he’s already compromised his brand with this deal because as it stands today, no one associated with a pre-paid card cannot be deemed as truly committed to African-American prosperity.

We’ll see how this foray from Joyner works out but in the meantime, shouldn’t we think that these Black leaders maybe find a way to endorse banking. Bad credit history doesn’t keep you from obtaining an account.

Black Leaders and For-Profit Schools

January 5th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(Campus Progress) — Recently the Atlanta Post ran an excellent piece criticizing some African-American leaders for opposing new regulations proposed by the Department of Education that would improve accountability of for-profit schools. The idea behind the proposed regulations, which Campus Progress supports, is to remove federal financial aid from college-level training programs if a large percentage of their students fail to find work or end up with high levels of debt. Seems like a good idea for all students—including students of color, right?

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The Dark Side of Wikileaks

December 30th, 2010 - By TheEditor
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"Yvette Carnell"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, and

Obama Reaches Out to Black Leaders, Says Tax-Cut Deal Good for African Americans

December 18th, 2010 - By TheEditor
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(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.

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Boston’s New Black Leadership

December 16th, 2010 - By TheEditor
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(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.

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Is Black Political Power Under Siege?

November 24th, 2010 - By TheEditor
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(Huffington Post) — In the past two weeks, one could make the argument that African American politicians are somehow under siege.  With Republicans headed into a majority, the four Congressional Black Caucus Members lose Chairmanships over powerful House committees. Eighteen will give up subcommittee Chairs. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) barely held on to finally end up with a specially designed “Assistant Leader” position to back midterm-demoted House Minority Leader-designate Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Publicly, the CBC appears fine with it; privately, some cringe that Clyburn ultimately got a made-up political crumb.

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Black Leaders Feel Heat On Both Sides Of The Political Aisle

November 20th, 2010 - By TheEditor
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(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.

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Roland Burris: Lack Of African Americans In Senate Is ‘Troubling’

November 19th, 2010 - By TheEditor
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(Chicago Sun Times) — There will be no blacks in the U.S. Senate when he leaves office at the end  of the month, a fact outgoing Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) called “unacceptable” and “troubling” in his farewell speech Thursday.  Burris, the only African American in the Senate, will be replaced on Nov. 29  by Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who won election earlier this month to a six-year term starting next year and also for the several weeks remaining of Barack Obama¹s original Senate term.  In Burris’ remarks, delivered at noon to a nearly empty Senate chamber–at the most there were four senators plus Burris and Senate staffers, including an old friend from Illinois, Terrance Gainer, the former director of the Illinois State Police, who is the Senate Sergeant at Arms.

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