In an era where we have a Black president, opposing Black leaders, and a dominant hip hop culture during a devastating crisis in Black America, one has to ask.
I remember writing an article that almost got me killed 18 years ago. In the early 1990s, there was plenty to reflect upon as Black History Month closed, causing me to comment on the parallels between America’s Black heroes and other proud American leaders over the course of our history. Back then, there were voices that converged and contrasted their opinions regarding the heights, challenges, and contributions of Black people, enough for some to consider a notion promoting the importance of Frederick Douglass to President Lincoln an inapt bit of African-American pride worthy of slurs, harassment, and death threats.
As I was hitting the cardio machines at the local gym last week, I could clearly see that some things have not changed that much.
Over the past few weeks, there has been plenty of mull over within our culture– both the stuff of champions and the calls of crisis. There has been a lot of passion, anger, misunderstanding, and need – to say more, do more, and heal a lot, even if it has to be done simultaneous to name-calling and threats, historic triumph, and heartbreaking tragedy.
Needless to say, there have been a lot of people that have had a lot to say around the recent controversy surrounding Tavis Smiley and the Reverend Al Sharpton. However, there is a lot more going on within Black America – politically and socially – that has been examined and commented on regularly.
The 44th president of the United States is Black. His poll ratings are going down. His health care initiative is in peril. To many, his first year in office was rocky, much due to missteps by his administration and party.
The chairman of the Republican National Committee is Black. His public perceptions do not make his party’s resurgence. His public missteps early on contrasted Republican victories later in 2009. To many, his first year in office was rocky as well – and they would attribute it due to missteps by his party and, perhaps, himself.
The nation’s unemployment hovers around 10% while Black America’s clears that hurdle easily.
America’s students are in crisis. Black America’s children have been in crisis.
There is a movement that suggests that Black people have overcome discrimination in America to the point that affirmation action is no longer needed as law. There is a line of thinking that using terms such as “African-American” or “Black America” only breeds resentment and disconnects. There is also a feeling that Black people within America are worse off now than they were just 25 years ago and at risk of becoming a “lost minority” in America as our Spanish-speaking population continues to grow, even as Black people claim the top in many areas.
The biggest media mogul over the past 25 years is African-American. The CEOs of many Americans corporations are Black. The biggest celebrities in the country are Black. The biggest celebrity attorney in 20th century America? The late Johnni