While this isn’t a new sentiment by Dr. West, his latest assessment on the election results have garnered more attention on this growing divide. The divide isn’t necessarily in Black America as it has long been divide. The divide seems to be more concentrated in what was once the epicenter of the Black Intellectual Movement. This is truly a sad state to be in.
Growing up I received my own intellectual birth, of sorts, watching Dr. West, Dr. Dyson, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Angela Glover Blackwell, Rev Farrakhan, Dr. Julianne Malveaux and quite a few other experts in their field moderated by both Tavis Smiley and Tom Joyner…It was an amazing sight for my young eyes and nascent intellectual sensibilities. I clung to these symposiums and watched them relentlessly repeatedly. My desire to be informed and integrated into the understanding of what truly was/is the Black Condition in the United States of America.
They didn’t just put on a show in the tradition of the Black Church where you charge admission hoot holler and profit off the spiritual uplift in the moment then just move on…they took that Black tradition of call and response, spiritual uplift, and added some depth to it. They came armed with facts, statistics, a history of actions and inaction with the resulting consequence. EVEN bigger they took it a step further and used their collection of brilliant minds, not just preachers and activist, but professors, economist, lawyers, business minds along with grassroots activism and constructed A Plan! This was supposed to be a transformative act. And it was…for a while…while the access across the table was the same at least while the Bush Administration was in office.
The Black agenda was held up by all at the table…was contributed to by all at the table…this was a type of unification of thought into real actionable steps that has never been as localized and publicized in history. Then Barack Obama made a splash at the DNC…conversations around race in America started to change a bit. The tone was more hopeful…this talk of Change started to gain momentum.In short order The Chicago Senator a proud and vocal African-American that lifted up his white mother and grandmother’s love and efforts in raising him was the prime candidate of Change in America.
Early on there wasn’t the 90+ percent support by African Americans, but then his message started to get more traction all over and he landed Iowa, then his brilliant run took off. That wasn’t all that took off as expectations and heartfelt hope was soaring at an all-time high. Finally a person has emerged to fulfill the implied or imagined prophecy that “The Dream” shall be realized. President Obama is the change ‘We’ have been waiting on…
I lay all that out to paint the source of this seeming discontent from the West/Smiley “faction” to which ideologically I am aligned, but going the way of ugly which in effect muddies the dialogue I am not party to. I get the frustration that lies in a mix of disappointment and feeling duped by your own disillusion. But to muddy the dialogue with ugliness only works to overshadow the issues, which should always be the priority. Cool, you think President is a “Rockefeller Republican” (moderate/center-right) in disguise…fine, but why Blackface? That doesn’t add or even apply to what the dialogue should be about…it makes the response personal therefore petty…
Dr. West is better than that and the people he represent should expect better. We don’t need to tear each other down to lift up our community.I don’t think it will change in such a way that the two sides will join hands and have meaningful and needed dialogue on the issues around prison profiteering and providing greater paths out of poverty (financial and environmental). This seems to be another example of where the elders are not being mindful of where they should be the examples of putting ego to the side to elevate the agenda. Leaving the youth one less stable place to get their bearings.
There are too many leaks to plug to be using a free finger to point at what the next man is or isn’t doing.
Do Better ~