Isn’t it time for black people to quit dreaming? Is that right or wrong? Langston Hughes ran down “A Dream Deferred” and Martin Luther King Jr. gave us “I Have A Dream,” and black folks have been probing dream books for at least four generations, gambling, trying to luck up and “hit the numbers” for a big pay day.
Don’t get me wrong: Dreaming as in having an ambition is perfectly normal. But dreaming as in daydreaming and sleepwalking, where, upon awakening, there is little or no remembrance, produces nothing. And it is in that precise place where seemingly a whole people have found themselves, like in a sort of black hole – like nebulous matter.
Black people throughout the Diaspora, must wake up to reality. In the United States of America, that reality includes the fact that black buying power was a whopping $744 billion in 2006 alone. Add that to U. S. Census numbers that say there are [at least] 38.3 million blacks in America, and we can readily see what is being described is a nation within a nation.
This is how I read the latest U. S. Department of Commerce annual analysis in its 2007 edition of The Buying Power of Black America. The report also says that black Americans’ five top expenditures – which total $258.4 billion – are housing at $121.6 billion, food at $59.2 billion, cars/trucks at $32.1 billion, clothing at $27.7 billion, and health care at $17.8 billion.
And yet so many black Americans are writhing in abject poverty while others are the overwhelming near-poor, and among these populations – and more – are the uncounted millions. For all we know, black America may be around 50 million people.
Take the top five cities with huge black populations, for example, which are New York, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and Houston, according to the report. Anybody that knows anything about America, black folks, and especially inner cities, is keenly aware that the 2000 Census detailed only a partial count of black people in America.
The point is this: If King with his dream built a bridge for blacks to cross “into the Promised Land,” shouldn’t black people have streamed across instead of sitting around talking about the dream?
Along came this brother, named Barack H. Obama, who got the message and crossed the bridge. And now, this brother has been inaugurated president of the United States of America!
President Obama has transitioned the process from dream to hope. So it’s definitely time to quit dreaming, because President Obama is beckoning black people to come on across that bridge with a lot of “Hope,” “Yes We Can,” and “organizing must be from the bottom up.”
King’s birthday celebration and Obama’s inauguration mark a historic convergence that profoundly affects black religiosity. It also touches the entire faith-based community throughout America, indeed, throughout the world.
God, King, Obama and the American flag symbolize resounding victories for the righteous. Let all the churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious and spiritual places have the people say “Amen.”
Now when black folks get back to their cities and neighborhoods, will they reflect on the fact that they control $744 billion, and that they comprise more than 38.3 million people?
Will they understand that they just spent millions of dollars traveling to “Chocolate City” and little, if any, of their expenditures profited black folks?
It’s time to quit dreaming. Black folks have got to get busy. There’s a lot of organizing to do.
“Yes We Can!”