Especially pronounced since the beginning of the civil rights era from 1955 to King’s assassination in 1968, Americans of African descent have consistently produced self-centered leaders who helped to contain their constituents in the throes of powerlessness.
At the same time, they have produced no blueprint for positive social change.
As a result, community entropy becomes the norm, and those who can flee leave behind a brain drain, poverty and mounting pathological indices. White investors backed by financial institutions move in, and they gobble up dilapidated and deteriorated residential and commercial properties in these black, virtually abandoned neighborhoods.
These downtown investment/developer interests are ably assisted by local and county governments with needed zoning changes and the withholding of any and all infrastructure improvements in these neighborhoods so that property values decline, allowing developers to purchase on the cheap.
What may take a scant few years to occur, once all the political and economic ducks are in a row, is called “redevelopment.”
Actually, the real name for such activity is gentrification, which – especially for poor and near-poor black people – means black removal.
Initially, black people are hopeful because they see construction where new water pipes, sewers and electrical wiring are being installed. Some small church preachers, and a few vocal people in these neighborhoods, are chosen by bureaucrats to serve on an “advisory committee,” and they vote to “advise” the city or county commission to use federal Community Development Block Grant monies for the infrastructure development.
For some members of the community, the truth finally sinks in when the townhouses and larger, single-family homes begin to appear where their friends and families once lived, developed through the Community Redevelopment Act, which allows public/private financing for the development of blighted areas. What sinks in is the stark reality that they could not afford to live in these new, largely gated, developments in what was once their neighborhood.
In all of this, through the years, where were/are black elected officials and other politicos? And where were/are the clergy who allow politicians into their pulpits, but who induce an aura that they are not political? Where are these leaders with information, instruction and organizing so that black communities could have political and economic clout?
Time will tell the extent to which self-interest guides black politicos. As of now, from a national standpoint, their positive impact on black communities overall is dismal at best. Almost 10,000 strong nationwide, black elected officials at the federal, state, county and local levels don’t even meet together as national, regional and state entities to say anything to one another.
As a group, black political leaders have produced no moral imperative. It appears that they have gotten themselves caught on a
“Catch 22 treadmill,” and, as a result, are faced with a moral dilemma.
Knowing that he or she cannot serve two masters, invariably the black politician chooses to serve powerful, downtown interests for their campaign funds and clout, while placating black voters with sizzle, but no steak.
This immoral rationalization of only serving the black constituency when downtown interests and self interests converge has been laid bare by the Obama/Clinton presidential campaign.
Sen. Barack Obama, Democratic candidate for president of the United States and the only black senator in Congress, as a member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) was denied support of his presidential candidacy by that black congressional group!
Add to which, all three black Florida congresspersons and CBC members supported Hillary Clinton, even as their constituents overwhelmingly supported Obama.
You may not know or remember how you looked when you got caught with your hand in the cookie jar, but I’ll wager you never forgot the feeling.