Even Dr. King woke from his dream, but that’s the only speech they’ll let you hear over and over, certainly not when he said that he’d been wrong about white America, and when he came down on the war in Vietnam. No, he was assassinated after that truth telling. With Malcolm X and King gone, second-line leaders retreated to standard civil rights doctrine instead of taking our struggle to the next level.
So, here we are, fifty years later and what we got for eight years was Barack Obama in the White House who gave us “trickle down liberalism,” a Rodney King type of “can’t we all get along” with his “we are not red states and blue states, we are the United States. . .” White folks treated him like crap and he played the Jackie Robinson card, even as his own Democratic Party leaders laid back while Republicans excoriated him and some even publicly called him a nigger.
One Republican legislator had the unmitigated gall to yell out calling Obama a liar during the President’s State of the Union address before Congress. Obama ran the table with his cool-out the white folk’s game by advancing that everything he’s doing is for all Americans, not for any special group. White folks said, heck no, they are America’s special group – America is White and Christian. White nationalists charged Obama with being a Muslim and said he was born in Kenya, East Africa.
Obama got the last laugh, though. You must remember that not a single soul got charged for the economic crash that Obama inherited. The brother played Wall Street like the good poker player he is reputed to be. So, folks, according to Forbes magazine, Obama’s net worth is $2.9 billion! That’s better than Bill “Slick Willie” Clinton’s which is $1.7 billion. (Forbes also tells us that Donald Trump made $2.9 billion during the Obama years, “Trump’s most lucrative years.”)
Oh, yeah, Obama certainly got paid; he’s now as rich as his pal Oprah Winfrey, and it only took him eight years to pile it up. Meanwhile, the Mister “Yes We Can” black base is either still where Dr. King left it or black people are worse-off post Obama? Gentrification of inner cities is making housing unaffordable for many blacks and public education is still mostly segregated. Prices for goods and services have increased markedly in recent years while wages remain flat – that begets a form of stagflation in poor and near poor neighborhoods.
And then there is the real big one: white America’s openly national extermination pogrom, the killing, maiming and incarceration of black people, largely black men and boys. The Guardian developed a project that tracks killings by American police and reported that in 2016, “U. S. police killed at least 258 black people.” For the same year, The Washington Post reported that “at least 232 blacks were shot and killed by police.” Statista reports that in 2017 police shot 223 blacks to death.
Black nonsense about life and death, progress and self-reliance has got to stop. Those are aspects of Human Rights, they are inalienable rights – the rights of mankind, they are not subject to governments or any other civil authority; they are not civil rights! Dr. King said he was wrong, and he was. Our issue is about Liberation, nothing more or less.
Marcus Garvey and Booker T. Washington were on the correct trail of self-reliance through economic development. Unfortunately, W. E. B. DuBois, who had the other piece of national black organizational necessity, “the talented tenth,” could not or would not get on the same trail and the deafening clash and crash of egos blotted out all progress.
The greatest detriment to our Black Liberation Struggle has been and still is the almost universal misunderstanding of the black church’s role in black community development. While the church may not have been strong enough to redirect those correct creative energies of Garvey, Washington and DuBois during the early 20th century, the 1950s – 60s civil rights movement was a ready vehicle for a national black self-reliance thrust through economic development. And that Liberation challenge remains.