alcalloway.jpgAs a group — if in fact black people can actually be called that — Black America occupies the caboose of America’s economic and, therefore political, train.

Back in the day when black people traveled south by train, they had to change from the comfortable modern coaches they shared with white people at Union Station in Washington, D.C.  Black people had to then board dingy, old stand-alone one or two coaches for that noisy, rickety ride south as the caboose of the train they had originally boarded north of our nation’s capital was empty.

While ticket prices were the same for blacks and whites, segregation laws in a supposed democracy not only prohibited blacks from equality but also further punished them by providing the indignity of near squalor.

And once black travelers arrived at their southern destination, those last train cars, like the caboose, were far out from the station. Black porters had taken a portion of their baggage claim tickets and dropped their luggage at the station’s small, dingy, colored section.

Now understand in pure economic and political terms that while black people have continued to occupy the caboose, cars are being added in the middle all the while. So black people are being pushed further back out of the mainstream.

As the civil rights movement began to emerge as a national phenomenon, Fidel Castro’s takeover in Cuba landed still untold numbers of mainly white Cubans in Miami-Dade County and elsewhere in America.

These people’s birth certificates and other official papers said they were white people, members of the ethnic group that historically discriminated against blacks in their own country — black Cubans. However, white Cubans became beneficiaries of the black American civil rights thrust by recasting themselves as so-called “minorities.”  

Other groups, including white and non-white people such as Southeast Asians, Russians, Pakistanis, Brazilians and non-Cuban Latinos have had their cars added in the middle of America’s economic and political train.

So blacks are still figuratively riding in the decrepit caboose. Everybody else is moving ahead economically, even in bad times, and therefore moving ahead
politically as well, while blacks, by being stagnant, are actually falling further behind. All groups, except blacks, scuffle to get life-changing education, which is thought of as necessary as breathing.

Unless neo-conservatives and other fascist powers in America have not figured out how to steal this election from President Barack Obama on Nov. 6, then, by Nov. 7 the rest of America can sigh with relief that President Obama has four more years.

That being the case, or not — it’s a good thing to be psychologically prepared for the worst — true Americans, especially blacks, should begin planning to organize from the bottom up, because it is a sound strategy for development. We should go forth calling it “the Obama axiom for comprehensive political, economic and social community development.”

Euphoria took over after the historic 2008 election that put not just a black man in “our” White House but an American-born son of a brilliant black economist from Kenya, in that area of East Africa known by archeologists and anthropologists as part of the biblical “Garden of Eden.”

Some will call a Divine occurrence happenstance or merely a coincidence, but Barack H. Obama in the vaunted White House, mostly built by black slaves from Africa, is like reaching in a haystack and pulling out a lost needle.  

During these next four years, while Hillary Clinton prepares to win the presidency in 2016, black America must shake off do-nothing leaders of any and all types and shed the illusion of progress. Real progress is attained when that woman in the projects who began having babies at 16 gets a GED and starts community college to become a dental technician while providing leadership in her community, and her three children are doing very well in school.

Real progress is when Pookey, who got busted with drugs at 15, becomes a 22-year-old culinary school graduate with a great job next to a master chef.

Progress is when the community organizes to change schools where mis-education predominates, and neighborhoods where any 9-year-old knows nothing at all about street drug flow because law enforcement has figured out how to stop it.

You know, stuff like that. The real deal, not illusions of progress.

Al Calloway is a longtime journalist who began his career with the Atlanta Inquirer during the early 1960s civil rights struggle.

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