Themselves Into a Corner of Irrelevancy
by Eddie Huff
A New Visions Commentary
paper published May 2003 by The National Center for Public Policy
Research, 501 Capitol Ct., N.E., Washington, DC 20002, 202/543-4110,
Fax 202-543-5975, E-Mail Project21@nationalcenter.org,
Reprints permitted provided source is credited.
For some time, I've believed most of
black America gave up on Dr. King's "Dream."
At its core, King's dream was of a unified
nation where all races had common values and enjoyed the benefits
that come with those shared values. In the last several years,
however, I've become increasingly convinced of a major effort
to keep black America a separate nation.
A concerted effort has been made to shape
the thinking of black America to harness, if not outright enslave,
this major voting bloc. Please allow me to provide some historical
Long ago, in Africa, we lived under tribal
rule. When Arab, and later European, slavers came to Africa,
they simply won over the tribal leader and the rest of the tribe
did what they were told. During enslavement, taskmasters were
found among our people to keep us in order and in check.
Following emancipation, new leaders were
found. Those seeking to manipulate the black community approach
pastors and community leaders, who are often one in the same.
As Election Day nears, politicians come into the community to
"visit" with pastors and court our vote. What other
ethnic community offers such a low-cost and effective access?
I know there are those who pretend this
isn't true or want to keep it "our little secret,"
but we all know better. Every election, the same discussion comes
up: what happened with the black vote, and did we make a difference?
This helped ensure black political viability
over the last 35 to 40 years, but I'm afraid it may be coming
to an end. After so much influence from one side of the political
spectrum, black Americans are fast approaching the point of irrelevancy
- and possibly even becoming a liability.
This was acutely evidenced in an April
4 Gallup poll. In gauging support for the U.S.-led military action
in Iraq, 72% overall supported our efforts to oust Saddam Hussein.
Specifically, 78% of whites supported the war, but only 29% of
black Americans voiced similar support. To show how contrary
we were, even 44% of liberals, who largely opposed Bush's military
build-up, supported the effort. Other minorities also overwhelmingly
supported the war.
My point is not to discuss the legitimacy
or justification for the war, but rather that our worldview as
a group is so contrary to the rest of the nation that there should
be cause for concern. Being this far removed from any rational
discussion begs the question of whether we can still be taken
Reading black-oriented Internet chat
lists or listening to black radio will quickly reveal that opposition
to the Iraqi conflict is not so much about Iraq or an anti-war
stance as it is about a hatred for the President who led us there.
The liberals pushing us lost control.
Our zeal has turned to hatred, and extreme positions like almost
monolithic black opposition to Operation Iraqi Freedom could
lead us losing political power.
Even the left may begin asking whether
or not we are an asset or a liability. NAACP Chairman Julian
Bond felt compelled to release an official statement shortly
after the release of the Gallup poll to state that the NAACP
supports our troops and urge African-Americans to do the same.
Congressional Black Caucus member Harold
Ford sees this slide, and attempted to address it in his bid
to become the Democrats' minority leader in Congress. He was
bashed for his efforts, even by many of his black colleagues.
As other minorities overtake blacks in
population, and as they integrate and diversify their voices
within society, our clout will diminish. To question and dissent
on issues is one thing, but to stand in stark opposition based
upon pure irrational hatred is another.
I think we need to ask ourselves some
serious questions. First of all, what is America? Next, how do
we want to fit into that America, or do we? The answers to these
questions may determine our future.
Will black Americans be relevant, contributing
citizens or a divisive liability to a healthy society? Community
leaders should not answer for us. It is something we must decide
one person at a time. If and when we do that, we may become more
relevant and powerful than we have ever been in our history.
(Eddie Huff is a member of
Project 21 and an insurance agent in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He can
be reached at HUFFCOM@aol.com.)
Note: New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author,
and not necessarily those of Project 21.