Black leadership is dead!! Source: The Huffington Post

Black leadership is dead. There, I said it. We have people in leadership positions, but far too many of them are operating as if it were the 1960s or even the 1980s instead of the 21st century.

As I’ve traveled from state to state over the years, I’ve heard folks saying that “we need another Malcolm, we need another Martin,” as if dynamic hip-hop generational leaders like Malia Lazu, Ras Baraka, April Silver, Shani Jamila, and Brian Echols don’t even exist. In fact, I can easily count off 100 such leaders from coast to coast–all of who are doing incredible work in their communities. (Read more)

Note: I totally agree black leadership is dead!! Been dead for a very long time. Powell says the leaders are operating in the 1960’s or even the 1980s however I have been trying to figure out where they are operating. Hell I got involved in civil rights in the early 90’s and some black folks who claimed they were about keeping hope alive won’t/ain’t bout manure.

We have some Malcolms, Martins, Rosa Parks and more that paved the way for us. But the problem is there are young some folks and older whom are doing some great work but the older guards do not support them. Many young folks got tired and said the hell with it. The older guards are holding us just where we are. The are called Safe Negroes.

I have said it for years that politics begin on the local level. But what in the hell are our local leaders doing? Do they come together and stand for anything? Do you see them outside of the meetings other than the office that they serve? When the local leaders no longer hold an office do they continue to work? Oh hell no because they really didn’t work while they were in office, only did just enough to get re-elected. Look at all the resources in our community that we could have in our retired leaders such as politicians, educators and other. These folks don’t have to worry about losing their positions, their checks or anything because they are vested.

I see many of these folks celebrating Dr. Martin L. King Holiday. I used to celebrate it with them by attending a local banquet and marching the following but I quit. I quit because this is the only time the Safe Negroes come out as if they are trying to keep hope alive when they are not doing a damn thing.

The following by Powell is so powerful. “Black American leadership has been in a state of arrested development since the days of Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Baker, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Angela Davis, and the Black Panther Party. But some leaders were killed or driven mad by those times, while others wound up in jail or sold out their principles for access to the American dream for themselves and their immediate circle, rather than for us all. Little wonder, then, that so many of us have pinned our dreams on Barack Obama in 2008. Someone like him was a long time a-coming.”

I totally agree with Powell, “But some in Black America have been hard on President Obama for not being, well, Black enough for their taste. Part of the reason for this feeling is the huge void in visionary Black leadership. We’ve been stuck in this vacuum for so long that we expect Mr. Obama to fill it up for us. We expect him to tell it like it is on race and racism, and fulfill all the needs of Black America. That is not only completely unfair to Mr. Obama, but it speaks of the desperation surrounding our lack of leadership. Many of us are still searching for the sort of leader that has never existed in the White House, or in the statehouse, or in any city’s City Hall.”

I try to keep a level head but sometimes you keep hearing folks talk about what our President is not doing and I think hard and long. But thanks to Powell he has reminded me how I have been challenging our local leaders to stand up.

These same folks whom criticize our President are not involved themselves and do not hold their local leadership accountable for their actions. I have been challenging black, brown, white and other folks since I got involved in the early 90’s. So while we are challenging our President to do something on the national level what in the hell are we doing on the local?

I totally agree that black organizations including the NAACP must change the way we do things. We must make sure our house is in order because inspite of all we have done over the years the lack of real activism and leadership can tear us apart. There are some folks black, brown, white and others to see the NAACP become non-existent. I say the NAACP is and always will be needed but it must be about real activism and have real leadership.

Powell is right on target when he says, “Black leadership will continue to be dead if we waste our time heaving hate at Barack Obama, or waiting for him to solve all our problems. We ourselves must rise to meet the challenge. The question is what are you doing, in your local community, on a consistent basis, to build or support institutions that help our people to help themselves?” I have been saying this for years.

My, my, my Powell hit home with this, “My job as a leader, and your job, too—if you care enough—is to support true visionary leaders. Folks like Charlie Braxton in Jackson, Mississippi—a handicapped Black man who works day to day, thanklessly and often anonymously, with and for the people. I have seen Charlie bring feuding gang members together, mentor all kinds of young people, create one business after another, and serve as a beacon of light for a community where so many other lights are dimmed.”

You see as I stated earlier many times these folks who do not hold a political office but is doing the real work never get recognized until . . .  he or she dies and then “they” want to do all sorts of tributes. Well it is my intentions to have my paperwork written out before I die as to who will be able to attend my home going and who can say something if I have remarks on the obituary. I don’t want these Safe Negroes at my home going and I damn sure do not want them saying a damn thing. You see many of these Safe Negroes whom I supported back in the day because I thought they really wanted to keep hope alive, turned out to be our worst enemies. I have challenged them over the years and they know that I do not fool with them.

I totally agree with Powell on this one, “That is the new model of Black leadership in the twenty-first century: build or maintain institutions that provide direct service, resources, and information to our communities; change, once and for all, how we discuss the many challenges facing our people; and be on the front lines with the people as much as possible.” I have been doing this for many, many years now and it is a damn shame I had to fight harder in house with Safe Negroes than I did with the enemy on the outside where the real fight was suppose to be.

Powell gets it and I will let him have the final words from the paragraph above. This is a powerful message and I will be sharing it for a long time. “When we can do that—and identify and support more who do—then we in Black America will have a real shot of getting out of this wilderness. But if we do not, then it will be another long 40 years looking for a Moses who may never come.” C. Dancy II – DCN Publisher

One thought on “Black leadership is dead!! Source: The Huffington Post

  1. No Black Leadership is not dead! The truth of the matter is black leadership is driving our communities concerns in a 40 to 50 year old conversation. Here it is: education, social change and economic development. While we are having this conversation it is producing the following;

    Education — 100,000 African Americans dropping out of high school this year. In my home town of Columbus Ohio only 35% of black males graduate and in Cleveland Oh the number is 27%. So, we keep having an education problem and we progressive getting worse. When I graduated in 1980 85% of my class graduated. The other side of this coin is — we need to expand what we call education, education is not only formal it can also be informal oh; we call that kind of education market ready skills.

    Social Change — right now, African Americans appear to be socially illiterate because our conduct and behavior disqualifies us from a large part of main stream society.

    Economic Development — Ok right now as I right this response African Americans earn .57 cents on the dollar compared to our white counter parts and to catch up at the status quoe level it will take 500 years! Why is this the case because we won’t start businesses and use our God given ability to create — no excuses here we’ve seen worse times and have accomplished more.

    Now, let me be balanced we need to have the conversation however; we need to change how we have the conversation because right now its not working. Today’s African American leader must be more concerned about who he/she is becoming than what they do. Today’s African American leadership must abandon I for US! Today’s African American Leader must know the difference between Problem and symptom. Today’s African American Leaders must change the conversation and develop the strategy.

    The real issue is; can you be the one who has the right conversation callebrated against the context of History?

    If you want to learn more…….

    Re-Branding “the Brand called Black”
    Author: Mark S. Hampton


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