We’ve got a nice-looking, bright and articulate mainstream AfricanAmerican as President.   It is this flirt and allure with mainstream American cultures and values that causes African Americans’ lack of advancements.   It was anticipated that an Obama Administration would bring America a new era of hope, change, and unity; but in reality this regime has brought about a static hold and regression among African Americans.  Traditional racial barriers such as discrimination and inequality are merely being swept under the rug and no action is being taken to break the back of America’s institutionalized racism.

Even as an African-American holds the highest office in the land, societal and economic gaps between Whites and Blacks persist and metastasize.  Blacks remain twice as likely as to be unemployed, three times more likely to live in poverty and more than six times as likely to be imprisoned.  But, in contrast to correcting these structural problems, Obama’s election has caused a “static hold” among the mass of African Americans who have fell into false senses of accomplishment and self-satisfaction.

Racial apathy and complacency has curtailed any movement among African American for societal equity and justice.   During Black History Month 2011, African Americans should give thought to:  With what culture do you identify with most?  There are 42 million Black/African Americans, and our population is one of the most unique.  Almost all descendants of American slaves are mixed with some European and Native American blood.  The average Black American is 17-18% White.   Large numbers of Blacks are more than 50% White; many would not be recognized as Black.

“Garveyite” nor “Pan Africanist” world views exist among mainstream-oriented African Americans.  While Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Eric Holder are recognized as African American leaders, in reality their roles involve their maintaining America’s imperialist status across the world.  For many years African-American culture developed separately from mainstream American culture, both because of slavery and the persistence of racial discrimination in America.  Today, African-American culture is accepted as subordinate to that of the American Establishment and/or Barack’s Post-racial society.

The National Urban League’s Equality Index statistical measurement shows Blacks at 71% of the status of Whites; and that economics "remains the area with the greatest degree of inequality".  In 2011, Blacks are overwhelmed by unemployment, and are twice as likely as whites to be unemployed.  In some areas; and nearly one in four young Black men are out of work.  There is a chronic need in communities of color to not just extend unemployment benefits but to put counselors at employment centers that have the time, skills and energy to offer concrete help.

Today, 6.4 million Americans have been out of work for 27 weeks or more; 2 million have exhausted a total of 99 weeks of unemployment benefits and have no resource for more aid as they wait for an improving economy.  It’s estimated that the"99ers" will increase by 4 million in 2011.  The economy will have to produce 334,000 new jobs a month just to employ these 99ers.

Too often Black Americans have depended on government to solve their problems and accept solutions developed by people with “Mainstream mindsets”.  Obama’s “static hold Presidency” may prove advantageous by prompting more Blacks in America to “empower” themselves to collectively make better life choices and/or launch private initiatives to improve our communities.  With a combined GDP close to $1 trillion -  the world’s 15th largest economy – Black Americans must build upon our strengths (e.g., our combined GDP and civic engagement rates) to address our challenges.  The National Urban League has a I AM EMPOWERED initiative that promotes hope and individual empowerment to make a difference in African Americans’’ advancements.  The I AM EMPOWERED program asks Blacks to pledge to help the race achieve stipulated goals in education, employment, housing and healthcare.  When will we turn to each other to blend personal responsibility, principled ideas and pragmatism that improves our schools, the safety of our streets and the growing of vibrant Black business districts across America?

(William Reed is available for speaking/seminar projects via

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William Reed