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Commentary on Roland Martin's blog

I have a lot to say today.

Who Defines Leadership in the Black Community?

There are not many who do what Roland does in Our Community.
Usually, the only thing I hear about The Black Community is how we quiet often end up in jail or arrested or beat up by cops or have some other type of issue

interfering with quality of life. Maybe it's because I live in a black

city with an African-American based infrastructure, that I don't

understand much of what I see in the main news stream on the issue of the

Black Community. Then again, it is not necessarily their responsibility to

report to me through their eyesight on My Community. However, I heard what

Roland was saying.

Many people feel that way. Working people.

Even white people expect a bone or two to be thrown towards the Black Community from the current administration. They do it in Their Community. If anyone else

should somehow benefit from it, fine because they don't care. It's cool

because the bulk goes to them.
Example: If you have graduated from college, think of the number of offers

from African American companies compared to non-African American

companies. Can we not find work in our own community? Do we always have to

leave our community and beg another community for work? All the time? It

is an anomaly when non-African Americans can graduate from college and

find work in an African American company. It happens but they are not

dependent on Our Community for work as we are to them. If it were the

other way around, I would probably get irritated after a while--especially

if jobs were scarce.
Further evidence is a report by Wilhelmina Leigh, Ph.D Senior Research

Associate for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies--a think

tank.

Ms. Leigh testified before the Congressional Black Caucus on March 17,

2010 about reasons why certain people are chronically unemployed. She said

a part of the reason was that there is an education gap between the races,

persistent discrimination and a lack of access to "job acquisition

networks." Can the NAACP or the Urban League help with these issues? How

about some of the Black Leaders? I don't know if any of these quality-of-

life issues require presidential intervention. However, a grassroots approach to the problem might help.

People who don't have jobs usually don't date, marry or start families. If

45 percent of Black men who ARE NOT IN PRISON, are considered chronically

unemployed, how does one thinks this impacts the Black Community as a

whole? It degrades the community so that it is not so much a community

rather than a group of similar people with no cohesiveness whatsoever.
People are going half on a baby these days. Why? What if Black women who

are unmarried just stopped having babies all together? It too would have a

negative impact on the community.

But I digress.

People judge others through how they understand themselves to be, so when there is no visible authoritative connection between the President and Black Leaders it seems strange because other racial groups seem more cohesive.
However, there has never been a president of color in office in anyone's

lifetime. It is as if the rope on the other end of the tug-of-war was

suddenly released and there is a big "Now What" in the middle of things. (wink)

President Obama is a prototype of sorts. He is a lot of things and a

good representation of an American. Our cultures rub off on the other and

we are all a little blended. However, the Office of the President is a

part of a system. It is not a stand alone office. Black Leaders and the

President should be working together in that system, since the Civil

Rights Movement has placed a lot of Black Leaders in office and in many

instances, long term. But things unseen are things unknown.

Should we all be on one page as far as the state of the Black Community?

Do we listen when the President of the Urban League or National

Association for the Advancement of Colored People, speak? Do we read the

Black Press and what they have to say? Are members of the Black Press remembering their audience and saying relevant things? I distinctly

remember one of the President's campaign mantras of, "change comes from the bottom

up." That means me and others standing next to me should be taking this

time to affect change when and where we can.
Finally, can the President count on The Black Community to pitch in on his

re-election efforts? It's a lot of hard work everyday but it pays off.

Average People

Times have changed and so have Black people. The President only appears to

have lost connection with black leaders but he has not lost touch with the black community. Coming up, he got in where he fit in, just like all the

other Black People I know. He said so in his books. Did anyone read them?

I make this assessment based on actions and inactions of the President. (what he does and does not do)

Note: I live in a 85 percent Black city,
with a black mayor and where the Black Power Movement found it's footing and it's strength, so when I say, "Any Other Black Person I Know"--I know black generalizations. (in my peer group)
The President lived in Hyde Park, on the South Side of Chicago. He is familiar with Average People in the Black Community.
I am not from the suburbs nor the modern ghetto but from Average Avenue. I

attended Average Public School and Average State College. There is a big group of us Average Folks.

We are not ballers or wear grills or any other shiny jewelry in our faces

but we listen to the songs of those who do such things. Those who do

participate in the Glamorous Life, are not Average and are not in the

group. We have children and are for the most part, Average Parents. We are

Thirty and FortySomethings. And anyone who remembers that show is either

in The Group or actively avoiding the Group!
We are never found too far outside of Normal. We are not unlike conformists.

This blog post is a really an exciting and daring thing for me to be doing. Really.

However, when was the last time black leaders, whoever and wherever they may be, checked in with the black community on the same issues pressed upon the POTUS? I'm talking about kitchen table issues important to

Families and Individuals. I'm talking about Black Leaders paying attention

to their own community and all of our own business, outside of any talk show or mainstream newspaper column. There is a such thing as the Black Press. We used to get all of our news from the Black Church but I don't know too many people who have culled out the time to attend church every day. Things have changed.
Maybe the Black leaders are a little out of touch, then again who said all

Black People think the same? We all want different things out of our leaders. Until the Individual takes responsibility for his or her

community there will always be an "at issue" situation. That is a

description of change from the bottom up. No one agreement, train of thought or campaign will do for the entire black community--and

apparently, this is as close as we will get to a national conversation on

the issue--blogs and commentary.

What About the Black Agenda?

There is no Black Agenda that is promoted actively but there used to be

one. The idea is revived and batted around but no real press or marketing structure is involved. It has been rendered kitchen table discussion of

the past almost lore and in spite of conventions held in honor and

celebration of the Black Agenda, the Average Person has no idea of what

the Black Agenda is or who is involved in it and if they, are indeed

involved in it. Then, I ask, whose agenda is it?

Those who do know what the Black Agenda is, may want to avoid it and any

label of Black Nationalism. That's the thing about Average Folks. They

want to be Average and they have responsibilities and chores more so that

goals and dreams. They don't always pay attention to the news. Sometimes,

they are too tired to stay up for it or they are already at work. Maybe

they don't have cable or satellite.

Maybe they are not the voracious reader and settle for the local paper.

Sometimes, that is what Average People do: Go to work, read the paper,

listen to the radio in the car on the way to work as they sit in traffic.

After work, maybe they can snag a few minutes of their favorite show in

between household chores and children and spouse. That doesn't leave much

room for Agendas.

Average Folks have to make room for it and if no one bothers to explain

why they should sacrifice their valuable time to dedicate to moving

forward with the Agenda, then they won't do it. That is where Black

Leaders should step in. They can explain it to members of the Black Press

and they can in turn, write about it and write about it and write about

it. The Agenda does not have to be promoted in the mainstream as it is not

a message pertinent to everyone but to Blacks, thus, The Black Agenda.

If Average Folks hear or sense the attitude that no one should have to

explain the Agenda to them, then the attention of a very large and

influential group of people have been lost. What a loss.
It would be nice if interested people with MBAs and degrees in Marketing

and Advertising could help the Black Leaders advance the Agenda.

Out of Work but Not Out of Hope: Addressing the Crisis of the Chronically Unemployed

Roland Martin's Blog

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