The politics of taking care of Black folks’ business
The business of being Black in America, and in this world, has always been difficult. Too much of it has continued to be based, quite simply, on the fact that merely being born Black made one dangerous, an outsider, the “other,” or a problem.
To protect their own ‘bizness,’ whatever that was, White folks and others have spent an inordinate amount of time consistently passing anti-Black legislation, routinely directing police departments to cull and kill, and maintaining education systems that promoted the belief that White folks’ ‘bizness’ and Black folks’ ‘bizness,’ while they might sometimes intertwine, were, fundamentally different.
Trump, Black Folks and the Russian Investigation
Try as we might, it is increasingly harder to look at the daily shenanigans of President Trump and his team of strange bedfellows as merely “White folks’ troubles.” After all, as the saying goes, when White folks sneeze, Black folks get pneumonia.
But really, how is all this craziness really affecting our lives? Does it help or hurt us in the job market? Is it negatively affecting us in high school graduation rates and university education? Is it really affecting the quality of Black lives one way or the other? The best answer to those questions is probably in the short run, no. The longer the craziness lasts, however, the more in danger Black folks will be. And that’s a fact.
The politics of good recognitions
Amid the teasing camaraderies about who has the best bar-be-que sauce, and other family discussions around May’s last holiday a few days ago, and the solemnity of celebrations for this country’s war dead, it would have been nice for once to hear ANY commentators mention the fact that Memorial Day (not to be confused with Veterans’ Day), is an invention of the African American population.
As part of the recent commemoration of the assassination of Dr. Martin L. King Jr., Dr. Ben Chavis, the long-time civil rights activist and current president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, penned an opinion piece focused on re-affirming the continuing struggle for fairness, justice and equal treatment for all. In that article, he stressed the need to hold accountable a number of groups which were allowing the surreptitious funding of hate groups, including anti-immigrant activists. Though his article was broader than the issue of supporting expanded immigration rights in the U.S., he was taken to task, respectfully, by Mr. Tom Broadwater, the head of the Americans4Work group.
The politics of fewer Black players in Major League Baseball
Last month, as we commemorated the 1992 Rodney King riots (insurrection), it was easy to overlook the continued annual celebration of Jackie Robinson’s major league baseball career, and all the players in the league wearing number 42 on April 15th in his memory.
African Americans in the U.S. Congress; A quick glance
In 2017, in the 115th Congress, counting the recent election of South Carolina’s Tim Scott, there are 50 African Americans collectively serving in the House and U.S. Senate.
Starting in 1870 during Reconstruction, to date there have been 140 African American members of Congress, including 130 members of the House of Representatives, and 10 U.S. Senators, six of whom were elected. Of that number, there have been 106 Democrats, including 101 in the House and six in the Senate; and 30 Republicans, including 26 in the House and four in the U.S. Senate. Those 140 members have represented 27 states. (See Figure 1-A)
The politics of the social contract
From the millions protesting on Jan. 21, in the Women’s March, which was the largest single-day protest in the history of the United States, to the smaller but fervent March 8 protests on the “Day Without A Woman,” the political constituency—the we, the people—has been voicing its considerable displeasure at its new leadership.
The politics of consequences for bad behavior
With them just coming back to take up a new private residency in Washington, D.C., from vacationing in the Caribbean, it is interesting to imagine a morning conversation this week between Michelle Obama and her husband.
Michelle: Now Barack, I’ve lived every minute of the joys and heartaches of your being president. But that’s over now…
The politics of ranking presidents
Although it is far too soon to do a definitive assessment of where former President Barack Obama ranks among the 43 presidents that came before him, the assessments have begun nevertheless. Most usually, such rankings need time, like fine wine and aged liquor, to season and mellow.
Based on a C-SPAN survey just completed from 93 American historians and presidential biographers, President Obama, overall, ranked number 12 among the U.S. presidents, three spaces above Bill Clinton, who ranked number 15. The only modern president ranked above Obama’s number 12 was Ronald Reagan at number 9.
Gender politics and Black History Month
During annual Black History Month celebrations, we usually focus on African Americans who have come before and who have done things, or said things that moved the quality of Black life forward. Mostly, as the name says (his-story), we have not often enough focused on what African American women have done. That is not intrinsically bad, but it is a fact.
This column this week will focus on Sarah Breedlove, a.k.a. Madame C.J. Walker, America’s first Black female millionaire. We’ve long praised her financial and entrepreneurial genius, but we have only rarely talked about her Black activism.