Right now, as you read this article, history is being made.
For the first time ever, an African American candidate is campaigning for President and whites are widely supporting him.
One of the country’s most popular and powerful television personalities is Black and a peek at her studio audience reveals a good number of white faces. Several major corporations are headed by Black CEOs who lead employees of all races. Mainstream media is giddy about a “color-blind” America.
So does this mean that Black America has seen the last of racial problems? No, says author Lee A. Daniels. Gains have been made politically, but social problems exist and are worsening. In his new book “Last Chance”(c.2008, PublicAffairs, $22.95 / $24.95 Canada, 223 pages, includes index), he explains.
Over the last hundred years – and especially the Civil Rights Era – Black Americans have admittedly made great strides. Daniels cites statistics that show a higher percentage today of Black homeowners. Black Americans are filling more high-position jobs. It’s tempting, therefore, to say that problems of a racial nature are waning in America.
But, Daniels says, we need to look closer. Crime is still a big problem in Black neighborhoods. Disproportionate numbers of Black Americans are in jail. The percentage of Blacks in business and academia has risen slowly or not at all in the last few decades. Past years with the GOP in the White House hasn’t helped. The hopes of the Civil Rights Movement seem so distant.
So what can be done?
First, Daniels says we should keep the momentum of the Civil Rights Movement: “… an increasing number of black Americans are worried about blacks’ progress… they are looking back to the civil rights movement to help them plot a way forward.”
Secondly, Daniels indicates that we can stop the argument that says Barack Obama isn’t a “real” Black American because he wasn’t descendant of slaves. That kind of thinking “… bears witness to the numerous new fissures that have developed among blacks in America…” says Daniels. “If … black Americans are going to begin believing they have little or nothing in common with other black Americans on the basis of class, family background, or a previous condition of servitude or not, there will be very little unanimity left in Black America.”
Thirdly, we can get involved. “The task ahead is to once again find the volcanic, self-starting organizing power that produced the… Million Man and Woman marches and to yoke it to the ongoing mission of Black America.”
Casting your vote this November will be more important than ever, and “Last Chance” explains why. Author Lee Daniels is a calming, yet urgent voice of common sense and he has the courage to say what needs to be said. He’s going to shake up some folks, to be sure, but his words are food for thought no matter how you lean, politically if you are or will be of voting age this fall, you owe it to yourself to read this important book. “Last Chance” should be one of the first political books you grab.