Rahim Islam is a National Speaker and Writer, Convener of Philadelphia Community of Leaders, and President/CEO of Universal Companies, a community development and education management company headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. Follow Rahim Islam on FaceBook(Rahim Islam) & Twitter (@RahimIslamUC)
The Black community hasn’t had a serious political victory in America since the Emancipation Proclamation (1863) and the landmark civil rights legislation of the 1960’s. A legislation by all accounts have been so undermined, most, if not all of the gains have to be re-fought again. Do you think that the nearly 400 years of chattel slavery and open, vicious racism and discrimination against Black people has been resolved and things are equal? Is the Black community in fair economic fight?
The Black man’s issues have never been addressed in a full sober and realistic way because too many White Racist, not only don’t even acknowledge the damage that has been done, and under no circumstances will they support any effort to repair that damage. Many of the political decision makers whom are supported by these same people are themselves: racist and have kicked the political can down the road. In the process, I guess if you tell a lie long enough, people tend to believe it, and the lie we believe today is that the Black man’s history in America has no bearing on the state of Black affairs.
The Black man must be determined to achieve a full and complete freedom justice and equality in America. This does not just mean merely being free from slavery nor securing equal rights that no other group has to fight for. Achieving freedom, justice and equality won’t come without a well-organized and sustained political fight, and unfortunately neither political party has our interest or understands our issues enough to lead this fight for us.
For all of the pain suffered by Blacks in this country, our economic issues should be front and center until they are more improved. Even affirmative action has been so diluted that Blacks are no longer a “special” class and minorities represent every group in America except White men that aren’t gay. Today, the Black community sits solely at the bottom of the economic ladder in America and both parties are unable to address the historical significance that has contributed to this reality.
I blame this on failed and poor Black leadership, or simply on ignorance of the American political system. There is no group in America like the Black group, yet all of our issues facing the Black community have been hijacked by so-called White liberals (Democrats). While there are a number of disparities that impact Black people, none is greater than the wealth gap and the existing infrastructures that maintain those economic gaps. The Black economic agenda can’t be outsourced to the Democratic Party, it must be lead and defended by Black people.
The Black community is nearly 100 percent committed to the Democratic Party, while the Democratic Party has not addressed reparations. The Democrats are supposed to be liberal, right? They might be liberal, but they are not Black and understand that reparations are due to the Black community for 400 years of absolute and total contribution to America with absolutely no economic contribution to the Black group. Not only is the Black reparation agenda not a high priority for the Democratic Party, it doesn’t make the top 100.
Working with both the Republican and Democratic Parties over the past 150 years, the Black community has been able to address a number of political issues that benefited the Black community (i.e. KKK and Jim Crow Laws, open racism and discrimination, etc.), but don’t get it twisted, Black economic oppression has been an economic benefit to White people without any compensation. The accumulated wealth that America has amassed includes a significant portion of accumulated debt owed to the Black community – this phenomenon has severely crippled the economic growth of the entire Black group and threatens to sentence the majority of the Black community into a permanent 2nd class citizenship which is a modern-day slavery.
Sure, Blacks have made and will continue to make “individual” progress, but as a group, were not doing well at all. Every statistical measure speaks to this loudly. Individual Blacks have made gains in nearly every sector of American life (the first Black “this” and the first Black “that” has been achieved), and the general opinion held by many Americans, especially the liberal left (Democrats), believe that the country is now “race” neutral. They hold the belief that race is no longer an issue that holds anyone back – we even elected the first Black president.
If race is not an issue, how do these same people reconcile the massive disparities that the Black community is experiencing? If they don’t factor into the historical contributions and awful start that Blacks have endured, they must conclude and blame the Black people (i.e. Black inferiority). With all of these so-called gains, how do we account for Black people being more oppressed socially and economically than pre-1960? Like children, the Black leaders have marched to the sound of the Democratic Party liberal drumbeat and they have convinced Black leaders to believe that the concerns of White Democrats are the same for Blacks.
If the Democratic Party has failed the Black community, it is impossible for the current Republican Party to address issues facing the Black community. The Republican leadership, which I believe are the meanest group of White men on the planet (I consider them modern day bullies and gangsters) are operating under a totally different set of beliefs, and if Blacks expect to get relief from them, we’re absolutely crazy.
Whether they are Democrats are Republicans, most wealthy capitalist are on the same team – they are White men and they have no qualms about doing whatever they need to do maintain power and increase their wealth. Wealth inequities is the biggest issue in America today for both Black or White people and politicians have no problem of devouring their own poor Whites if it allows them to oppress and suppress the growth of Black people and never allow for any conversation that a portion of their wealth should be reallocated to the Black community.
Take the current health care debate (there are several examples we can use). The Republicans mean spirited efforts are on full display because they have no problem with taking over 20 million, primarily poor Americans, off health care to give a massive tax break to the wealthiest of Americans and they do this with the straightest face. The play of words is absolutely sinful and the Republicans are masters – their almost like magicians and they have one agenda and one agenda only and that is to deliver and control the economics for the members of their gang.
This issue isn’t about health care, this about the distribution of wealth. Words matter and the language of this current legislative battle on health care is proof positive as to what’s really going in our country – it’s all about the money and the Republicans want to take nearly a trillion dollars of subsidies to poor people (entitlements) to pass on tax breaks to very rich White people. For the record, the word social entitlements (i.e. health care, social security, welfare, etc.) are so demoralizing and misleading because it means the same as tax breaks. That is except tax breaks are exclusively for rich people, and entitlements are exclusively for poor people.
While there are challenges with both parties, Black leaders must be organized themselves to defend against a political system that has never defended them and has treated the Black community in the most inferior way for nearly 400 years.