Many of you probably are familiar with Harold Cruse's The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual. Admittedly, I am familiar with it and I've read passages from it, but I have never gotten an opportunity to actually READ it. I am doing that now and when complete, I'm going to visit this post again and discuss its implications on black leadership.
For now, I am going to borrow the title and embellish it for the purpose of this post to discuss the current crisis of Black Leadership in instititutions we revere, politics and church.
In the past week several articles have been published on many blogs regarding the email campaign about the Dunbar Village Gang Rape and the lack of support for the victims. Bloggers have been accused of using fallacious arguments and contrived information to smear the reputation of venerated civil rights leaders and the organizations they represent. This could not be further (or farther I forget which one is epigrammatically correct) from the truth. Bloggers, at least the ones I associate myself with, maintain the same ethical standards with regard to posting information that seasoned journalists do. We do not contrive facts, twist people's words, frame messages, or spin doctor the way that many journalists do. We report things as they are so that our readers have the opportunity to be informed about a side of the story that mainstream media may not deem newsworthy.
In fact, when I write about an issue, I attempt to reference credible sources with verifiable information BEFORE posting. If one doesn't like what's being written then one shouldn't be engaging in behavior that's reproachable. This brings me to my reason for writing this post.
Last week Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of Detroit was indicted for perjury along with his paid concibine, Christine Beatty. Of course KK has vehemently denied the charges and again has rounded up a groundswell of support from people whome should be chastising him for his ridiculously illegal, immoral, and reprehensible behavior as Mayor of Detroit. A coalition of 60 ministers issued a statement supporting KK despite the fact that he is a liar, adulterer, and possible murderer. 60 MINISTERS! What the hell is going on here? A group of Detroit women also banded together and issued a statement, "Progress outweighs scandal". I mean, really? As economically depressed as the city of Detroit is, how does a 9 million dollar settlement and several hundred thousand dollars in misappropriated funds constitute progress? Just because you host a major sporting event or two doesn't mean that you are a viable leader and that you were integral in brokering such events. Even today, KK has thumbed his nose at taxpayers by wasting money on a security detail that includes a body stunt double. I couldn't make this kind of stuff up if I tried. It's completely true, sad... pathetic...but true.
What's even more discouraging is the fact that this seems to be a common theme in the black community, paricularly in cities where black people are at the helm of the community's leadership. I used to live in ATLANTA proper NOT the suburbs as many black people do and have for the past 15-20 years. Even with the black leadership in control of the city VERY little was done for the neighborhoods in which black people traditionally resided. However, when it election time drew near, these same ineffective and complacent leaders would come out to our neighborhoods, beg for votes, make emormous pledges that they had no intention to keep and we bought the bullshit, hook line, and sinker. The result of our actions? Economic depression in our neghborhoods while the white ones have flourished and continued to grow. Ours have been decimated by our own consternation as well as outside factors such as gentrification, rampant crime, drugs, and other social stresses.
These are only two examples, but this post would be pages longs if I had the time and patience to document all of the instances of failed black leadership.
When confronted by this debacle many black people provide me with the same knee-jerk response over and over again. "So What? White People have been doing this kind of stuff for years? How is this a problem?" My answer is the same; black people are in no position to engage themselves in the kind of morally corrosive behavior that many white people do. We just can't. We have not arrived at a place in this society where our corrupt actions have no effect on anyone but us. Identity and associative politics aside, no, I don't believe that unsuccessful black people who happen to be in public view mar the reputation of our race, but let's be honest; any time a black person is in a highly visible position they become a de facto representative of what being "black" means.
I take a very different approach to this belief because I believe that black people should be excel in anything they do. I believe that black people are, or in the very least, above reproach. We have the moral high-ground from years of systemic illegal and LEGAL oppresion to act in a manner that DOES not beget shame and dishonor upon our immediate family or our ancestors who DIED to allow us the opportunities to succeed.
So yeah, Harold Cruse's book holds a special place in my heart because we are in CRISIS! Not an insurmountable crisis, but a crisis nonetheless.
I'll add all links to VERIFIABLE info (as well as my response to the Chitlin' Eatin' Negroes who pollute my inbox with their bullshit TOMORROW)