Sunday, July 21, 2013

There Is No Black Leadership

this piece is written by Ty, Betty, Isaiah, Cedric, Marcia, Stan and Ann

Despite claims that President Barack Obama spoke frankly to explain the anger over the George Zimmeran verdict, that was a lie.  The protests Saturday were lies.  Not honesty, not a road to honesty.

If you've been fortunate enough to miss it, you may want to stop reading now.  Otherwise, in 2012, Trayvon Martin was shot dead by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman.  Two Saturdays ago, a jury found him not guilty (of murder or manslaughter).

Since then it's been wallow and lie.  Let's deal with a lie, Barack declared that African-American men knew what it was like to be followed in a store and others did not.  If you listened to the superficial and insulting NPR coverage over the weekend, you are fully aware that this lie was picked up.

African-American women know what it's like to be followed.  White people know what it's like to be followed, Hispanics know what it's like to be followed, etc.  In fact, if you don't know what it's like to be followed around a store as if you're a suspected thief, go to Barnes & Noble.  Specifically, go to the DVDs and music section and you will find yourself shadowed.  Barnes & Noble is a chain that profiles every shopper as a suspected thief -- regardless of race or gender.

There were many other lies.  But what about wallow?

Making Dennis a Menace

Martin Luther King is dead.

Dr. King was a leader.

Looking around today, there are no leaders.  Just whiners and moaners and wallowers.

Chief among them Al Sharpton.  The MSNBC huckster organized rallies for yesterday.  The turnout was not impressive.

That's not surprising.

Why are we protesting?

Travyon is dead.  Say a prayer for him, ask for grace and love for his parents.

A leader uplifts, inspires, points to where we need to go.

Al Sharpton can only bitch and moan.  He's useless.  This loud I'm-a-victim was good in NYC local politics, possibly.  It's not about a movement.

Dr. King showed Black America (all America, actually) where we could be, he shined a light on the road and beckoned us to follow him down it.  There was a nobility to the struggle.

We were all uplifted.

Last week, Bill Cobsy made some remarks that were largely innocent and understandable but the response by a significant segment of the Black community was to demonize him as an "Uncle Tom."

To which we say, shut your damn mouths.

Bill Cosby is not an Uncle Tom.  He's spent his lifetime breaking down barriers and providing inspiration. That he would be attacked for disagreeing on the Zimmerman verdict goes to just how useless and, yes, harmful Al Sharpton and his anti-movement are.

Many Black leaders -- major ones -- disagreed with Dr. King.  That didn't stop MLK.  That didn't lead to him lashing out at those people.

MLK led with love, not with hate.  Dr. King was never elected president and didn't hail from a political dynasty family.  But he's remembered and loved and studied all these years after his death.  That's because he was everything we would want in a leader: charismatic, caring, strong, graceful, steadfast and sure.

He was followed in his lifetime for those qualities.  He is historic and beloved today because of those characteristics.

You saw some of that on CNN when they briefly featured Martin Luther King III (MLK's son) on Saturday.  He might have been channeling his father as he refused to leap to easy conclusions and instead spoke in terms of where we could be.

Instead of that ray of needed MLK, we got hours and hours of angry people making snap judgments, offering bleak opinions they presented as fact.

We spoke to our grandparents about this.  They can remember the pre-Civil Rights Movement time period.  They took exception to Martin being compared to Emmet Till, to comparisons to lynching and to claims of how awful things were now for African-Americans.

Ty's grandmother probably said it best, "If we were so bitter and angry [then] and everything seemed so bleak, we never would have protested because what was the point?  I listen to the TV people talking their talk and I think, 'You couldn't have handled two seconds in the fifties. You don't know how easy you have it or how much power you have to change it.'  It was -- It was really sad to watch."

And it is sad to watch.  Especially if, like Betty and Cedric and Ann, you have sons.  Cedric and Ann are the parents of an infant so any fears or worries over pundits insisting it was not 'open season' for shooting Black male youths were worries they had as parents.  Betty's two sons are in their teens.  Her oldest laughed at the "crazy ass fools" making those claims.  Her youngest son was worried and asked if that was true?

Was that really the point of Joy Reid and others?  To scare a bunch of children?  Or was that just the byproduct of their efforts to breed hatred last week?

We don't know.  But we reject it.

Among the seven of us, there is a split on whether Zimmerman should have been imprisoned.  Guess what?  There is no hatred or snarling among us.  We can respectfully disagree.  We are the children of MLK.  We can love and reach beyond differences.  All of us agree that the jury verdict is the verdict.  We don't support the Justice Department pursuing additional charges because (a) we think this falls into double-jeopardy and (b) we think this encourages false hopes and (c) we think this postpones the healing.

Like most of Black America, we long for the leader who preaches love, unity, progress and a better world.  Most of all, one who preaches, embraces and radiates love.  There's enough hate in the world already.


The illustration is from March 2, 2009,  Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts,  "Making Dennis the Menace."

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }