Thursday, December 10, 2020

Truest statement of the week

What do black people need most right now? The list is a very long one and includes living wage work, affordable housing, protection from killer police, relief from student loan debt, and the establishment of a publicly run health care system.

If the black political class have their way none of these issues will be addressed in any serious way. Apparently, the members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC ) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP ) are most concerned with human resources issues. They want to make sure that black people are appointed to cabinet level positions in the Biden administration.

It is fine for black people to be part of the revolving door of government that brings insiders to cushy positions in the White House. That is, after all, how the system functions. But it is another thing entirely for the attention of all black people to be focused on whether or not some already prominent and highly paid individuals become the new black faces in high places.

“The Congressional Black Caucus and the NAACP are most concerned that black people are appointed to cabinet level positions.”

There are some 48 million black people in the United States and nearly all of them have been impacted by the many dislocations created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ironically named essential workers are in fact the most vulnerable as they must choose between earning a wage to survive or risking exposure to the virus. Then there are people who can’t work at all. They are unemployed and Congress did nothing to extend the additional $600 per week which ran out in July. The public sector suffers too as mass transit systems in New York, Boston, Washington, San Francisco, Chicago and every large city have announced disastrous cuts in service unless they receive emergency funding. The employed and unemployed alike will have a hard time getting to or looking for jobs. Of course, it must always be pointed out that COVID-19 has been far more lethal to black people, with death rates 2.8 times higher than for whites.

The worst and most deadly racial disparities involve law enforcement and the carceral state. It is still true that black people make up half of all those incarcerated in the country and despite being only 13% of the population, are one-third of all thoses killed by the police.

“Black death rates are 2.8 times higher than for whites.”

In the face of these crises why is appointment to high office such a priority for the people who claim to represent those who are suffering so badly? The black political class, the misleaders, are just doing what they were created to do. They give the impression of exercising black empowerment when they are in fact only promoting themselves. They will never speak to the myriad of issues that are crushing black life because doing so puts them in the position of biting the hands that feed them.

-- Margaret Kimberley, "Freedom Rider: Black Demands for the Biden Administration" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

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