This Is America: An African American World View of Current Issues
Hwesu S. Murray
Because this is very comprehensive subject matter that cannot be covered fully in one discussion, only a few major points and general observations and bullet points for future discussion are presented here.
The Black American Status Quo
The status quo works for many Black Americans. However, it is not working for many other Black Americans. There is a need for something that will enable all Black American men and women to grow and to prosper and to meet our full potential. America is not a monolithic society and Black America is not a monolithic society. People are different, our talents and abilities are different, and our roles in bringing about change will be different.
In any free society, freedom carries rights and privileges as well as duties and responsibilities. Those duties and obligations require work and investment. Freedom isn’t income. Free people can be hungry.
There is no longer a Black movement for “freedom.” Those of us who lived through the latter part of the 20th century witnessed many changes. One can only wonder what those who fought and died for Black American freedom would think of contemporary Black America. Many of them believed primarily in freedom for Black Americans as a group, which would enable freedom for Black Americans as individuals. It may be fair to say that, today, the emphasis is upon freedom for the individual. However, no individual can be completely free if the group is not free.
That dichotomy raises the issue of African American Identity, or African American philosophy. Who am I? Who are my people? What is my place in the world? What is our place in the world? What is my/our purpose? For many, the question is, “Was DuBois ‘right;’ or, was Booker T. Washington ‘right?'” “Was Malcolm ‘right;’ or, was King ‘right?'” “Was Marcus Garvey ‘right; or, was Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. ‘right?” Is the answer “integration; or, is the answer “Black nationalism;” or, political involvement; or, return to Africa?
It is amazing how paralyzing philosophical dispute can make a people. The greatest waste of human talent in the history of the world is probably the waste of 20th and early 21st century African American productive talent and capacity. The descendants of great African kings and queens, descendants who overcame 400 years of bondage, remain mired in non-productive philosophical debate about who was “right” and who was “wrong” during the last century, without any building of a consensus to create something of economic value that may be passed on to the next generation. China has built one of the greatest economic powers in history with far less education than Black America had 25 years ago.
One of the greatest handicaps of Black America is the overwhelming pursuit of the political process to solve an economic problem. President Barack Obama’s greatest Black critics, (aside from Black conservatives), were those in the left’s progressive movement who firmly believe that a Black president could create jobs for every Black person who wants to work. They never will be convinced otherwise.
At some point, the sleeping African American economic giant will awaken. Like the Chinese, Black people in this country will awaken to our own productive capacity and empower our own economic value.
In order for that to occur, some among us must meet the challenge of Black commercial leadership, leadership that is opposed by racism on one side, and by Black nihilistic fascism, (masquerading as Black authenticity), on the other side. It has hijacked popular culture and the future of at least two generations.
There is no mystery to the source of wealth, or to the source of poverty: wealth comes from commerce; poverty comes from lack of commerce. People who create and support their own economic value obtain wealth. People who do not create and support their own economic value remain poor. You can’t vote your way to a job. No politician can hire millions of people to show up at work at 9:00 Monday morning all across the country. Politicians are not the source of jobs.
The challenge of Black American commercial leadership is to work cooperatively to create an African American economic structure that will employ millions of African American workers as it generates enormous wealth. That leadership will come from those with vision, some of whom who will have a college degree, and many of whom will not have a college degree or even a high school diploma.
The wealth disparity between Black Americans and others is growing, not shrinking. Nevertheless, political demagogues have convinced non-Black Americans that Black Americans are getting a free ride at their expense.
Jobs are created by people who create businesses and hire employees. Ultimately, job creation for African Americans is a function of the establishment of an African American economic structure by young African Americans who understand the present and have vision and hope for their future.
Black American workers face domestic competition that has become a game of musical chairs in which the music stops just before the Black man gets to a chair. In addition, Black American workers face global competition for work. As industrial cities in America have declined and left American workers unemployed, Chinese cities have risen and brought millions of former peasants into the global economy: economic survival is the primary reason why it is imperative for Black commercial leaders to establish an African American economic structure and to produce and sell on one side, and to purchase and consume on the other side, high-quality goods and services.
Other Points For Future Discussion
Global Warming/Climate Change
Hurricane Sandy was not a fluke. It was a dire warning. In Coney Island, my childhood neighborhood, the Atlantic Ocean met Gravesend Bay for the first time in known history. Island nations and continental coastlines are in jeopardy. Starving polar bears floating on icebergs are evidence of a calamity that will make all other issues moot.
Gender Competition, Conflict, Cooperation, Relationships and Personal Identity
– African America/Africa/The Caribbean/South America
– North Korea
Government and Politics
Racism/Race Relations and history
Health and Health Care
Art & Culture
Education and Ignorance
– The Academy
Civil and Criminal Justice Systems