Black America Burning
The year of 2012 represents many things to many people.
In the recent weeks it is being hailed as the year that the minority-majority spoke up, a victory for ‘Liberal America.’ Contrarily, for many of us who are skeptical of the so-called post-racial America, it is the year Black America burned. Ranging from attacks on the non-white vote, the non-too-distant killing of Trayvon Martin – the newest killing of Jordan Davis barely breaking the haze of the latest attacks on Susan Rice – it has become evident that America is still a precarious place for Blacks, despite the universally celebrated victories of the Black elite.
A recent poll by the Associated Press, referenced in the article “Majority of Americans Harbor Prejudice against Blacks” (Ross & Agiesta 2012) is a sobering reality for those who thought Liberal multiculturalism could surmount historically-rooted prejudiced.
As a Black honors student in political science at Wright State University, I am constantly wrestling with the question that has plagued the scholars and activist alike in the Black community, “what is to be done?” Despite the ascension of President Obama, and his recent reelection victory, Black leadership remains awkwardly silent in the face of the growing social tragedies enveloping Black America in the age of Obama. In the article “First Black President Can’t Help Blacks Stem Wealth Drop” (Lynch 2012) David Lynch concisely parallels the despair and political indifference of the White House towards the socio-economic situation of black America, a constituency that supported his presidency virtually without preconditions.
In fairness to the Obama Administration, the nature of the political system for Black America is a system where the needs and concerns of Black America are drowned out by voices that are relatively content with the status quo. Nevertheless, the inability for black leadership, and the established socio-political channels, to rise to cries of black suffering perpetuate learned helplessness, defeatism and nihilistic-careerism in the black political establishment. It is evident that a new generation of black youth, radical in vision, yet grounded in possibility, take up the mantle of the black radical tradition that has been lost by former generations.
Phillip Logan is a departmental honors student in Political Science at Wright State University and is an involved student activist; the current political action-chairman of the NAACP-WSU; and, the Editor in Chief of The Activist, an online news-blog of Young Democratic Socialist of America.