Excerpt from Amos Wilson:
“For Afrikan Americans, all the promises of the Civil Rights Era have been betrayed, everything has been reversed. The more Black officials have been elected the worse the Black electorate has fared; Black homelessness became a national scandal during the tenure of a Black Secretary of Housing; the Black community was overrun with AIDS, drug addiction, tuberculosis, all sorts of diseases and maladies during the tenure of a Black man as Secretary of Health; Black nations were overrun by the imperial armies of the United States while a Black man was Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; the more Black judges appointed to the bench, the more Black men fill America’s prisons and the more Black-on-Black violence ravages America’s Black ghettos. While some 60 distinguished Black men and women sat on some 165 major corporate boards, Blacks were the only ethnic group who suffered net employment losses in major American corporations. At the same time when Afrikan Americans suffered net losses in employment and other minority groups and Whites achieved net increases, Black conservative men presided as the heads of the Equal Economic Opportunity Commission. At the same time when the masses of Blacks are ghettoized in America’s declining cities and no longer live on, own or work the land, a Black man presided as Secretary of Agriculture…”
“In light of the foregoing discussion we think it more appropriate and productive to critically look at the ideological orientation of certain types of leadership establishments which prevail or are emergent in the Afrikan American community today, than to critically analyze the individual leaders and their politics.”
The politics of race are not the same as the politics of face. Wilson treats these issues more broadly in the context of his book. I’ve provided this snapshot as a tool to understand the impact of broader forces – the impact of structural issues that minimize (though not negate) the power of Black individuals operating within national and international scenarios.
The challenge for this and future generations of leaders appears to be connected to building institutions with clear ideological orientations, and an operational commitment to Black people.