Obama's election should have been a wakeup call to the traditional black leaders that their message was outdated. They should have taken a step back and reassessed their message of victimization and blame. The message needs to be recast. It should have either stopped Jesse Jackson and his friends in their tracks or perhaps forced them to strive for new relevance. So I have to ask myself - What are they thinking? Why aren't black leaders listening?
With a successful career in managerial marketing, Deneen Borelli wants to see opportunities for African-Americans. After volunteering for the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE), and working with various media outlets, she came to see that there were two sets of would-be leaders in America's Black community. One set genuinely works to remove those economic obstacles which hinder African-Americans as they try to enter the middle class, and works to create a fair chance for each citizen. But the other set has no desire to help Blacks make it into the middle class; this other set of self-appointed leader seeks to enrich only itself, and in order to keep Blacks dependent on such leadership, this set seeks to keep Blacks in the status of economic and political victims. These cynical leaders needs a permanent set of victims; these cynical leaders claim to represent victims, and if there were no victims, these leaders would have no jobs. Speaking of such leaders, Borelli writes:
Here's the problem: They need to look at modern society in the twenty-first century and initiate new ways to address its problems. Surging welfare dependency in the black community, alcoholism, children continually being born into single-parent homes - these things plague this nation. And it is only getting worse because the numbers keep rising.
Understanding that the false leaders - Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Charles Rangel, etc. - have betrayed the Black community they claim to represent, understanding that these false leaders in fact work to ensure that the Black community does not make large-scale progress into the middle class, Borelli looks to a better set of leaders. She looks to leaders who have a genuine interest in creating economic opportunity for African-Americans. The false leaders actually profit only when the Black community suffers; the false leaders need to represent a community which is not striving upward, but rather they can only represent a community which is suffering in place under oppression - and so these false leaders work to ensure that this community remains economically handicapped. Of these false leaders, Borelli writes:
Their moniker and their reason for fighting is supposedly "justice for everybody" but the only ones benefiting are the guys making the noise. They are all benefiting personally. It's upsetting that they've been able to get away with this. People despise how the old guard is doing business. It's simply wrong. There's a cost to all of this. By not spending political clout on the new fight, these guys are not espousing the benefits of liberty. They are not enlightening people, nor are they advancing them. Rather they are missing the message and trying to keep the rest of us in a time warp. Here's a suggestion: Why not use your power to encourage school choice to stop soaring dropout rates?
The forward-thinking leaders are those who find opportunities and explain them to the Black community; the forward-thinking leaders are those who find obstacles which prevent Blacks from moving into the middle class and work to remove those obstacles. Forward-thinking leaders can lead by words, by actions, or by example. They are working to get Blacks in to the American economy; they are not working to damage the American economy; they are not parasites seeking to leach off the economy. But the false leaders are trying to take African-Americans down the path to permanent poverty: down the path to permanent dependency. Borelli describes the damage that these false leaders seek to inflict on the Black community:
The old way isn't working so let's pursue a new way. The Democrats are beholden to special interest groups - the feminists, unions, trial lawyers, and environmentalists. Here's an example: Jackson joins the unions' fight so he can't advocate for school choice. He'd break the alliance. But with this close-minded approach everybody suffers and windows of opportunity to try to advance people are lost.
In order for the new leaders, the forward-thinking leaders, to find those opportunities and alert the Black community to those opportunities, a change in mindset is in order: the false leaders need to get out of the way. There are excellent examples of such new leadership: J.C. Watts, Clarence Thomas, Herman Cain, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Allen West, Armstrong Williams, Thomas Sowell, Alveda King, and many others. But this new, positive leadership can't get its message out, as long as self-serving demagogues are working to keep Blacks in poverty and in dependency. Borelli writes:
Tragically, the numbers are getting worse for blacks trapped in inner cities. Why aren't black kids improving and growing at the same rate as their peers? My opinion: It's all in the message from the career black politicians who promote big government solutions that result in stagnation and government dependence. They are playing the blame game and using the race card as their ace in the hole to avoid accountability. Hey, blame your problems on race and don't take responsibility for your life, even when you mess it up. That's easier than providing solutions. And let's face it: it keeps these guys in business.
Deneen Borelli, an articulate Black woman, formulates a clear path forward and upward for the African-American community: do not make victimization and oppression your core identity. Instead, let your core identity be that of people who find opportunities, remove obstacles to opportunities, and pursue opportunities.