No More Self-Serving Black Leaders Please
Martin Luther KIng, Jr. Day is primetime for so-called Black leaders. Professors, activists, and media pundits will be busy with events, prayer breakfasts, and television appearances this weekend leading up to the big day on Monday.
Sadly, instead of spreading messages of inspiration and elevation, they will spin narratives of despair and discontent.
Instead of promoting America’s progress in race relations and economic gain for minorities from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s time, they will metaphorically drag Blacks back in time to slave ships and plantations.
They will opine about how skin color relegates all Blacks to victimhood status regardless of their individual net worth or Zip Code: victims of white oppression, white supremacy, race-driven discrimination, and racially-motivated violence in every aspect of life.
Such a dark perspective leads some people to embrace the fatalistic view of life as "suffocating."
Let’s take a deep breath, shall we?
Such a narrow mindset suffers from a distorted view of reality.
Suggesting that as a Black person, I am a victim in all ways and at all times taints my perspective. Consequently, I see discrimination, perceived or real, in every comment, action, or policy.
Not only is that unfair to whites and other races who are genuinely good-hearted, but it does me a disservice. I foster a belligerent, self-centered attitude — what some might call a chip on my shoulder.
I miss the nuances and perspectives that gave me a clearer picture of reality and how different life can be beyond my own experience.
And, it becomes increasingly harder for others to believe me when I raise concerns about real instances of discrimination.
Many Black elites trade on the currency of gaslighting though.
Their research and commentary finds racism in every institution and system and points to the sinister influences of whiteness across our culture such as in math, punctuality, speaking standard English, work ethic, competition, and emphasis on the scientific method.
As Nikole Hannah-Jones, author of the discredited 1619 project (of The New York Times) wrote, "Anti-black racism runs in the very DNA of this country."
Yet, Blacks have made tremendous progress and that is a message that must be trumpeted.
Racial disparities persist in educational outcomes, homeownership, employment, health outcomes, and more.
And while personal behaviors, choices, differing aptitudes and abilities, and pathologies play roles, there are valid questions about whether some people truly are being treated fairly.
We live in this time, society, and economy.
We need solutions for today’s realities.
Black elites have coalesced around the antiracism movement underpinned by Critical Race Theory as the way forward.
Never mind that CRT and antiracism are damaging to social cohesion, opportunity, and mobility. Furthermore, because they begin with the premise that disparities in outcomes are due entirely to racism, these approaches never address the root causes of disparities.
In "How to Be An Antiracist," which serves as the manual for nearly every diversity, equity, and inclusion office in corporate America, Ibram X. Kendi states, "The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination.
"The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination."
Can such a tit-for-tat game ever end in equality for all or will it just foment ongoing racial animus? The strategies, policies, and tactics used today are not just discriminatory (and perhaps even illegal), but only ever deal with surface problems.
For example, does lowering SAT score cutoffs to help a few Black children get into better colleges ever lead to addressing the systemic failures of K-12 education?
Would hiring a few extra Black managers in an industry address the skills gap or criminal records that prevent many others from entering the same industry?
Encouragingly, not everyone drinks the antiracism Kool-Aid.
Leaders of every race are working to address the root causes of illiteracy, homelessness, and unemployment.
From school choice to occupational licensing reforms to independent contracting, policy organizations shed light on different solutions to demolish the barriers keeping people out of work or open up educational choices for children beyond their failing school systems.
By working with policymakers, we can enshrine these reforms into law, leading to lasting systemic change.
Businesses, donors, and nonprofit organizations in communities across the country are also teaming up to create and scale effective workforce development programs (such as those profiled here) that provide skills training, education, counseling, and other wrap-around services to blacks, other minorities, and poor Americans of all colors to help them gain their footing in the workforce and society.
Their names may not headline a televised event or flash across your screen, but these are the leaders saving and transforming black lives. I choose to stand with them on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Patrice Onwuka is a political commentator and director of the Center for Economic Opportunity at the Independent Women’s Forum. Patrice is also an adjunct senior fellow with the Philanthropy Roundtable and a Tony Blankley Fellow at The Steamboat Institute. Follow her on Twitter: @PatricePinkFile Read Patrice Lee Onwuka's Reports — More Here.
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