(EDITORS NOTE: Citizen Ojo has been a longtime reader of my blog, and one the very first people to comment and support my blog. He blogs over at The Desultory Life & Times of a Public Citizen; a blog that I visit for brain food and laughs. It's a pleasure having him here on the corner as he attempts to convert some of you who need Jesus. Do visit his blog, show him love, and don't be afraid to share your thoughts.)
I will admit that I listen to the Reverend Al Sharpton show. I know that is not a popular thing to say because of how he is viewed by some people. To some people he is a race baiting con artist and to others he is a champion for the underprivileged. I’ve been watching Rev. Al for a while and I believe he is getting wiser in his old age.
I personally feel when he is right he is right and when he is wrong he is wrong.
I don’t believe that he is the ambulance chaser that some portray him to be. If you listen to his show, black folks are always asking him to come to their town or city. Apparently they feel that only Rev. Al can provide the justice that they need. But sometimes people call him for some of the dumbest things this side of the Mississippi.
The problem with some of his listeners is that they subscribe to this false notion of the “Monolithic Black Community”. It’s a falsehood that has been peddled by many of America’s Black Intellectuals and Commentators (including you Rev. Al). Another falsehood is that “we” need “leaders” to lead us because we can’t lead ourselves. Why does Rev. Al need to fly to Detroit to make your Mayor do what he or she is supposed to do? We have elections to remedy these situations. If you don’t like someone, you vote them out.
The problem with many of “us” is that “we” have let the same people continue to stay in office. Some black politicians have become permanent fixtures that have turned public office into their personal playground. 10, 20 30 plus years of chicken dinners and handshakes and you can’t even come out of you neighborhood at night. Then on Election Day “we” barely show up to vote and the day after have a nerve to complain about what’s wrong with our local government.
Why do we keep promoting this concept of the “Monolithic Black Community” that is going to rally behind reparations and protecting our wayward black youth? Why do you think black folks moved to the suburbs? Why would someone move 30 mins to 1 hour out of the city when they could live closer to their jobs? They wanted better schools, safer streets and cleaner grocery stores. Sure you had some that were trying to emulate white folks but others were really trying to provide more for their children. It’s unfortunate but unless the neighborhood has been revitalized, grocery stores in black neighborhoods carry outdated products. News Flash: the fresh vegetables and fruits are across town.
And do you think a black person in the suburbs cares that the murderers of Derrion Albert were just children themselves. NOT!! They're trying to figure out how to keep his killers out of their neighborhoods; you will never hear a person in the suburbs complain about too many police. Black folks in the suburbs won’t even complain about the unusual high amount of cops. Black folks are not monolithic!!! And for those that are waiting on reparations – keep waiting. Why do people think that some black folks would give up their inheritance to re-build a community that they don’t live in? Black folks have student loans, mortgages, car notes and other types of bills. And you have people on radio trying to spend their money for them. People are actually calling black radio trying to provide input on how to spend someone’s reparations check. Do you think a single mother with a 2 year old and student loans is going to give her reparations check to Tavis Smiley because of some sense of solidarity? Some of us don’t even manage the money correctly that we currently have. So you expect people to stop wearing named brand garments and cars for a cause? I’ve seen well off people struggle to put money in the church collection plate.
I wish people would stop calling Rev. Al with crazy talk because they make all of “us” look bad. They also make it difficult for the people that truly need his assistance with REAL issues.
So let’s break down 1 misconception and 2 myths that I hear on his show daily:
1) A guy called his show and wanted to know what happened to the money that he gave for the Million Man March. Really??? You are now just asking what happened to the $25 that you sent in the mail? If I see a new choir robe at church, I want to see a receipt. Although he was extremely late in asking the questing, he did have the right to know what happened to the money. Now this is when this story gets ignorant!!!
Another guy calls in and starts talking about we don’t need to know where our money is going. We should just trust our “leaders” and they will do what needs to be done. I’m throwing a flag on the field and sending the play back 40 yards!!! We shouldn’t question how money is spent because the people in charge will know what to do!! Really???? How do you think we got in this financial mess that the country is currently in? Don’t just take the word of a minister, politician or media personality. Do the names Ted Haggard, Kwame Kilpatrick or Glenn Beck sound familiar? Black Folks, please question everything early and often. People lie!!!! And yes, even black folks!!!!!!!!!
2) Most black people hate criminals!!! Yes, we laughed at “Oceans Eleven” and we even thought “Dead Presidents” was cool. But those are movies and most intelligent black folks know the difference. Criminal Behavior is only celebrated in music and on BET. In homes where people go to work and pay bills – criminal behavior is discouraged. No real parent would be proud that their child is on the corner selling crack. It sounds cool on records but in real life it will get you killed!! Drug Dealers don’t have retirement plans. They don’t pack up and move to Florida to live in a retirement community. They end up in jail or dead. Please don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for your drug dealer son that just shot a pregnant girl at the bus stop!!
3) Black people don’t need to be lead like horses at a jumper classic. We are rational people that can make intelligent decisions without waiting on someone to give us the go ahead. I like Rev. Al but please stop calling him “our fearless leader” and begging him to help you with problems you can solve yourself. Rev. Al is only one man and he can’t fix every problem that black folks might have. He doesn’t need to march in your neighborhood to get the drug dealers off the block, stop the youth from having pre-marital sex or make your Mayor fix the pot holes in your street. The man deals with civil right injustices. If a white person hits you in the head, with a loaf of bread in Food Lion then you probably might want to call him. If they burn a cross on your yard then you should definitely give him a call.
No one is going to come in on a white horse and save us!!! If you haven’t figured it out by now, we are on our own. White folks have been using their votes to obtain services for years. Latinos are finally catching on and are doing the same thing. Why are “we” still behind when it comes to understanding how the game operates? If you demand little, people are going to give you little. Turn the drug dealers in (yes that means your son, cousin, nephew etc) because they are destroying your neighborhood.
A Taliban terrorist wouldn’t want to live in the worse neighborhoods in America. We are in vicious cycle where “we” are being asked to raise other peoples’ children through programs like Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Rev. Al can’t make a man stay at home and accept his responsibility and he damn sure can’t stop teenagers from having unprotected sex. Stop waiting to be saved and save yourselves.
Question: Do you think we are portrayed as a monolithic race? If so, who is at fault?