November 4, 2007

Is the March the Only Thing in Our Playbook?

Lifestyle: Civil Rights Leaders Put Federal Government On Notice - Mybrotha.COM Online Magazine For Black Men

So we planning another march are we?

Energized by the Jena-6 case, the Rev. Al Sharpton and other civil rights leaders are urging Black Americans to speak out against hate crimes and support the movement by taking action. They are also asking the federal government to intervene in local issues of bigotry and protect Black American.
The race hustlers are at work again. I don't know whether to laugh or put my head through a meat grinder. Race hustlers like Sharpton would bother me less if they would at least figure out how to be a little original. We've been marching since the 60's, hell before. Its a different world and that approach is played out. There was a time when a march was a powerful thing for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was you could get your skull bashed in for doing it. It was a potent symbol and reality of black people using their power to press for redress of social ills, all the more so because it was risky. You could get hurt, even killed. Further, many other avenues for bringing pressure were closed to us. The law, politics, provided no guarantees of our fundamental rights. Applying pressure in an area where there was no way to blunt or deflect retaliation was often not an option.

Not so today. Our rights are largely protected under the law, mediated by the resources we can bring to bear in our defense of course. We have a plethora of tactics and strategies to use along with all new tools like the internet. Today, we are protesting Jena, and Megan Williams and Dunbar Village....well not Dunbar Village yet....and nooses and what not, while at the same time a Harvard educated black man has raised $57 million and is making a run for the White House. So Sharpton wants to march. Big deal. There is no risk in that. No risk of success, because their is little to be gained, and no risk of failure because if anybody shows up, its a success.

Sharpton and Jesse both seem to be incapable of figuring out winning strategies other than meaningless marches. And they are meaningless. Neither of these so called leaders have built an organization that does something constructive besides seek redress for every ill, real or hyped up. Marches as a pressure tactic are among the most ignorable things people can do and the reason thats true is simple: we are all march and no action 90% of the time. We have no follow through because we don't focus beyond the marching moment. Not a one of the myriad issues facing black america will be solved via marches. Black incarceration at record highs? That means rebuild our families so they grow up straight, make sure we educate them. It also means real political organization to strike down unfair sentencing and none of that is an overnight deal. Black communities tore up from the flo up? That means we gotta get out and pick up the garbage, means we ought to create community development corporations and it means we ought to politically mobilize for economic policy that benefits our community. In both of the above cases, we have to put in a whole lot more effort and organization than what goes into pulling off a well attended march.

Marches, particularly when called by Sharpon or his ilk, are really just a PR scheme for the race hustlers. Its how they keep their media cachet fresh, keep the contributions and shakedown money rolling in. By periodically flexing their march muscles, they can convince non discerning white people that they can snap their finger and put 1,000,000 black people in the street full out righteous outrage whenever they like. The reality is that the marches are more about the race hustlers than they are about the issue or the truth. You know this is true when you see how they react when the truth contradicts the outrage as in the Duke case.

The march is the only thing in their playbook, along with the occasional boycott. But in 2007 baby, the march is not going to cut it as an empowerment tactic, as a pressure tool for policy change. And the problem is that the race hustlers don't care and the marchers don't get it.