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Black Conferences and Conventions

May 2nd, 2010 by James Breedlove | 0

While Black Americans may be on the short end of realizing the American Dream there is one area where they are definitely the superstars; holding conferences and conventions to discuss the Black condition in America.

The Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN) was the latest black organization to exhibit its conference/convention credentials when it convened a four day version of saving Black America at the First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York and the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers from April 14-17, 2010.

The highlight of the convention was the leadership forum convened on the final day where black leaders representing a diverse range of constituencies pledged a plan of action to mitigate over a 12-month period many of the issues such as education reform, unemployment, and health care that impact people of color.

Rev. Sharpton in stressing the importance of the Measuring the Movement: Black Leadership’s 12-Month Action Plan special forum focused on the measurable action that can be taken to improve the quality of life for African-Americans.  He emphasized that, “everybody needs to make a commitment. Let’s hold everyone accountable.”

The real question is: How can everyone be held accountable when no one has been assigned or accepted responsibility for the actions needed?  This is the type of misdirected mindset that results from emotional conference rhetoric.

Is there anything substantially new to be learned about being Black In America or the host of issues that confront Black America that hasn’t already been sliced, diced and dissected over the years by think tanks, civil rights organizations, activist groups, news organizations, historians, and TV specials?

Are these convention and conference organizers and attendees not aware of the annual definitive reports on blacks published by organizations such as the National Urban League, the Pew Charitable Trust, United For A Fair Economy, and the U.S. Census Bureau?  Have they completely overlooked the well documented books that included The Hidden Cost of Being African American by Thomas Shapiro, Dr. Claud Anderson’s Black Labor/White Wealth or the multitude of black  historical perspectives from intellectuals such as Eric Foner, John Hope Franklin, W. E. B. DuBois, Freederick Douglas, and Booker T. Washington?

These resources paint a vivid portrait of the black condition in America.  They documented and validated how the enormous racial wealth gap that perpetuates racial inequality in America and the methods of intergenerational transfer of wealth used to advantage by Whites appear to make racial inequality a permanent American fixture.

The Census Bureau tells us each year that more black men are dropping out of high school and being jailed at disproportionately high rates.  Black poverty rates seem to be fixed at three times the white rate.

Black Americans have been disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS and that disparity is growing larger each year.  Black women, the cornerstone of the black family, now are approximately 70 percent of all new HIV diagnoses.

These and the other issues that are constantly being discussed at black conventions and conferences are important but the successful implementation of any change strategy depends on less talking and assuming total responsibility for remedial action.

Who knows the problems of the Black community better than someone who has lived the problem and, therefore, is in a better position to create real solutions instead of perpetual studies?

Too often the cornerstone of proposals to correct black issues is a local, state or federal program.  However, it will be a sad mistake if Blacks embrace government intervention as the only way to mitigate the inequality burden Blacks confront in America.  The same government mindset that meticulously, deliberately and callously imposed the discriminatory practices detailed by Dr. Claud Anderson in his book Black Labor/White Wealth and now confirmed by Shapiro is the same government mindset operating today to maintain the large black/white wealth disparity that undergirds racial inequality.

United For A Fair Economy estimates it would take 1,600 years to close the wealth gap at the rates of progress made since 1970.  Without a quantified self-directed strategy Blacks will continue to be bought off with underfunded politicized programs that do nothing more than maintain the status quo.

There is no valid reason for Black leaders to continue to hold conventions and conferences to discuss the black problem in America.  The problems are not only well known but well documented.  What is needed are working meetings that assign responsibility to black leaders to quantify a specific problem, initiate specific actions to fix the specific problem and to keep the effort funded and active until the problem is fixed.

Structured thinking and dedicated implementation is the basis for a united strategy for dealing with Black problems discussed by activists such as Rev. Al Sharpton and Tavis Smiley.  If a national program is too difficult then start at the state level, or county level, or city level.

It is possible to quantify definitive action plans for individual areas of housing, schools, crime prevention, transportation, infrastructure development and any other element needed to make our communities the quality places we dream about.  Blacks have got to assume the ultimate responsibility for their own destiny to stop the give-today, take-back-tomorrow cycle of perpetual stagnation that results from the majority establishment controlling the black agenda.

James W. Breedlove

Comments or opinions may be sent to the writer at: www.truthclinic.com

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