With so much going on around the world one can definitely point back to this time in history as an example of how human rights and equality took to the forefront of real people’s lives. Without the distraction of food, housing and responsibilities, suddenly everyone is very concerned with the ‘poor’.
As a political scientist, I keep abreast of what is going on from the curious eye of an observer, and the nagging thought recently came to my attention that American Blacks are missing from the conversation of ‘how are we going to make it’?
I wondered if we have become so jaded (or so distracted with scratching by daily bread) that we are neglecting to bother to raise a voice while others scream their displeasure at the exploitative actions of those in charge of the way we live our lives.
The fervor of poverty and confusion consuming people of the world is nothing new to Black folks. Everyone knows and no one cares about the things that affect the lowest man on the totem pole. We’ve sought our American pie and remain hungry.
However, this time we can’t ask for what we need.
There is nothing quiet about our needs.
We do ourselves a great injustice if we are not out there screaming, marching, and demanding society instill solutions for our people. By the throwing every bit of economic, intellectual, and collective power we have behind getting our needs met we have a greater chance of changing our plight in this country so that we are not again left behind once American/the World settles into whatever form of hierarchic society is next.
I found a wonderful article on Colorlines.com today written by Rinku Sin and from it I found several sources of inspiration and so I have quoted all that I found worth discussing.
The efforts to save Troy Davis were tragically unsuccessful, and Wall Street continues to operate, business at usual. Still, policy and institutions that perpetuate inhumane capital punishment and corporate greed are, for the time being, under scrutiny.
This is an opportunity for people of color to join in this dialogue of scrutiny. We would be insane to remain quiet about the systematic inequities that are specific to us as a group while the conversation is beginning to pierce the international stage.
We are collectively suffering due to an embedded system of financially rewarded racial profiling executed through the corporate criminal justice system and predatory police service industries. How do we demand a cease in the practice that generates profit based on the existence of our Brown skin color?
In economic justice, it is particularly tempting to ignore the links between race and poverty, as well as the profound influence of sexism and sexuality on economic hierarchies.
Now is the time to address those policies which extend above and beyond the issues of economic injustice, when mixed with race, economic inferiority causes disruptions our quality of life. The stress felt by other cultures who periodically experience financial hardship are unlike the repressed existence Blacks are forced to live under in the United States.
The affects of living under the combined strain of economic and racial inequalities diminishes everything in our race from our high infant mortality rate to our low life expectancy rate.
Blacks are screwed over from birth to death; the only thing high about our population is prison rates, and the potential to drop out. Low are our expectations of ourselves, our country and our right to demand consideration as citizens.
There should be conversations by the criminal justice advocates to see what can be done about establishing prisoner rights to ex-felons who have successfully transitioned into society. Those familiar with treating sexual abuse may look into developing programs with those groups whose work focuses on prostitutes, who in turn, may also be mothers, definitely at risk and indeed, victims of sexual exploitation.
As the unemployment checks dry up and the welfare eligibility rolls expire more and more women are turning to prostitution as a desperate means to make money. There are links to explore; I see plenty.
………white men are the standard of universalism, and if something doesn’t affect them, it is considered a side issue and not part of the universe………Building movements that include groups that explicitly address the racial, gender and sexual dimensions of our economic system is key to that process.
Black people know that if ‘it doesn’t affect a White man it doesn’t matter'; ask any generation of people of color and they will tell you the same.
Now that the White man is getting a taste of hunger pangs, homelessness, and the tart sting of humiliation one feels on the receiving end of a welfare line HE’S demanding that shit needs to change.
Blacks are still generally silent.
Now is the the time for us to make noise. I envision our participation in this conversation as a way of rubbing Timmy’s face in it. It’s not Timmy’s fault that we have had a hard time in American, but Timmy didn’t give a fuck until Timmy was having a hard time in America right along with us.
There are plenty of Whites who are disgusted at being a poor, but they are even more so angry at being as equally as disenfranchised as your average nigga.
Before we seek to “reestablish the Middle Class” the country needs solutions and some of those solutions should come in the form of ideas and businesses created to take into consideration the specific needs of a demographic of people who never made it to become “Middle Class” .
The challenge remains, however, to fully integrate seemingly non-economic concerns that pre-occupied all of the people who attended a workshop on wedge issues that I joined. My co-panelists were Carol McDonald from Planned Parenthood, Darlene Nipper from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Jackie Mahendra from Change.org. The four of us told our stories about how we countered conservative attempts to grind down American support for reproductive rights, LGBT liberation, the DREAM Act and racial issues like affirmative action. The common message from the panel was that we have to tell our own stories on our own terms if we’re going to reframe these debates, and tie them to an economic justice agenda. I don’t have enough room here, but numerous organizations have explored the link between being a woman, being of color, and being queer to being poor.
This fight has no sides. No denomination. No agenda. No political affiliation that should have greater precedent than our collective racial needs.
Our indulgence in avant garde separatism has done us nothing; for once I hope we can see the forest through the trees.
We’ve been hanging from these branches long enough, don’t you agree?