The historical basis for the gap between the black middle class and underclass shows that ending discrimination by itself would not eradicate black poverty and dysfunction. We also need intervention to promulgate a middle-class ethic of success among the poor while expanding opportunities for economic betterment.
The African American's relationship to Africa has long been ambivalent at least since the early nineteenth century when 3 000 black men crowded into Bishop Richard Allen's African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia to protest noisily a plan to recolonize free blacks in Africa.
But you see our society is still trapped in this binary black/white logic and that has had some very positive implications for our generation. It's had some very negative ones as well and one of the negative ones is that it creates enormous identity problems for people who have one black ancestor and all white ancestors for example.
The sad truth is that the civil rights movement cannot be reborn until we identify the causes of black suffering some of them self-inflicted. Why can't black leaders organize rallies around responsible sexuality birth within marriage parents reading to their children and students staying in school and doing homework?
The only people who live in a post-black world are four people who live in a little white house on Pennsylvania Avenue. The idea that America is post-racial or post-black because a man I admire Barack Obama is president of the United States is a joke. And I hope no one will even wonder about this crazy fiction again.
What people forget is that the most radical thing about Obama is that he was the first black man in history to imagine that he could become president who was able to make other Americans believe it as well. Other than that he is a centrist just like I try to be. He's been bridging divisions his whole life.
America is the greatest nation ever founded. The ideals are the greatest ever espoused in human history and we just need the country to live up to them. But what I worry about are the 1 million black men in the prison system.
Let's face it - think of Africa and the first images that come to mind are of war poverty famine and flies. How many of us really know anything at all about the truly great ancient African civilizations which in their day were just as splendid and glorious as any on the face of the earth?
People are afraid and when people are afraid when their pie is shrinking they look for somebody to hate. They look for somebody to blame. And a real leader speaks to anxiety and to fear and allays those fears assuages anxiety.
You can say I had a severe case of 'Roots' envy. I wanted to be like Alex Haley and I wanted to be able to... do my family tree back to the slave ship and then reverse the Middle Passage as I like to put it and find the tribe or ethnic group that I was from in Africa.
My family and our neighbors and friends thought of Africa and its Africans as extensions of the stereotyped characters that we saw in movies and on television in films such as 'Tarzan' and in programs such as 'Ramar of the Jungle' and 'Sheena Queen of the Jungle.'