The push for the Black vote is on. Black folks are back in style. Black is beautiful – again. Since the last election, the mantra has become, “Get more ‘minorities’ to vote Republican” and Black voters are at the top of that list.
The other day I found myself engaged in a casual discussion with someone next to me on an airplane. In the course of the conversation, I mentioned that I had written two books on labor unions. The man responded that he thought that unions could be both good and not so good.
F. Scott Fitzgerald got it right when he said the rich are different. We are witnessing that in the sequester fiasco and we heard it in another form last week when Attorney General Eric H. Holder offered an asinine reason for not prosecuting bankers/gangsters known as banksters.
March is the official month to “discuss” women and it could not arrive too soon. What is sad about both Black History Month (February) and International Women’s Month (March) is that too many of us think that those are the only legitimate times of the year to discuss the issues affecting these respective groups. In either case, attention to the plight of women, in March or any other month, is warranted.
Women and Black people have offered so much to our nation that we deserve to be honored or at least remembered in a special way every month. We should not be happy with the hand we’re dealt without question or efforts to change what is. Black people have been given February to celebrate what we’ve done historically. That’s a lot in spite of all the obstruction we’ve faced along the way. Women have been given March to celebrate what we do.
The murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955 was a watershed moment, marking the beginning of the modern Civil Rights Movement. While visiting relatives near Money, Miss., the Chicago native was murdered for allegedly whistling at a White woman. The brutal act was intended to send an unmistakable message to Black boys everywhere: If you even whistle at a White woman in the Deep South, you could pay for it with your life.
Many of us have heard the saying, “If you’re White you’re all right; if you’re Yellow you’re fine and mellow; if you’re Brown, stick around; but if you’re Black get the h— on back.” Well, as Claud Anderson has said for years, “If Black folks didn’t get anything when we were in second place, what makes anyone think we will get anything when we move into third place?” All of his predictions and warnings have come to fruition as they pertain to immigration and its impact on Black people in this country.
President Barack Obama has the opportunity, in this second term, to put his feet on history. He won an election that his opponent had essentially claimed, he has been firm about that which he would negotiate on, and he has offered a progressive inauguration speech that offers up a liberal agenda, embracing Social Security and Medicare, uplifting immigrants and gay rights, and embracing ways to address inequality.