You know who was a badass? A. Phillip Randolph.
A. Phillip Randolph built the first black trade union. In 1925, he organized black sleeping car porters into the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. At the time half the affiliates of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) barred blacks from membership. He took the Brotherhood into the AFL anyway. He did all the fighting necessary to win some measure of acceptance (and, in 1937, he won a major contract with the Pullman Company) but left in 1938 because the AFL refused to fight against discrimination in its organization. Soon after he took up the issue of discrimination against blacks in employment with companies with federal contracts. In 1941, he threatened FDR with a massive protest march on Washington D.C. by black workers. FDR responded by issuing an Executive Order that barred discrimination in defense industries and federal bureaus. After World War II Randolph took on segregation in the military. He founded the League for Nonviolent Civil Disobedience Against Military Segregation. In fear of what Randolph’s new organization would do President Truman issuing his own Executive Order – Executive Oder 9981 – which banned racial segregation in the armed forces.
A. Phillip Randolph did not bow before Presidents or powerful union chiefs. He did not give bigots of any station veto power over his aspirations or the advancement of his people. Eventually he became a vice president in the AFL-CIO and he also directed the famous march on Washington in 1963 where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Randolph is on the stage behind King when he delivers that speech.
Randolph was the type of guy who could urge blacks to avoid the draft and sit out World War I but threaten the government in order to get it to employ blacks in the run up to World War II and not suffer any loss of stature for the contradiction. He was the type of guy who could wage war against an organization only to be eventually named its Vice President and then shortly after begin fighting that organization again (which he did when he formed the Negro American Labor Council which was dedicated to rooting out discrimination in the AFL-CIO).
He typified a particular type of black American: the extra-political actor who – without any leverage inside the political system – could win major concessions from government and non-government institutions. These dudes from Douglass to Washington to DuBois to King with many others between did not care what white America thought of them. They were driven to the cause of their oppressed fellow citizens by what the founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Richard Allen called ties of “suffering and wrong” They were the true political and social outsiders.
Tragically, those extra-political outsiders have been succeeded by a seraglio of political eunuchs who have no concern greater than maintaining their own position in the hierarchy of prostitutes that govern black districts. They are true political and social insiders. This neutered class likes to pretend to the radicalism of their forbears but they can’t help but reveal themselves as poseurs every single time.
In February on a podcast with overrated and faded former rocker Bruce Springsteen, former President Obama talked about how he just couldn’t pull the trigger on reparations even though they are “justified”. You see, mean ol’ Mr. White Folks just wouldn’t let him.
From the Charlotte Observer: “What I saw during my presidency was the politics of white resistance and resentment, the talk of welfare queens and the talk of the undeserving poor and the backlash against affirmative action,” Obama said on the podcast. “All that made the prospect of actually proposing any kind of coherent, meaningful reparations program struck me as, politically, not only a non-starter but potentially counter-productive.”
I’m not in favor of reparations but Obama and his class of black political leaders are – so where are the reparations? Obama would have his listeners believe the same white Americans who put him in office (twice!) were so powerfully opposed to him that he could not bring himself to risk any political action on behalf of black Americans. Coming from a man with an east African father and a white mother who regularly interjected himself into the stream of black civil rights leaders this is nauseating. Those leaders could fight the white establishment at a time when they easily could have been lynched but he – merely the President of the United States of America – had to bow out to “white resistance”.
A question about reparations since whomever is running Beijing Joe’s administration is on a tear about studying and taking action on them: If this is all about economic disparity then who owes whom? From 1970 through 2018 the largest income gap in America was between blacks. According to a Pew Research Center finding in 2018 blacks in the 90th percentile earned nearly ten times what blacks in the 10th percentile earned. If we’re talking about taxing Oprah or Michael Jordan or Dr. Dre or Ice Cube to fund economic support for the roughly 1/3 of black Americans who have not passed through the social and economic portal opened by the victories of the Civil Rights Movement then, like former President Obama, I’m all ears. But if all reparations continues to mean is racial payback based on the contestable assertion that former slaves were promised 40 acres and a mule then let’s drop the subject. It’s just more sordid race conversation porn where the significance of the act is reduced to mechanical titillation that lowers the moral level of everyone involved.
The extra-political outsiders ( A. Phillip et al.) left the new political insiders (Obama and ilk) with a mandate for jobs, education and housing (see the placards at the ’63 March on Washington). How have they done?
The Insiders delivered jobs for themselves and made the legacy civil rights organizations a delivery system for federal spoils i.e. it federalized black misery and made it a budget line item.
What black people wanted was the ability to buy a house where they chose – free of lending and residential discrimination. What Insiders delivered was public housing and eventually a housing bubble which first created black “wealth” (which W took credit for) and then destroyed that same “wealth” (which they blamed on greedy banks – the same banks they cowed into making bad loans to blacks under threat of discrimination lawsuits).
What blacks wanted was the fair chance to be hired and the same wage opportunity as their fellow workers. What the Insiders set up is open borders for low wage workers that depress the wages of native born blacks. They did it in service of the Democratic Party’s fever dream of creating a permanent political majority (of which they stupidly think they will be part of despite the wild demographic swing in their districts).
The Insiders gamed up higher education for themselves, their progeny, and for all the Africans who want to attend U.S. universities under the banner of affirmative-action for black Americans; but they have done nothing about the pitiful state of K-12 eduction for black America other than carry water for teacher’s unions.
This brings us to Baltimore public schools and the poor student who with a 0.13 GPA is still in the top half of his class. He’s not going to graduate, mind you, but in the madhouse where he was “educated” if somehow he could squeeze out a 1.0 GPA then he could be Valedictorian one day.
Years ago when I had a job that wouldn’t let me ignore the Sheols America’s big cities had become I drew the assignment of meeting some men who were working (from outside the system, of course) to improve the conditions in Baltimore public schools. My co-worker Tony drove me to Baltimore to visit two public schools – a high school and an elementary school. We drove up from D.C. and made a stop in front of a giant concrete block with high chain link fences. I sat quietly for a few minutes wondering why Tony had driven us to a medium security prison.
Finally, I asked, “Tony, where’s the school?”
“This is the school,” he replied.
Three hours later after walking corridors so dark you almost needed a flashlight, smelling the stench of garbage and urine, meeting with police officers in the school police precinct, meeting with a school principal who was trying to manage two high schools smashed into one thanks to an idea from the Bill and Melinda Gates and the Open Society Foundation, meeting with teachers who were either mainly concerned about their personal safety or learning how to counsel their emotionally damaged students I sat in Tony’s truck wondering how I could gain absolute police authority in Baltimore to arrest everyone who played a part in creating and maintaining the pit I just visited.
Before visiting the elementary school we paid a visit to a local man who had turned his basement into a kitchen where he was running a culinary school for ex-offenders preparing them to be cooks at local restaurants. He was using his upper floors to take in distressed women and children. We needed to stop by to interview him and to set him up with some people who could get his operation streamlined and steer him from the legal danger looming if he kept taking in abused women and children. He was a good man. He didn’t know what to do. He just knew he couldn’t do nothing.
While there we met a girl of about 10 who had showed up on his doorstep that morning, emaciated and in obvious emotional trauma. Shock is not strong enough to describe her condition. She had been living underneath her home for some time to avoid what her mom’s boyfriend had been doing to her. She only came to the surface because of the massive gun fight on her street the night before. The sound of the bullets and the dead body dropped in front of her hiding place scared her enough to make an appearance on the doorstep of the local Samaritan. When we left she was trying to pick through a plate of crab cakes prepared by the former prisoners while one of the women of the house braided her hair. It was a scene from a siege.
We left that way station and proceeded to the elementary school. I was on edge. I tried to prepare my mind for the next scenes of surrealist theatre.
I thought I was ready for anything until once again we parked in front of a building that I did not recognize as a school. We were in front of a large brick structure that had significant fire damage. Charred wooden beams in the roof were visible. I sat quietly. I was veteran enough now to not ask any questions. A bell rang and soon after children came bounding out of the front door.
That broke me.
“Tony, there are kids going to school in there? I thought we were meeting Mr. _ in this parking lot and we’d ride to a school with him.”
“Yeah, it’s a school. It was set on fire last year. They haven’t repaired it yet. You ready to go in?”
I wasn’t but I went anyway. The man we met was charismatic, concerned about the future of the children in the school, and absolutely on the top ten enemies list for the school board and mayor of Baltimore. I wished him luck as we parted but I knew the guy had no chance.
The situation in Baltimore public schools (and schools across the country) has been beyond a disgrace for decades and all the black political class has accomplished is that now – if they can read and know any basic grammar – a kid like Mr. 0.13 will notice black spelled with a capital B now instead of in lower case. The lame, insider black leadership is still patting themselves on the back for that big win.
The only way any black children in the hovels overseen by black political leadership can get attention from black leadership is if a white cop were to shoot one of them dead.
That’s wrong. Let me correct:
The only way a kid like Mr. 0.13 would get attention from the black faces at the front of left wing, transgender, white organizations is if a white cop were to shoot him dead or paralyze him in an election year.
The last black leader from outside who was able to interrupt the insider’s bacchanal was Jesse Jackson. His run in ’84 provided a brief view of the growing distance between the priorities of black leadership and the needs of the black populace. We know the story. Eventually, Jesse was bought off and he joined the pigs living in farmer Jones’s house. Jesse departed the scene after Al Gore’s run and Obama sealed the door against his return. I don’t blame Obama for that. I, too, would sideline somebody who threatened to cut my n**s off even – if like Obama and all the rest of the black political class – I didn’t have any.