Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Step by Step

Questions are being asked day in and day out: why are BW /BC not organized enough to use what they've got to get what they want?

I think this question has been asked in various forms by different people. Gina asked this today on her blog, What About Our Daughters.

I think one of the commentators hit it right on. Leadership. There is a great lack of good leadership and why is that? What can be done about it?

Why is there such a lack of leadership?

There is a group who loved their best and brightest of children. They 'loved' them so much, that they'd sacrifice them to their god by burning them! Needless to say, it was not a very smart bunch of people...can you guess why?

Not as exaggerated as the above situation, within the black community, those who arose with potential leadership often tend to fit the "too white" mold and were rejected by many. Others, who were "down with it" were seen as too ghetto, or were actors and sportsperson whom many did not want as their 'spokespreson.'

Afterall, as i've heard over and over, we are not a monolith.

What can be done about it?

Leaders. Leaders of tens, leaders of hundreds, leaders of thousands. Can we list what our ultimate goals are? health issues, justice, education, political weight. Can we then realize that at different levels of our non-monolith BC, those same needs are their but at different stages. Without condescension, can we help each level to attain their health, justice, education and political goals? Can we understand that maybe at one level, the leader does have to be hand snapping, fast talking attitude holding hipster and at another level a literary giant with a PhD can do better.

Whatever the case may be, if we have unity, confidence in each other, and love for self I think it can be achieved. Unity in knowing that even though there are other goals to be attained, we all agree to focus on a certain few goals. Confidence in each other in that if we see one is attacked, we support them and let them fly again. and love for self so that when a new leader arise -just because she looks like- we aren't hating on her!


Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

I have never been trained to follow anyone, neither will m children....great question

Miriam said...

Hi Torrence. Thank you for stopping by!

Do you vote?

Prettybrown Girl said...

Brilliant post!

MLK said:

"As long as the MIND is enslaved, the body can never be free. Psychological freedom, a firm sense of SELF-ESTEEM, is the most powerful weapon against the long night of physical slavery."

I think this quote is related to the issue at hand.

The reason for the disarray at all levels in the BCM "leadership" is because they have chosen politics over the needs of our community. Most of them have embraced the anti-black media hype-- and since they feel the "Black cause" is a hopeless pursuit, all they do now is about money, visibility and ego.

MLK reached millions and he was an educated orator. However, there were those within the movement who took the message to ALL levels including the grassroots...
MLK was effective only because the BP were ready for change.

These days many BP seem not to care... and some appear to be happy with the way things are--
IMHO, for things to change, BFLK have to be open to the message.

BW have to keep blogging, writing, speaking, offering services and doing everything to let others know that there are options for us to do better and live better.

This is a quote by Malcolm X:
"I've had enough of somebody else's propaganda. I'm for truth, no matter who tells it...." — --From 1965, The Autobiography of MalcolmX.

Best wishes to all!

Beautiful Black Women, Happily Interracially married

zanmi said...

Interesting post. Great leaders are not those who lead, but instead those who cultivate other leaders. The black community has not have great leaders, and it has to do with the way we see ourselves, and the way we let others control everything we do.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Hi Miriam,

I think a problem is that in 2007 there really is no one Black community to lead. We are fragmented into many different groups.

So anyone who is trying to lead African America as a whole is going to get push-back from these differing groups.

Great post.


Tania said...

I don't have much more to add since everyone else put it so eloquently, but I really enjoyed your post. Keep hope alive!

GoldenAh said...

I agree with Mes Deux Cents - we are very fragmented.

However, MLK wasn't universally liked or followed. He was still effective. Desegregation was a southern issue. When he tried to focus on urban poverty, in the north, he was basically ignored.

Leadership and organizational skills are good in any context, not just leading blacks to any promised land (based on the issue).

Today, I think black leadership will appear from a new generation of elected officials: Fenty, Booker and Patrick, etc. Booker has been vilified for the reasons you mentioned; he's not hood/street/authentic, etc.

As for the rest of us? I dunno.

I'm more disorganized as I get older. Too much information perhaps.

diva said...

Great post.
I actually read some where that in terms of voting, petitioning, direct action etc. African Americans do more than any other ethnic group. I don't think we lack leaders. I think that a lot of the issues that affect the African American community adversely are more issues of family and community rather than leadership. Even in protesting negative images etc. the root of the problem is more a lack of ethical guidance and support for young people who too often have to fend for themselves because the adults in their lives are (1) absent or (2) single parents overwhelmed with trying to make ends meet on poor wages.

Ehav Ever said...

The problem you run into with looking for a leader to rise up and lead people is under whose moral directives should people be led. When you deal with "black" people you have a number of different cultures, religions, and personalities. What happens when every religion, for example, has a different vision of how to solve the problem? How can a leader who does not fit their religious mold satisfy them?

The idea of leaders being over tens, hundreds, and thousands can only exist when their is a common moral compass. A common value system and a common destiny system is the only thing that can give such a thing a reality to work on.

This where I think morality plays a huge role. If a father and a mother can lead their children effectively they can set an example. If their children go out and make families, and they also lead their families effectively then over time you have a ripple affect. Yet, this can only work when those involved have a common bond and a common destiny.

Without this can't convince anyone to believe that a so called leader has the qualities to lead.

Ehav Ever said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ehav Ever said...

One thing my mother once said to me about the Civil Rights Movement.

The people who really lead the way and fought for change were either killed, locked up, or they have the scars to show for it.

Most people are not willing to go that far for something, and put it all on the line. The few who do in many cases never see that promised, except maybe from a distance. People who lead often do so at the expense of their family, livelihood, etc.

Symphony said...

Most people are not willing to go that far for something, and put it all on the line.

So true.

May I also say not only are we not all the same but even when thinking of the things that have most affected me, being a Black woman hasn't caused me any grief.

So many Black women talk about Black men not appreciating their education. I've never had that. Every Black man I know encourages me.

Black women and violence. I've never come close to an abusive relationship.

Black women and health. I'm very healthy and take pretty good care of myself.

Fact is, I've had more issues from being a soldier, veteran, and mother than being a Black woman.

I can honestly say being a Black woman won't drive me when it comes to the polls.

Taylor-Sara said...

Hi miriam
I wish I knew the answer to that question. It just seems like the leadership (if you can call it that) is geared toward whatever is popular or more acceptable to the BM in the community and what is right is taking a back seat. It is sad but no one seems to have the conviction to stand their ground. There is No example to follow...
hate to sound like a pessimist, but until we lose this perpetual pettiness and cheap gratification zest, we won't go far...

Miriam said...

Prettybrown girl - That is a very good point. Very true. Its all about money for a lot of them -and being on Tv, etc.

doing everything to let others know that there are options for us to do better and live better.

I seriously think its time to take this business into mainstream with a radio program or something.

Zanmi -I hear that!

MDC -right. But if there where leaders at the various sects all answering to a hierarchy of leadership, could that help?

Tania -always great to see ya!

Goldenah - I really want to know how MlK did it -especially if he wasn't well received by all groups. I think I may (ATTEMPT) to do a post on that. Thanks!

Diva - Its so deep the problem. I pray that it can eventually be uprooted. Starting w/leadership in the home?

Ehav -I hear you. But there are somethings that are just way basic that any group must MUST strive for -primarly justice, protection of that groups women and children.

And if most folks are not willing to go 'that far' I am okay w/that. But it only means that the leader must come from the most oppress of the BC segments.

Taylor-Sara -Very true. And from Ehav made me think of, I think the most oppressed of the BC segment will be the one who can cast that zest aside- if anything for purely survival's sake.

Ehav Ever said...

Hey Miriam,

Even when you talk about commonality the things you mentioned can have different meanings to different people. Justice can mean a number of things to a lot of different people. The plain sense of the word may sound like a unifying factor, but when you get into the details of what it means your form of justice may be unjust to someone else, and vice versa.

The same with the protection of woman and children. Some people don't see those things the same. Only people who have a similar moral compass see them in similar lights. Even then the execution of such things often causes tension when people have different views on HOW it should be done.

You also have the problem that some people don't see their situation as that dire. Whether it be through social conditioning or what, there are some who simply don't live as if their lifestyles or community are in dire straights.

My belief is that when individuals stand up, for example when fathers and mothers stand up to raise strong willed children. When children stand up and become men and women, and when communities stand up then you can actually see the change you are talking about.

Waiting for someone to simply rise up unit various factions sometimes takes away from individual and group responsibilities. Especially when one sees a leadership void. If parents become leaders of their families that alone could change the world.

Miriam said...

Ehav said: If parents become leaders of their families that alone could change the world.

Amein !!