T Nation

Would MLK Be Proud?

I wonder if MLK would be proud of our black leaders today. I get the impression that most black leaders exploit race issues to make there pockets richer. Example…Al Sharpton.

Only good one I can think of is Condi Rice.

[quote]five-twelve wrote:
I wonder if MLK would be proud of our black leaders today. I get the impression that most black leaders exploit race issues to make there pockets richer. Example…Al Sharpton.

Only good one I can think of is Condi Rice. [/quote]

Is Al Sharpton really a black leader? Or is he just a media slut?

As for Condoleeza Rice, while she occupies a position of power, I fail to see how she’s a black leader. She might be an example to some, but she’s not a black leader, and neither was Colin Powell.

At least, not in the way MLK or Malcom X were.

[quote]pookie wrote:
five-twelve wrote:
I wonder if MLK would be proud of our black leaders today. I get the impression that most black leaders exploit race issues to make there pockets richer. Example…Al Sharpton.

Only good one I can think of is Condi Rice.

Is Al Sharpton really a black leader? Or is he just a media slut?

As for Condoleeza Rice, while she occupies a position of power, I fail to see how she’s a black leader. She might be an example to some, but she’s not a black leader, and neither was Colin Powell.

At least, not in the way MLK or Malcom X were.
[/quote]

Agreed and seconded.

Sharpton is a media slut. He needs a controversy to be relevant and if one isn’t available he’s not beyond creating one. It’s sad because he is a crafty political figure. If he devoted his life to actual getting things done he would have been a lot more effective as a US Senator or Congressman.

Which is kind of my point. Condi and Powell may not lead in the sense that they have a single race of people following their direction, because they are black. Rather they have led people thru strength of character, intelligence and vision…and they are black. In other words they are great leaders who happen to be black. So in that sense, if you take the meaning of MLK’s I have a dreaqm speeach at face value, then I would say yes he would be proud and his vision has come to pass.

Witness Obama. I don’t view him as a black politician. I don’t like his politics and I wouldn’t vote for him beacuse of them but to be honest the fact he has black hasn’t enetered into my evaluation. It would not if Powell or Condi was running either.

I’m no MLK student but my opinion is he would be proud or at least somewhat satisfied his work has advanced.

My two cents at least.

I think MLK would be proud in the changes in the country.

Little things like Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith having opportunities to prove that they are excellent coaches and climb to the top.

I do not think he would be proud of Al Sharpton.

The last great black leader in America? Can’t really think of one in recent history. Nelson Mandela is the only name in the past decade that springs to mind though, and we all know where he is from.

MLK was great because he inspired people to believe. What black leader inspires anyone today?

I think Zap made a good point - the inspiration comes more from subtle appreciations, like the Tony Dungies of the world: classy guys to whom race is irrelevant, and character is everything - just as MLK preferred.

I think he would hurl at the so called black leadeship of today. The Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons of today are in direct opposition to his ideals. They use his words, actions and teachings as weapons for personal and political gain not for the betterment of mankind. I do think he would be very pleased of those people (note: not black people, just people) who have taken advantage of the policies he changed with his actions to become sucessful people.
My understanding of Dr. King’s works and teachings is that he wanted people to become truly color blind; equality for black people was just part of the whole equation. I think he wanted people to just be people and not black people, white people, asians and hispanics.

I think the term ‘black leader’ needs to be clearly defined. It seems like the OP is suggesting that a black leader is an individual who represent black people and their interests as whole. DO you really think black people in America think with one mind?

I would prefer to label Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson as civil rights media figures, rather than black leaders. Blacks have differing opinions amongst themselves, believe it or not.

Also, to the OP: would you ever use the term ‘white leader’? If not, what would ever possess you to use the term ‘black leader’? Don’t fall for the media bullshit that tries to imply that somehow the black community have little private votes on who they want to represent them in the public eye.

‘Black leader’ is a subjective term, which to me, implies that simple-minded people will view these individuals as somehow representative of a massive group of people who happen to have one thing in common: their skin color (and even then there are many ‘shades’).

Sorry, I find this thread kind of ridiculous.

Hope that makes sense.

[quote]hedo wrote:
Sharpton is a media slut. He needs a controversy to be relevant and if one isn’t available he’s not beyond creating one. It’s sad because he is a crafty political figure. If he devoted his life to actual getting things done he would have been a lot more effective as a US Senator or Congressman.

Which is kind of my point. Condi and Powell may not lead in the sense that they have a single race of people following their direction, because they are black. Rather they have led people thru strength of character, intelligence and vision…and they are black. In other words they are great leaders who happen to be black. So in that sense, if you take the meaning of MLK’s I have a dreaqm speeach at face value, then I would say yes he would be proud and his vision has come to pass.

Witness Obama. I don’t view him as a black politician. I don’t like his politics and I wouldn’t vote for him beacuse of them but to be honest the fact he has black hasn’t enetered into my evaluation. It would not if Powell or Condi was running either.

I’m no MLK student but my opinion is he would be proud or at least somewhat satisfied his work has advanced.

My two cents at least. [/quote]

I’ll agree with most of that. I’m not disciple on MLK, but as you’ve said, I’m sure he’d be happy that his vision has advanced in many ways since his time.

Who cares about celebrity black leaders? I think it would be more relevant to point out the advancement of civil rights in general. This is what affects the common man more than anything; not the actions of a solitary individual in a position of power.

For example, Condi Rice doesn’t give a lick about the advancement of blacks because it would be political suicide for her to suggest that blacks are still treated like a minority–same thing for Collin Powell; political correctness mandates that we believe that he made it to General on his merit even though he clearly suggests otherwise.

All in all, looking thru the lens of history it would be hard to suggest that MLK wouldn’t feel some pride; however, we still have a long way to go. Case in point: New Orleans.

[quote]huey.ot wrote:

Blacks have differing opinions amongst themselves, believe it or not.

Also, to the OP: would you ever use the term ‘white leader’? If not, what would ever possess you to use the term ‘black leader’? Don’t fall for the media bullshit that tries to imply that somehow the black community have little private votes on who they want to represent them in the public eye.

‘Black leader’ is a subjective term, which to me, implies that simple-minded people will view these individuals as somehow representative of a massive group of people who happen to have one thing in common: their skin color (and even then there are many ‘shades’).[/quote]

I think most people get on board with this generally, but with one caveat - so long as there be such things as African-American studies university majors, Black Entertainment Television, and the ubiquitous use of the phrase “black community” (primarily by black individuals), then there will a reflexive idea that there will be “black leaders”.

An imperfect label to be sure, but since there are these many reinforcing mechanisms in culture that Black Americans are one largely monolithic culture, as well as people claiming they are or want “leaders in the black community”, such Balkanization will always lead to the assumption that there will be “black leaders” speaking on behalf of that group.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

For example, Condi Rice doesn’t give a lick about the advancement of blacks because it would be political suicide for her to suggest that blacks are still treated like a minority–same thing for Collin Powell; political correctness mandates that we believe that he made it to General on his merit even though he clearly suggests otherwise.[/quote]

You mean how she is on the record as being an advocate of affirmative action?

http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=7781

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
huey.ot wrote:

Blacks have differing opinions amongst themselves, believe it or not.

Also, to the OP: would you ever use the term ‘white leader’? If not, what would ever possess you to use the term ‘black leader’? Don’t fall for the media bullshit that tries to imply that somehow the black community have little private votes on who they want to represent them in the public eye.

‘Black leader’ is a subjective term, which to me, implies that simple-minded people will view these individuals as somehow representative of a massive group of people who happen to have one thing in common: their skin color (and even then there are many ‘shades’).

I think most people get on board with this generally, but with one caveat - so long as there be such things as African-American studies university majors, Black Entertainment Television, and the ubiquitous use of the phrase “black community” (primarily by black individuals), then there will a reflexive idea that there will be “black leaders”.

An imperfect label to be sure, but since there are these many reinforcing mechanisms in culture that Black Americans are one largely monolithic culture, as well as people claiming they are or want “leaders in the black community”, such Balkanization will always lead to the assumption that there will be “black leaders” speaking on behalf of that group.[/quote]

I hadn’t considered that. But I agree. ‘African American studies’? What the hell is that? It should be ‘American history’, without any color.

And I’m sure black people are more pissed with BET than anyone else!

[quote]huey.ot wrote:
I hadn’t considered that. But I agree. ‘African American studies’? What the hell is that? It should be ‘American history’, without any color.
[/quote]
Ummm…African American Studies is not just history. It is the combined study of philosophy, religion, culture, history, etc, and how it relates to African Americans–therefore very diverse. Don’t be so narrow-minded.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

Ummm…African American Studies is not just history. It is the combined study of philosophy, religion, culture, history, etc, and how it relates to African Americans–therefore very diverse. Don’t be so narrow-minded.[/quote]

And, like every major that ends in “Studies”, it is a complete waste of an academic discipline. These areas are nothing but therapeutic survey courses where the brain is shrunk, not expanded.

Plus, it reinforces the myth that Blacks all have a monolithic viewpoint and experience, which causes problems most of us don’t particularly care for - that was the point.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

Ummm…African American Studies is not just history. It is the combined study of philosophy, religion, culture, history, etc, and how it relates to African Americans–therefore very diverse. Don’t be so narrow-minded.

And, like every major that ends in “Studies”, it is a complete waste of an academic discipline. These areas are nothing but therapeutic survey courses where the brain is shrunk, not expanded.

Plus, it reinforces the myth that Blacks all have a monolithic viewpoint and experience, which causes problems most of us don’t particularly care for - that was the point.[/quote]

Exactly. African-American history is still American history. We don’t have majors dedicated to Jewish-American history or Chinese-American history… because such majors wold be ridiculous.

What would make sense to me would be a major in American history… and a student of such a major would have a rich understanding of important developments DEALING with African-Americans and their slavery and subsequent emancipation and their role in the civil rights movements, etc… but what I’m trying to get at is that you don’t need a major dedicated to something that’s false. That false thing being: some sense of a monolithic black culture.

Guess what? Not all black people are the same. I don’t think it makes any sense to label blacks as a unique culture… as much as it makes no sense to give whites a unique culture.

Color isn’t the same as culture. Color doesn’t inicate history.

[quote]huey.ot wrote:
thunderbolt23 wrote:
LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

Exactly. African-American history is still American history. We don’t have majors dedicated to Jewish-American history or Chinese-American history… because such majors wold be ridiculous.

[/quote]

Several universities have Hispanic Studies and Asian-American Studies programs as well. The reason such programs exist is that oftentimes history has, somewhat conveniently, overlooked to mention these in textbooks.

African American studies or Africana studies as they are called as well deal not only with the African American experience but the experience and history of people of the African diaspora.

How much do people actually know about Africa prior to the continent being colonialized?

As such African American studies don’t only envelop history but sociology, politics and economics as well being the interdisciplinary field it is.

what about oprah? she’s somewhat of a leader, no? controlling half of america’s women, all kinds, by the snap of her finger? yup its oprah…

Black leaders are built up and are creatures of the media. We don’t perceive Condi and Colin as black leaders because they are Republicans.

The Republican Party has done more for black people in this country than twits like Al Sharpton or Jesse ‘The Reverend’ Jackson.

For example, the first Republican President…