By Thomas Muhammad
Yep, you damn skippy! Here I go again! Seeing majority Black neighborhoods across America stalled in decades of squaller conditions grossly due to poverty, you’d be pissed off to the max too! Sadly, a large part of this blame can easily be laid at the feet of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). The living conditions many of these communities are finding themselves in should actually be in much greater shape if their Black Congressional District Representatives would have been working just as harder for them as they have been for other non-Black outside lobby groups! There already is a Hispanic Caucus, and Asian Caucus, a Native American Caucus. There’s even a Women’s Caucus. So why does the CBC still run full speed at trying to represent all of these caucuses in meetings designed to get community economic benefits? I’m quite damn sure that these groups are capable of representing themselves! In fact from what I hear when these other caucus reps meet with corporations for meaningful jobs, contracts, and other private/government goodies they NEVER mention Black folks.
But it seems our reps just can’t wait to get in similar meetings and advocate for stuff like diversity, people of color, minority, WBE, or set-asides! It’s my firm belief that when we advocate for ourselves we’ll find that old saying is really true that the tide that lifts one boat lifts ALL boats! Mayor Sylvester Turner illustrated it best during his speech at Brother George Floyd’s funeral in Houston. He said, “But I want you to know that it goes well beyond policing. I have been talking with business owners and CEOs over the last couple of weeks. And what I’ve said to them that when we invest in communities that have been underserved and under-invested in. When we haven’t done the investing, then you don’t have to spend as much on the policing. If you can take the necessary funds and invest in our communities!” That’s solid on! I’ll sum it up this way: just imagine the CBC being the leading example showing local Black leadership across America how to stand together unified on how successful it can be in getting Black businesses huge lumps of their share of America’s economic pie. The thousands of great jobs Black-owned businesses could have produced and thereby created beautiful and stable Black neighborhoods and predominantly Black attended schools! Imagine that!
As one brother pointed out in a TV news interview, “It’s a damn shame that you can buy a six-pack of beer or a pack of cigarettes, but you can’t buy a head of lettuce or an apple!” Chew on that for a minute, and reflect on how many years you’ve witnessed this fact in most of our hoods? And the doggone CBC keeps reminding us of all that stuff they’ve gone through during the 1960s civil rights movement on trying to remind us of how Black they are. Please tell them that ain’t going to cut it cause today, we gone be like singer Janet Jackson, “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” Year after year we witnessed the massive racial disparities between Blacks and whites and this COVID-19 thing has really shined a spotlight on how the national Black leadership in Congress has been MIA for decades! Let’s face it, it’s time for some new younger Black blood. And thankfully, there appears to be some youthful energy on the horizon like Jamaal Bowman of New York and Cameron Webb a physician in the state of Virginia. Add them to newcomers Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar, we might have a fighting chance. I’m sorry, but after seeing members like Bobby Rush, Maxine Waters, John Lewis, and some others, I’m more convinced that the CBC is long overdue for an overhaul. It’s time to say “thank you for your many years of service, here’s your retirement honor pin;” our future must be refueled!
And they should want to move out of the way as well and stop thinking no one else can get the job done except them. As for me, I’m putting a lot of my hopes in the new Black Business Empowerment Commission (BBEC). In fact, they’ve just launched a website to get more info on them at bbecommission.org. As a Malcolmite, much like the awesome former NFL Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, we are persons who largely have been influenced by the spirit of Brother Malcolm X. It’s wonderful to finally see that spirit moving throughout the globe today. Everyone is taking a knee! Just think, the next thing you know even the CBC will be saying, “Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.” Malcolm X.
Until then The Struggle Continues…
Thomas Muhammad is Chairman of the National Black United Front (NBUF)-Dallas Texas Chapter