Jackson, Basic black nationalism for blue-eyed Democrats

Reparations for slavery and subsequent oppression is a long-running debate on which African-Americans have varying opinions. There are questions like “Who would qualify?” and “Does anyone think that a check from the government can make a person, family or nation whole for generations of chattel slavery?” There are observations about how Germany paid reparations to some of the victims of the Nazi Holocaust. 

Black nationalism for Dems with blue eyes (etc.)

by Eric L. Jackson Malo (perhaps bad by definition, but a guy with blue eyes)

Did you notice? Joe Biden won the presidency not by splitting off disaffected Republicans, but on the strength of huge African-American turnouts in key states, mostly but not entirely in the major cities.

Did you notice? Among African-American voters, and in the lineup of black elected officials, there are generational, ideological and dynastic changes underway. Yes, there are a few more black conservatives than before, as shown by Donald Trump’s slightly better among black voters showing in 2020 than in 2016. But the 2016 numbers were skewed by a low black turnout. We might argue about why that was — Democrats already — but the striking datum this year was in the turnout of younger voters and that applied across most American raicial divides

Younger African-Americans went to the polls in droves, and only some 50,000 of them were so foolish to cast ballots, listed or write-in, for Kanye West. (Perhaps the verdict on both him and Donald Trump was a watershed cultural event that sounds the death knell for “reality” TV. Perhaps among black people young and old it was a ratificaion of Barack Obama’s old verdict: “Kanye West IS a jackass….”)

Black nationalism in the USA has a long history, heroes and villains and many, many strains. but as an electoral fact, sum up a cardinal tenet as as all other things being more or less equal, most black people prefer to be governed by other black people and vote accordingly.

All things very rarely ARE equal, so notice how black Detroiters, after a series of scandals reached their nadir with the mama’s boy — who ruined his mother’s honorable and progressive career as a congresswoman — “hip hop mayor” of infamous lore, chose a white mayor. Far more recently, Michigan Republicans ran a black candidate for US Senate. Mr. James, the black Republican, might have run on a platform in many ways similar to the record in office of Mr. Peters, in most ways a stodgy corporate Democat, but Michigan’s black voters went with the white man, who notwithstanding any faults can not be said to have aligned himself with white supremacists as everyone who supported Donald Trump’s re-election did.

~ ~

African-Americans trend Democratic, but woe to the Democrat who, in office, egregiously offends the black community. If it’s someone from a majority-black constituency, look for that elected official to be ousted by a primary challenger. If it’s from a larger, mostly non-black constituency, look for black voters to abstain more than cross over to the Republicans.

An infamous example was when the big business Democratic Leadership Council sort of Democrat, Jim Blanchard, ran for re-election as Michigan’s governor. The pre-election polls suggested that he would win in a romp. But he ran ads playing “tough on crime” aimed at battleground white suburbs — the white guard standing over a young black inmate screaming abuse was the worst — and on election day on the governor’s line only some 18% of Detroiters cast ballots. He lost, his friend Bill Clinton made him ambassador to Canada, and never again was Jim Blanchard prominent on the national or Michigan Democratic stage. He sobbed and moaned about having been betrayed by black leaders.

African-American voters sometimes make mistaken choices, and sometimes stick with black leaders with egregious faults in their performance. “Better the devil we know than…” and all that stuff. Or a basic Christian sense that we are all sinners. Or a social judgment that if you are poor, or are the target of discrimination, the economic pressures to be less than pure are greater. Trump’s crowd, of course, treats it as something very else.

From these circumstances white Democrats ought to gather another basic bottom line tenet of black nationalism as practiced in the USA: African-Americans will make their choices, which others may criticize but must respect. None of this white substitution of a “responsible negro spokesman” for the black community’s choice. Don’t complain after the fact about after black voters spurn a Democratic candidate, consult and take proper account beforehand.

~ ~

Appreciate diversity and complexity. Shallow “identity politics?” Those may be effective in some constituencies, and used to be more effective in other constituencies than they are now. The thing is to talk politics that matter to people with identities, speaking honestly as who and what you are, in terms that both speaker and listener understand.

After his break with the Nation of Islam, his hajj to Mecca and his travels in Africa, Malcolm X modified and deepened his thinking about the American predicament in general and about race relations in particular. In a famous incident in Detroit, he issued a stern rebuke to a black anti-Semite. He came to opine that racism is a diseast that any person of any race or nationality can catch, and that in his time, in the USA, it was a minor problem among black people and a big problem among white people. Seems that he was both right about that and that things have not changed all that much.

Suffice to know that “people of color” is only a relevant category in terms of understanding the broad spectrum of those who are often the targets of white racism. It is not a natural community.

In Brooklyn, there are some significant cultural differences among the descendants of American slaves and the progeny of the Afro-Antilleans who built the Panama Canal — even if they are intermarried, even if they have gone to the same New York schools. Just like “Hispanic” is not so useful a political category if you try to lump Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans and Puerto Ricans as having much more in common than at some point (in some cases now) their families or lineages having varieties of the Spanish language in common.

~ ~

Democrats face an uphill double US Senate runoff that gives us a shot at taking control of the US Senate and removing the major obstruction to a successful early par of the Biden presidency. Our candidates are Rev. Warnock, the pastor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s old church and a black man, and Mr. Ossoff, a former Capitol Hill Democratic staffer and a Jew.

We should expect that Republicans will try to play off of anti-Semitism among black people to diminish Ossoff’s chances, and that they will play off of racism among Jews against Warnock. Just two items from a much larger slime bucket that they will throw at us.

So talk to people with identities that we may or may not share, about things that matter. And know that one of the identities that we do share is that fellow Americans are talking among ourselves, about the future of our country.

Lot of good armed resistance did for Malcolm. Members of the Nation of Islam with which he had broken gunned him down, and meanwhile two of his three bodyguards that day were police agents — one was FBI and the other the NYPD’s Bureau of Special Services “red squad.” Can we set aside the conspiracy theories, cutting down with Occam’s Razor to the simple appearance that violent rhetoric, not an intricate plan, set off a few violent men to do the deed? But guns are a recurring question among black nationalists — and with a wannabe black militia operating in Georgia, may again become an election factor in the coming weeks. This reporter recalls a 1970 debate between a member of the Black Panther Party and and a member of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, the latter criticizing the Panthers for their emphasis on guns and recalling what the federal troops who were sent into Detroit did after the crowds and snipers ran the police off of the streets in the 1967 rebellion. “They will crush you as if you were a tiny bug, and here you go talking about being bad.”



Contact us by email at fund4thepanamanews@gmail.com


To fend off hackers, organized trolls and other online vandalism, our website comments feature is switched off. Instead, come to our Facebook page to join in the discussion.


These links are interactive — click on the boxes