This is my first article as a member of 12 Voices. But it will not be my final thoughts on the Black political apparatus in my corrupt town. I’m coming hard at an industry that I totally despise. Granted, I’m sure that elected officials dislike media. Some probably have a disdain for my work, personally. I don’t blame them!
Therefore, be compassionate about why I feel the way I do. Politics is a necessary evil, and unfortunately, Black folks have come out on the worst side of this corrupt horror story. Why? Because of current and past politicians who’ve failed miserably in delivering Black folks to the promised land.
Do Not Blame White Boys: Not Exactly is the title of this article. If you’ve lived long enough and have watched the visible disrespect of Black people, then you know that (some) Whites have staked bets solely on themselves. We have grown to expect that of them. And most understand their political game plan. They take care of their own at all cost and are unapologetic. I respect them politically for being loyal and committed to their racial group.
My problem is with Black elected officials who seem to have absolutely no loyalty or commitment to anything Black. These are elected officials who probably have the chance to help their communities, but don’t. And they rarely fight with any sense of urgency or diligence for Black causes. It’s almost like they can take it or leave it. And most have left it on the table for others to feed their communities and families.
This is why Chicago has the highest Black unemployment because there are no Black enterprises being built to hire their own community. We have situations like what was highlighted in the health industry recently in Cook County, where Blacks got nearly zero contracts to provide goods and services to the county health system. And city contracts are nearly nonexistent and Illinois has also been negligent in their obligation to assist underserved communities to win or even bid on multimillion-dollar contracts.
The lack of professional opportunities falls squarely on the doorsteps of Black elected operatives who refuse to risk their political careers to fight on behalf of Black progress. What’s absolutely sickening is that Chicago, as well as Illinois, for that matter, has several dozen Black elected officials holding powerful, political posts. They sit on commissions or advisory boards, councils or whatever you call these feel-good appointments. But the Black business community is still suffering from the lack of contracts, and in some cases, there are no contracts being awarded at all to Blacks.
Do Black elected officials want their communities to starve? And let me express that this is not about good people who hold these political positions. Because I personally know a handful of Black elected officials who are fantastic individuals, whom I would invite to my home and allow to spend time with my kid. But this is not about good people, it’s about great policy, and responsible procedures that assist in Black folks getting fair and equal opportunities in government to advance their careers and businesses.
These are the people who we vote for. When we vote for elected officials, we expect them to operate in the best interest of the communities that they’ve sworn to represent. And let us go to the premise that most politicians use to defend their horrible positions. They say that Black people don’t vote! Really, then ask the ones who are currently sitting in seats of political power–how did they get there? They didn’t fill out applications and wait for an employer to hire them! They didn’t win their seat through a raffle. People voted for them to hold public office!
I would agree, it’s unfortunate that more people don’t participate in the electoral process – Black or others. But incumbents are happy because most would not retain their positions if more people voted. Black people vote! The problem is that they continue to vote for the wrong person. Therefore, to keep saying that communities of color don’t vote is beside the point. The issue is, are elected officials in our community doing their jobs? Are you really asking for more people to vote before you’ll help the people who did vote for you?
I have become distraught about my elected officials, today. Especially when I see nonblacks working throughout my hood on simple projects like putting white lines on the street after new pavement has been laid. This is disgusting! You’re telling me that Black men can’t even draw crooked lines on the concrete? Each Black elected official should be extremely embarrassed to know that they reside in communities that see Black men unemployed–not able to feed their families!
The White boys may be not be endorsing Blacks to sit at the table of negotiation, but clearly, Black people are not even asking their own communities to come sit at the table when there is a seat actively available. I’m so mad that it hurts to even see Black politicians in most cases. Again, I really like some of them, personally, but professionally, I’m sick!
Carl D. West is the CEO/Publisher of TBTNews and founder of the TRUTH 4 Literacy Foundation, Leadership Luncheon, Legend and Pioneer Awards, all powered by Midwest Gap Enterprise.