By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News (Independent Business News NetworksTM)
Okay, I first have to apologize to my brothers and sisters from the East and West Coasts; especially the hard working blacks in the south. I have seen your greatness in many areas and I applaud your work ethic and ability to maintain sustainability. Let me explain, I live in Minnesota; a state with a little over 3 percent black population with some of the most severe segregation, gaps and non-equity post slavery. I know to navigate any system – you must be a problem solver and sometimes work outside of your comfort zone to bring new people in while maintaining cordial and diplomatic relationships trying not to marginalize those others on the outside looking in.
The “other” is one of the most important groups of people to collaborate both inside and out.
Would it be acceptable for a member of the NAACP or National Urban League to gloat about being a member of these organizations? My problem question begins when that individual, glorifying an organization steps out from under the masthead and delivers himself/herself to another type of public sphere. Do social cabals mean the same outside of the cabal as they do inside?
If one were to carry their stratification outside an inner circle, then it must mean they have successfully learned to navigate in multiple spheres simultaneously. Some black organizations (social cabals) have turned into a broad term to portray some aspects of the black-bourgeoisie American way of life, overall however, it is by a wide margin not that simple. The black-bourgeoisie American way consistently has been for the singular-person, or most focused on a single-type of person. This making of time stand still through drawing racial lines within black-stratification in the sand has been a part of black America’s routine since freedom began. However, history shows that over time and space the black body has been denied the basic elements of other dreams; and if to gain racial equity means to achieve an “American Dream,” then why are actions of racial politics and segregation in the black community, by black community members the norm in America?
One of the hardest conversations to have in the black community is about competence. To many of the right people are marginalized while blacks on the fringe do not bother to step in because they see a consequence that is unwarranted for the task at hand. The synthetic arrangements in the black community, some based on cabals, but most based on the white-male patriarchy and what Negro they feel comfortable with will always pick who they wish to deal with outside of a black inner circle.
Philosopher Franz Fanon contends, “I observed that I was an article amidst different articles. Fixed into that devastating object hood, I turned beseechingly to others. Their consideration was a liberation, running over my body all of a sudden rubbed into non-being, supplying me again with a nimbleness that I had thought lost, and by taking me out of the world, restoring me to it. Yet pretty much as I came to the next side, I staggered, and the developments, the demeanor, the looks of the other altered me there, in the sense in which a synthetic arrangement is settled by a color. I was rankled; I requested a clarification. Nothing happened. I blast separated. Presently the piece have been assembled again by another self” (Fanon 1).
Fanon is requesting clarity about where he fits in a society that has been racially constructed to marginalize black bodies to the point of racist assumptions. While I agree with my assessment of Fanon, I must move further into the relationships of blacks with blacks and why nothing seems to move forward outside of some inner circles.
Lets take the Minneapolis Urban League and its former president R. Scott Gray. He comes to Minneapolis by recommendation of the StairStep Foundations president Alfred Babington-Johnson (the first inner-circle). He is hired, not knowing the lay of the land; the Minneapolis Urban League is virtually ineffective – they get two Minnesota state senators to move on a bill for a 13th grade pilot program (second inner-circle) with no real foundation other than the money. Gray applies for the Bush Fellowship, receives it and resigns as president of the Minneapolis Urban League.
Of course nobody in the black community could question Gray or the MUL board chairman who did not have a conflict of interest statement signed for what OBN alleges were some questionable collaborations in profit. But the inner-circle, the all-powerful cabal of the MUL kept its secrets, to include not notifying the community on board meetings and election.
In retrospect, all these people are but dots on the end of a needle. Outside of their inner-circles, they represent what every other black body represents. It does not matter if it is suited and tied, dressed to the nines, or hanging out at the golf course. These are still black bodies inside an inner-circle that keep stratification close with nothing to show for it.
For a black person, especially in Minnesota, becoming inconsequential is something they do all by their selves. It doesn’t take much but to marginalize good black brothers and sisters and look important. But believe me when I say this; your time is done.