New Black Nationalism

Affirmative action is on life support, and Dr. Kervorkian is standing by. The impending loss is the African American community's signal to embrace Neo-Black Nationalism.This is not the nationalism of sexy revolutionaries and black-fisted sloganeers. Instead, it is a pragmatic nationalism rooted in seizing power through techniques that have proved successful for other nationalist groups in America. Groups who understood that the key is behaving like nationalists -- but never admitting it. In the absence of affirmative action, black people need to hire other qualified black people. Early in this century, the Irish and Italian Americans moved up through big city local governments and filled civil service jobs with members of their respective communities. African Americans must do the same.Many of the black people who streamed into the post offices, police departments, and DMVs during the 1970s have now moved into management -- they have moved into power. They need to create their own affirmative action by ensuring that qualified African Americans fill the vacancies. The demise of affirmative action means African Americans nationwide must embrace the concept of operational unity. Here, the black clergy must lead the way. There are religious institutions of various persuasions in almost every black neighborhood, and these churches, mosques and temples are the key to organizing the national black community. Given the mounting socioeconomic pressures confronting African Americans, religious institutions must first expand their mission to address more "secular" concerns, then be willing to become part of an umbrella organization of spiritual institutions. Not only can an expanded scope attract members at the local levels, it would also be instrumental in mobilizing nationwide voter registration and fundraising. Politicians are moved by money and votes. The religious right has already given us a blueprint for the use of power that comes from organizing at the grass roots church level.Ultimately, the loss of affirmative action must convince black men to look at black women -- and black women to look at black men -- and say, "Our future depends on each other. We've gotta work our thing out." There are simply too many black men impregnating black women and not helping them support the children, running from the responsibility of being a father and a husband. Our sons and daughters need their fathers. Our women need a mate to help them in a world that is hostile them and the children they bring into the world. Hostile toward our future. Strong, balanced families are the foundation of our neighborhoods and nationwide these foundations are crumbling. We've gotta work our thing out.It's time for black people to acknowledge that we are under attack collectively, which means we are also under attack as individuals. It's time to circle the communal wagons because the cavalry ain't coming -- affirmative action is dead.Datcher is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and co-editor of "Tough Love: The Life and Death of Tupac Shakur". This is the fifth in a series of articles on post affirmative action America. If you want us to resend any of the others in the series, please call George Gundrey at 415-243-4364.


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