Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Head Negro In Charge Syndrome .
I happened upon this book at City Lights Bookstore in North Beach. It's one of the older bookstore in the City known for its' connection to the Beat Movement. I started reading Kelley's book and to my surprise and delight he was trashing everyone the Republicans, Democrats, the intelligentsia, who criticizes Bell Hooks, Cornell West and Skip Gates? His commentary is about the lack of effective policies, and ideas that affect poor/working class Blacks, from Black leadership since the Civil Rights movement. Black leaders have become an ineffective elite who participates primarily in symbolism. An example might be the fights over the removal of Confederate State Flags. While these flags should be removed, their removal doesn't economically affect African American lives or improve educational opportunities. These type of issues get a lot of press create much discussion but benefit Black America in a symbolic manner. Another issue emphasized in the book is the promotion of individuals like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton as pseudo leaders whom he describes as opportunistic individuals who are not accountable to the Black community. They aren't elected where is the mechanism for accountability?
When I saw Al Sharpton standing next to Kerry at the end Democratic Convention I had this strange feeling that this act was to please me. But I didn't vote for Sharpton or even know anyone who did. And except for his stands against New York Police violence I don't see him as a leader. Kelley states Sharpton role is to help bring Black votes the Democratic Party, a party that continually ignores African-American issues after the votes come in. The most disturbing part of his analysis is how these weaknesses have allowed the Right, intellectuals, Republicans politicians and political organizations to set the agenda for ideas and policies. I'm covering just a few issues in the book. Read Kelley's book and think about his points and recommendations, I wish there was more discussion about his book. Are black intellectuals only producing Afro-kitsch? Are Black political leaders out of touch with their constituency?
Is the left intellectually bankrupt? Is Ward Connelly more effective than Al Sharpton if so why??