Age Of The Oreo

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The curious case of Ray Nagin says it all. Here’s a politician who had specifically failed the African-American community in New Orleans during its most urgent moment of need, in the desperate days after Hurricane Katrina. Yet, he was able to win re-election with the help of absentee Black voters bussed back to the once predominantly Black city just for the occasion. Blacks blessed him with 80% of their support, even though there’s absolutely no reason to believe that the business interests he is beholden to will ever welcome the thousands of suddenly homeless and seemingly permantly displaced back to The Big Easy again.

Nagin is not the only African-American leader whose loyalties have to be questioned. There appears to be an explosion of Blacks willing to leverage their skin color in a campaign only to turn around and do the bidding of big business once settled in office. For instance, Congressman Harold Ford (D-TN), has recently been indicted as the “Black Point Man for the Right� by The Black Commentator Magazine.

Ford, who is currently running for the Senate seat about to be vacated by Majority Leader Bill Frist, delivered the inspirational keynote speech at the 2000 Democratic convention designed to get out the Black vote. At the time, he was dubbed the future of the Party in much the same way that Barack Obama was positioned as the up and coming Black Messiah just four years later.

While most folks may only think of Republicans like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as the only prominent Uncle Toms who have forgotten where they came from, truth be told, the majority of African-American elected officials no longer operate with the best interests of Black people in mind.

According to the aforementioned Black Commentator article, only 18 of the 43 members of the Congressional Black Caucus can be considered proponents of the progressive ideals embraced by those who put them into office. This means that most representatives of predominantly African-American districts now answer to the corporate interests which funded their campaigns. This helps explain why unions, Social Security, and even the right to vote itself are endangered species and may soon go the way of the dinosaur.

This makes the sage observation of Malcolm X as relevant as ever that 20th, now 21st Century slavemasters, by design, are inclined to rely on Uncle Toms as opiates of the African-American masses. Thus, the message is clear. If Black people are to survive what’s shaping up to be a very challenging 21st Century in this country, then it’s time to hold politicians accountable for far more than their skin color and party affiliation.

Black Star columnist Kam  Williams is an attorney and a member of the bar in NJ, NY, CT, PA, MA & US Supreme Court bars.

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