Tuesday, May 20, 2008

C.R. Nagin Boulevard?

Leigh and I have been separately reading New Orleans After the Promises by Kent B. Germany.

I picked it up again over the weekend after I published part 5 of my series on Alphonso Jackson and the sickening systemic perversion of black capitalism by New Orleans' African American political and economic elite.

I'm going to reproduce a critical paragraph that supported by a prescient cry from Oretha Castle Haley in September, 1969.

Please read the whole thing:

A more important reason for black political disunity was the way that black leaders seized and then exercised power. The rewards system of local politics encouraged a decentralized and fragmented scramble for power. Benefits went to individuals and to tightly organized groups, and the market rewarded those people who possessed the wherewithal to manipulate it. In New Orleans, the climb to power was inherently disruptive and discouraged racial solidarity. The elections of 1969 and 1970 showed that black support of black candidates was not necessary for the growth of black power. Many black leaders pursued coalitions with whites as essential political stepping-stones. Others denounced these politicians for putting their own careers above the interests of the black community. Oretha Castle Haley spoke for "black women" who were "fed up" with being second-class citizens. She demanded that the city's black male politicians "stop being puppets and tools of the white man," stop being "traitors," and "stop pimping for the man to the detrement [sic] of your women, children and community." Black leaders who coalesced with white leaders, she declared, were simply selling themselves. In a stirring call for men to "fulfill" their masculine roles, she offered them a thundring challenge: "We dare you to become men!" If they did not, then the black woman was going to stop "standing 100% behind her man" and assume "responsibility" for the salvation of the race.

In another recent post I asked if New Orleans had a 1990s. Maybe New Orleans didn't have a 1970s or 1980s either. Oretha Castle Haley could make the same statement today and it might be even more descriptive of the way a microscopic African American elite has been incorporated into a racist and classist power structure that sustains itself through endemic political and economic exclusion.

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