Sunday, February 15, 2009

Time for Positive Messages

Shawn Williams wrote a fine essay, "A Lesson from Black Immigrants," in the Sunday January 4, 2009 Dallas Morning News. He wrote:

"Black immigrants – whether from the continent of Africa or the islands of the Caribbean – come to this country facing most of the same challenges and barriers that confront multi-generational black Americans; they have just done a better job of rising above them."

"As African-Americans, we have to take the shackles off our children's imaginations. We have to stop telling them what America won't let them grow to be and instead encourage them to go out make their dreams come true."

Some elements of the Hispanic community try to copy the old-fashioned negative attitudes of some old-style African-American politicians. But the old-fashioned attitude of constantly throwing the race card into the political game is being abandoned by the new generation of African-American politicians.

The New York Times Magazine, August 10, 2008, ran a fine article, "Is Obama the End of Black Politics?" by Matt Bai. The article quoted Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts saying, "I don't have to be the black oracle. All I have to be is as good a human being and as good a governor as I can." (Page 55) Cory Booker, the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, said, "I don't want to be the person that's turned to when CNN talks about black leaders." He said, "I want people to talk to me about nonproliferation. I want them to run to me to speak about the situation in the Middle East."

I highly recommend the film, Street Fight, about Cory Booker's run for Mayor. You can see he was right in the middle of African American politics. He had to put up with Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton coming to Newark to campaign for James Sharpe, who eventually went to prison for corruption.

The African American community is beginning to move beyond race-based politics. The Hispanic community needs to do like-wise and resist the easy and shabby tactic of calling everyone racist who opposes them politically.

Robert Canright

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