Archive for Black

The Economics of Race in America

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Guest Columnists with tags , , , , , , , on August 5, 2013 by Gary Johnson

William Reed

By William Reed

If we talk about what ails us that will make it better. When will Black Americans stop getting short shrift? Here lately the Supreme Court’s invalidation of valuable parts of the Voting Rights Act, to which  Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called “a central pillar of the civil rights laws that helped bring America’s ideals closer to reality for all” … and “feared the ruling would jeopardize the rights of racial minorities.”

“Black life is valued less than White life” and has become a familiar activist chant. From the very beginning, there was no more powerful theme in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin than the issue of race. Now, the national conversation is about “race in America.”  What we really need across America is “a conversation on race” that helps Blacks to rearrange some priorities.

As President Barack Obama said after the Zimmerman verdict “we should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our communities. What Americans need are a series of race dialogues toward garnering ongoing commitments to combat prejudice and strengthening understanding among all.”

Republican Sen. John McCain should be recognized as an ally saying America has “a long way to go” before racial disparities end. The senior senator from Arizona said that Obama’s impromptu speech about being a Black in America, “…proved there needs to be more conversation about the issue of race. We cannot become complacent when we still have a dramatic disparity in Black youth unemployment,” said McCain.

It wouldn’t be as ironic as some Blacks think that Republicans follow McCain’s lead to bring about a conversation on race in America. Race and racism are the most challenging issues confronting America.  Yet, polite society refuses to discuss it. Racial inequality in the United State underlies a wide range of societal issues that affect different groups disproportionately. The total wealth gap between White and African-American families increased from $85,000 in 1984 to $236,500 in 2009.  The biggest drivers of the racial wealth gap are: years of home ownership; household income; employment; inheritance; financial support from families or friends; and pre-existing family wealth. Whites have 22 times more wealth than Blacks.

The story of race in America has been at the center of some of our greatest national traumas, as well as serving as the yardstick by which progress toward a more equal and fair society is measured. It’s apparent both from the varied reactions to Obama’s presidency and events beyond it, that race still serves as a critical stumbling block in American society.

Times of challenge provide the opportunity to create change.  There has never been a better time to re-examine and correct racial inequalities in American society. Instead of allowing the taboo on the subject to continue, the nation needs to start an honest discussion about race. We all need to pay more attention to the growing wealth inequality and expanding racial wealth. There needs to be some systematic, organizational commitment to making policy that helps Blacks to gain grants, and investment in our communities and businesses.  Let no one tell you “all is equal” with demonstrated disparities in health care, education, housing and criminal justice continuing.

Don’t let the “talking heads” that regularly represent the country’s wealth interest to have you believe “all things are equal.” White Americans have continued to enjoy material advantages based on past racially exclusionary practices and current institutionalized discrimination. However, this long history of racism has created social costs in terms of social instability and loss of economic productivity. African Americans bear costs of low self-esteem, high unemployment, low socioeconomic status, and limited opportunities.

As we march from one unemployment line to another, don’t let American politicians and media weasel out on this one. A dialogue on the role race currently plays in the economy from the workplace to the criminal justice system is needed. Politicians should be encouraged to expedite a series of conversations on race across the country.

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via the

The Bridge: Gays, Fear & Ignorance

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Health & Fitness, Women's Interests with tags , , on May 29, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

Gays, just like any other group of people taunted by bigots, have always found a modicum of comfort and relative acceptance in the Black community.

While there are hateful people in the Black community, Blacks haven’t been running out to form angry mobs to chase down gay people and harm or kill them.

Even some of the most religious African Americans who are opposed to homosexuality as a lifestyle have gay friends.  And one has only to take a cursory look at the Black church to see that there is a strong gay presence, particularly in the choirs. There is a wink and a nod when the preacher speaks fire and brimstone against homosexuality, because there is rarely a hateful word against the homosexuals themselves as individuals.

When a Black person says “I don’t hate gay people, I have gay friends,” it’s not the same as a racist claiming the one token Black to deny his/her hatred of Blacks. Most African Americans actually do have gay friends and gay family members. And they would protect those loved ones with tooth and nail.

But that has little to do with gay politics, including the gay marriage movement.

While some African Americans are staunchly against gay marriage, many, like myself, simply don’t care.

I don’t care who marries whom.

But I do care that you pretend it is the same as slavery.

Damn you for that.

Blacks who oppose gay marriage are neither hateful nor ignorant and every time a gay person speaks such stupidity, such tactical hatred, there is far less tolerance and far less openness to gay politics.

I don’t know why the Gay Mafia (GLAAD) pretends not to understand this.

Their politics get so much blowback because they keep trying to force people to embrace politics and beliefs that are counter to the core beliefs of many African Americans, which is neither anti-gay, gay hatred nor ignorance. But if they keep up their gangster tactics, they will find more opposition to more of their positions.

For example, I was once friendly to gays and the gay rights movement, but now I’m angry. I am no longer friendly to their politics.

Do I hate gays?

No, but I hate people who claim that I do.

Do I condone violence against gays?

Hell no! But I want to beat the hell out of people who pretend that somehow, opposition to their politics is equivalent to hatred of the people.

I have loved ones who have lifestyles which could be defined as gay. But none of them has ever come up to me to tell me that they are gay or to discuss what they do as gay people. They simply live their lives as good, loving human beings, just as I do.

Honestly, for some, it’s not as simple as fear or ignorance.

For some, there is no opposition to or hatred of gay people.

And honestly, there is no real difficulty with gay rights.

The problem, which the Gay Mafia does not want to admit, is that some people are offended by the gangster politics of the movement and its supporters. We are told: “Support gay marriage or you hate gays. Support gay marriage or you are ignorant.”

How about this: Some of us just don’t care.

But when we see the gay marriage movement compared to slavery and when we see gays demand that Blacks support them (based on what?), and when we see that the gay community has no concern for the racism it seeps out, then we either say: “I don’t care, or I stand against your movement because your politics deeply offend me.”

I don’t hate gay people. I have no fear of gays or the gay lifestyle.

I am not anti-gay. I’m too busy being pro-me.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles in 2001 and will become a feature film in 2012. View previous installments of this column at Reach James at

%d bloggers like this: