Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
So the One Percent of One Percent Who Own US Politics Include Some Black Faces. Is This A Victory For Us All?

So the One Percent of One Percent Who Own US Politics Include Some Black Faces. Is This A Victory For Us All?

 

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

 

One percent of the one percent, about 30,000 individuals account for 42% of all the contributions to political candidates in the US. In most other countries these would be bribes, but in this, the freest country in the world, wealthy have baked their right to bribe into our election law. They've even purchased a Supreme Court ruling – Citizens United – which says their unfettered right to bribe is guaranteed in the Constitution.

 

While America's corporate elite is disproportionately white, nobody I know considers this a victory for white people. So why then, do many African descended Americans insist on celebrating black members of this one percent of one percent as persons worthy of respect and admiration on the part of the rest of us?

 

Former NBA superstar Earvin “Magic” Johnson is a case in point. With business interests all over the country, Magic dropped a quarter million dollar campaign donation on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and flew to Chicago to get his picture taken with the mayor on the eve of the elction. Magic's payback was an $80 million dollar contract managing privatized custodial services in Chicago's Public Schools, under which he pays those custodial employees, many of them African American far, far less than they once made as direct employees of the public school system.

 

This doesn't make Johnson unique. It makes him one of the gang, a very privileged gang indeed. A recent study by the Sunlight Foundation revealed that corporations get about $760 back from federal, state and local governments for every buck they donate to politicians of the two capitalist parties. The nation's top 200 campaign donors gave $5.8 billion to political campaigns, and got back $4.4 trillion – that's trillion with a T in return between 2007 and 2012. In perspective, during the same period 50 million Americans on social security got only $4.3 trillion. It's all perfectly legal, and in the eyes of some of our black pundit class, admirable, when the recipients are folks like Magic Johnson.

 

Junior Bridgman, another former NBA superstar owns hundreds of Wendys and Applebees franchises, and pays millions every year to lobby state and federal government to keep the wages of his workers nice and low, seven bucks and change for the fast food sector and two dollars and change for the restaurants. Is he an inspiration to young blacks or a scourge on black families?

 

How should we regard the black faces among the one percent of one percent? Are they smart and savvy business people, examples of real black power? Or are they well connected, despicable thieves stealing from the rest of us?

 

It's a question we should ask ourselves more often.

 

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

 

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and serves on the state committee of the GA Green Party. Contact him at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
Direct download: 20150422-bd-one-percent-blacks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:59pm EDT

We Charge Genocide: 1.5 Million Black Men “Missing”We Charge Genocide: 1.5 Million Black Men “Missing”

We Charge Genocide: 1.5 Million Black Men “Missing”

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

There are more Black men missing from their communities than the combined Black male populations of Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Houston, Washington and Boston.”

A new analysis of population data confirms what has long been obvious to every minimally conscious Black person in the United States: a huge proportion of the Black male population is missing, physically absent from the daily life of the community. Many are prematurely dead, but the largest group has been consigned to the social death of incarceration. According to a study by the Upshot unit of the New York Times, when prison inmates of both sexes are taken out of the equation, there are now 1.5 million more Black women in the country, age 25 to 54, than there are Black men. In some locations – for example, Ferguson, Missouri – there are only six Black men physically present in the community for every ten Black women.

In white America, there is almost no imbalance in gender among the 25 to 54 age group. For every 100 white women, there are 99 white men.

There are more Black men missing from their communities than the combined Black male populations of Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Houston, Washington and Boston. Six hundred thousand of them are in prison, and that’s not counting Black male prison inmates that are younger than 25 and older than 54. The analysts estimate that roughly half, and maybe as many as three-quarters, of the other 900,000 missing Black men have died before their time from diseases and accidents, and that 200,000 are no longer here due to homicide.

The war of attrition is a race war.”

Black life in America does not start out with these bizarre imbalances between the sexes. There is no gender gap among Blacks in childhood. Roughly the same number of boys and girls are born, and the ratio stays stable until the teenage years, when the war of attrition begins mercilessly grinding down the numbers of Black males. How else is this phenomenon to be described except as a war, in which 600,000 are held captive during their most productive years, 200,000 are killed by violence, and most of the rest go to early graves from accidents and diseases that cause far lower casualties among whites.

The data show that U.S. society has become much more toxic for Black men during the very period in which Blacks were supposedly making such fantastic “progress.” The numbers show that the missing-Black-men phenomenon “began growing in the middle decades of the 20th century.” The increasing ratio of Black women to men is primarily a product of the age of mass Black incarceration. The war of attrition is a race war deliberately and methodically initiated by the U.S. government, the effects of which have been devastating to Black society on the most fundamental level: stunting the formation of Black families and the Black American group as a whole by physically removing and eliminating the men.

The data support a totally plausible, factually grounded charge of genocide, based on international law. The U.S. government, through its mass Black incarceration policies of the last half century, has been guilty of a) “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part,” as well as b) “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group.”

The facts bear witness to the indictment. So do 1.5 million missing Black men.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
Direct download: 20150422_gf_MissingBlackMen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:14am EDT