Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Just How Does "Black America" Think?

When I read the following commentary by Eugene Robinson I was reminded of a conversation that I had nearly 20 years ago.

At that time I was an assistant location manager for a well-known car rental company. Several of us were discussing our musical interests and I mentioned that I had just purchased Sting's album ( yes there were albums then - lol ) "Nothing Like the Sun". My general manager expressed great surprise that I ( an african-american female college graduate ) would like the music of Sting and his earlier band The Police.

Gee, haven't we come a long way in twenty years :-)


an excerpt from:

Eugene Robinson - Which Black America? - washingtonpost.com

Tuesday, October 9, 2007; Page A17

What do Fox News polemicist Bill O'Reilly, nappy-headed radio jock Don Imus, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, the leading Republican presidential candidates, the National Urban League, the NAACP and much of the national media have in common?

They don't see, or don't want to admit, that "black America" is an increasingly meaningless concept -- nearly as imprecise as just plain "America."

Why is O'Reilly under siege? Because he was shocked to learn that there exists in this country an upscale black-owned restaurant with an affluent African American clientele. Four or five decades ago, you could reasonably generalize that "black America" was poor. Today, African Americans control nearly $800 billion in annual purchasing power -- enough to dine occasionally at restaurants that have tablecloths.

Why did Imus get fired by CBS and NBC? Because now there are senior black professionals in both of those companies with the clout to march into top executives' offices and argue that Imus had to go. Also because Al Roker, an African American who happens to be one of the stars of "Today" -- often described as the most profitable show in all of television -- called publicly for Imus's head, or at least his cowboy hat.

Why does Thomas, in his pugnacious autobiography, insist that he's being persecuted for holding views that are somehow off-limits to black Americans? Apparently, it would destroy his sense of his own exceptionalism to acknowledge the many African Americans who share his conservative social views and his ethic of personal responsibility and self-help. (He's right, though, that on the subject of affirmative action, most black Americans do think he's nuts.) Why do the leading Republican candidates simply write off the African American vote, even though there's clearly a growing number of black voters who demographically fit the Republican profile? Hasn't the GOP noticed that here in the Washington area -- we're in the vanguard, but other cities are following our lead -- more African Americans live in the suburbs than in the city proper?

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