Without a doubt, one of the foremost gripes that I hear from Black leaders is that their African-American constituents are increasingly becoming unwilling to blindly follow their lead. Most are angered when I sarcastically respond to their dilemma by stating, “Maybe, they don’t consider you to be their leader.”
Let’s be honest about this issue, there are quite simply too many ‘so-called’ leaders on the scene. If you have paid any attention to this issue, you will have seen Black leaders jockeying for an advantageous position that will lead to them being anointed the next leader of Black America; we must never forget the public debacle that occurred between Boyce Watkins and Umar Johnson; to be more accurate the public battles between Umar Johnson and those that have the nerve to question him about anything.
On the surface it appears that the responsibility of leading Black America would be one that any sane person would avoid, c’mon you know your people. Apparently, for those who are able to secure even a fleeting moment on the Black leadership throne the benefits are lucrative monetarily and as far as popularity goes.
One would hope that those who seek the alluded to post would be slave’s to that blessing and curse known as having a ‘servants heart’. Make no mistake about it, a figure such as Minister Louis Farrakhan has the purest of intentions when it comes to doing all that he can do to lift our people out of what could be termed a generational curse. Unfortunately in today’s competition to lead Black America, Minister Farrakhan is the exception to the rule.
As I look over the present field of contenders to the Black Leadership throne, I see a host of individuals who are totally unprepared for such heavy-lifting.
If it were not so sad and ridiculous, one could have a good laugh at today’s ‘so-called’ Black leaders who have unwittingly proven their lack of worth by starting ‘Go Fund Me’ pages to support their fanciful projects that range from the establishment of an independent nation located within the Continental United States — “building a nation within a nation, but without a nation” — through the creation of a Black boarding school that will serve as the “Black Star Line” of American education; the latter call asks for African-Americans to dump money into a project and totally ignore the fact that there are independent Black educational institutions in existence that could make great use of these hundreds of thousands of dollars that have been donated for the creation of an independent Black school.
Making matters even worse is that the vast majority of these self-appointed leaders have little real understanding of the path that our ancestors have traveled. If they had even a modicum of an understanding of the path our ancestors have traveled, they would have realized long ago that pimping one’s own people is an unforgivable sin punishable by death.
There is no doubt that the vast majority of the alluded to individuals have perfected the art of being ‘all sizzle with no steak’. Meaning that they sound great in front of audiences, however, when the emotionalism of the lecture dissipates, listeners soon realize that not only have their emotions evaporated, but also their money as the so-called leader is off to his next paid speaking engagement to entertain yet another assembly of Negroes who are desperately seeking something to believe in.
It is most certainly time for our community to divest from the charismatic leadership model and consider other methods of mobilizing our politico economic currency.
In my opinion, we should no longer follow these smooth talking Baptist preacher types or those who seek to mimic the cadence of Minister Farrakhan and turn our attention toward volunteering our services and donating any available monies to those independent Black organizations and businesses within our communities of origin. Trust me when I say that they could use your help regardless if it came in either a monetary form or manpower hours.
Once again, it is time that we abandon our well-worn pattern of following smooth, suave, and debonair racial con men and turned our attention, energies, and resources toward fortifying and creating independent Black institutions to do our bidding.
Trust me when I say, it is the only reasonable path forward.
Dr. James Thomas Jones III
©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016