Have you ever noticed how whenever there's a social protest in the African American community—like the marches for Trayvon Martin—a small but vocal group of African American conservatives will try to tear it down?
Here's a typical example.
Former NAACP leader C.L. Bryant is accusing Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton of “exploiting” the Trayvon Martin tragedy to “racially divide this country.”
The conservative black pastor who was once the chapter president of the Garland, Texas NAACP called Jackson and Sharpton “race hustlers” and said they are “acting as though they are buzzards circling the carcass of this young boy.
Bryant goes on to argue his ire with Sharpton and Jackson
But Bryant, who explores the topic of black-on-black crime in his new film “Runaway Slave,” said people like Jackson and Sharpton are being misleading to suggest there is an epidemic of “white men killing black young men.”
“The epidemic is truly black on black crime,” Bryant said. “The greatest danger to the lives of young black men are young black men.”
Bryant said he wishes civil rights leaders were protesting those problems
Also typical is how the Media—baffled to discover African Americans aren't the political monolith it likes to portray—will highlight and feature it as if its "BREAKING NEWS!" with something like CNN's Erin Burnett Out Front, Roland Martin debates C.L. Bryant. Also typical is how the black conservative will justify himself with his "black folks should be doing what I think they should" counterpoint and the non-conservative debases the conservative for being irrelevant, ineffectual or worst an Uncle Tom.
These this vs. that debates with in the African American community are as old as the hills; W. E. B. Du Bois vs Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvy, Malcolm X vs Martin Luther King Jr., Tavis Smily and Cornell West vs. Barack Obama and a testament to how long these rifts within the African American community have been going on. All in all I personally believe these so called rifts are moot in the long run because it is not a zero-sum game—where one person's or group's ideological gain is of necessity another's ideological loss.
It always puzzles me when I hear Black Conservatives and other African Americans argue their zero-sum games under the myth that liberation of the entire community is at jeopardy because Sharpton or Jackson has gotten involved in a social protest of some kind. They argue that something other than what they're doing should be done as if they have some kind of divine third eye of mystic wisdom about what the black community should be doing. For instance C. L. Bryant and others erroneously suggests that no one is paying attention to black on black violence.
“Why not be angry about the wholesale murder that goes on in the streets of Newark and Chicago?” he asked. “Why isn’t somebody angry about that six-year-old girl who was killed on her steps last weekend in a cross fire when two gang members in Chicago start shooting at each other? Why is there no outrage about that?”
Well here's news for C. L. Bryant and other Trayvon Martin anti-agitation naysayers who thinks not enough is being done about black-on-black violence there an organization in Chicago called CeaseFire which is having an effect on black-on-black and brown-on-brown violence. "Since the founding of the organization in 2000, the murder rate in Chicago has dropped from 628 that year to 435 in 2010 — the lowest it has been in 45 years." Not knowing this or having these fact at their fingertips makes me wonder if they really care as much about the issue as they claim. The award winning documentary The Interrupters (2011) is based on their work and was also broadcasted as The Interrupters | FRONTLINE | PBS
Directed by Steve James. Produced by Alex Kotlowitz and Steve James.
It further demonstrates to me that their zero-sum game based critiques are fundamentally flawed and the African American community can walk and chew gum at the same time. I wish anti-activism black conservatives would just "shut the front door," stop trashing what Sharpton or Jackson are doing. It's silly and pointless
- Striving for liberation does not requre competition.
- Boosting others actually helps us all, in the long run.
- Envy of others’ success and trying to tear others down helps NO ONE.
- It's not a zero-sum game.
Like black Conservatism, political and social agitation is part of our heritage too.
“Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” ― Frederick Douglass