Blacks in Detroit like Blacks throughout the country are facing challenging problems that are not being challenged through creative and strategic thinking and action. If you list the problems on the left side of a page and the solutions on the right side of the page, there would be more problems than solutions. When a solution is proposed, it amounts to knocking on the wrong doors, talking to the wrong people and raising the wrong questions.
Carol Banks who is running against State Representative and Anti-Charter School Hater Bettie Cook Scott in District 3.
We know that Detroit is on the verge of a leadership change and we are proud that our sisters are leading the way.
Carol Banks who is running against State Representative and Anti-Charter School Hater Bettie Cook Scott in District 3.
Grassroots and family powerhouse Sheila Dapremont who is running against Ajene Evans and Fred Durhal in District 6.
What about how 16 other people are running against family and educational advocate Carol Weaver in District 7.
We also know how Denise Monroe Hearn in District 12 is running for state representative in Detroit. We cannot forget Monique Baker McCormick who is running for Wayne County Commissioner in District 7 against parasite Commissioner Burton Leland (who do not even live in Detroit so why are people STILL voting for him)?
But the leadership is still inept and still based on racist hatred in our city. We are still looking at race not the content of a person's character. We still preach Black Cultural Nationalism and Black Theology but never Pan Africanism that leads to Christ Consciousness from a free market perspective. Most Africans who I speak to do not even acknowledge Black Theology, however, you will have Black Nationalists in this city that will try to connect African Theology with Black Theology and there is no connection whatsoever no matter how hard they try. Almost all of the Africans people I have known for years or met recently are Catholics, Lutherans, Seventh Day Adventists, or Methodists. Most Nigerians in the City of Detroit go to Redeemed Church of Christ (which is international). Others are Muslims. NONE are Black Theologists. I just love how street scholars as well as race and poverty pimps in Detroit try to interpret things to fit their inaccurate position on social justice, politics and even Jesus Christ when they should be trying to build wealth, build a REAL family and live righteously without blaming other races who are prospering. If race pimps had any sense they would put down the book Powernomics and pick up some real free market economic works that is not based on race but based on power.
I, do not subscribe to a single leadership concept in the City of Detroit. I am a strong proponent of “collective leadership” with an emphasis on gender balance, that is to say we need many women and men involved in providing leadership. In addition, as a matter of principle, as Black people we must insist that Black leaders collaborate with each other as opposed to competing with each other. We must also place a primary emphasis on “operational unity,” the search for common ground solutions, joint work and specialization and division of labor between various organizations and leaders to maximize the utilization of community resources.
Let me be clear that I am not an advocate for cultural or Black Nationalism for that I hate seeing our people in Detroit have a poverty-stricken mentality. Not to mention that this form of thinking panders to hate and anger. If I am going to promote anything it will be from a Pan-African free market perspective that is not dealing with victimization but spiritual prosperity that will translate into wealth creation. When I say Pan-African I am not talking about the theory of old. I am talking about global educational thinking from a 21st century perspective. When I talk about Black Power in Detroit I am not talking about the failed liberal policies that have kept Blacks enslaved for decades. I am talking about developing a Black Power movement based on God, liberty and the pursuit of happiness through capitalism. If we are going to push anything in Detroit we need to push for economic justice first before social justice.
For example, people of African descent make up a majority of the planet. Blacks here in America have access to free public education and technology in the world. Yet, our educational and community values are obsolete. Black men, desperate to find themselves spiritually in America, verbally embrace African values but many are not willing to sacrifice academically like others across the diaspora to succeed against all odds. Our fallback in Detroit is always what the White supremacist system has done to Blacks.
One person had the audacity to even go as far as telling me that White people are our oppressors in Detroit and across America. Yes, anyone can oppress you if you let them. We do not have affirmative action in Michigan, yet, we are still working and for those who choose to, still elevating our minds to higher degrees. So how come we have groups still stirring the pot of hatred?
African immigrants in general have the highest educational attainment of any immigrant group in the United States, with higher levels of completed education than Asian Americans, who have been stereotyped as a model minority. It is not only the first generation that performs well, as estimates indicate that a disproportionate percentage of black students at elite universities are immigrants or children of immigrants. Harvard University, for example, has estimated that more than one-third of its black student body consists of recent African immigrants or their children, or were mixed race. Other top universities, such as Yale, Princeton, Penn, Columbia, Duke and Berkeley, report a similar pattern.
A growing number of Nigerian Americans are affluent and well educated. Many possess college degrees and have graduated with advanced diplomas in engineering, law, business and medicine from top institutions like Harvard, Yale, Cornell, University of Pennsylvania, MIT, Stanford, Columbia University, UC Berkeley, University of Virginia among others. Today most affluent Nigerians are concentrated in the field of medicine; however, many are employed in Fortune 500 companies or are self-made entrepreneurs and many are American university professors.
Now, these Nigerians come over and raise their children to the best of their ability. Keep in mind the British colonized Nigeria up until 1960. They (including my own family) have felt the degrees of oppression from Whites. Yet, most Nigerians who are focused on family, education and wealth prosper more than those who are born here.
When I became an urban conservative I begin to see how Black Cultural Nationalism was hindering my progress as a Black man. It kept me dependent on others instead of actually embracing a vehicle that I can call my own to become free from the traps of dependency. When I look at a Nigerian or Jamaican in the Diaspora and see how they have prospered and have a strong family and then look at Blacks born here in America I see a huge contrast. I support ANY and ALL Black families in Detroit who are married or at least dating because it's rare in our community to date, marry or even stay friends for a long time. However, I stopped looking at the Black American dating system in our community a long time ago. I realized that too many of us are angry, scared, put more on the other partner or all of the above. I started paying more attention to how men and women carry themselves across the Diaspora and how they take the family as a first priority. To me that is real leadership.
You have to think out the box if you are going to become successful in leadership in Detroit. That is the main problem. Blacks, who make up 90% of our city's population, are comfortable with anger through philosophies that are designed to keep segregation going as well as calling each other Negroes and Uncle Toms while no other race of people conduct themselves in such a low and immoral behavior. Meanwhile, gasoline prices are high and inner-city people are still living paycheck to paycheck trying to survive. Were we really born to live in poverty or do we really come from a lineage of wealth and prosperity?
Leadership reflects action. We are the leaders that we have been looking for because each and every one in our community possesses experiences, skills, talents, energy and resources that can be useful in the struggle for economic justice and spiritual change. We must stop looking for and depending on the “leader” outside of ourselves and harness the potential for leadership inside ourselves. Each morning when you rise and look in the mirror, you should remind yourself that you are the leader we’ve been looking for. This is why I hope you vote for the ladies that I mentioned earlier in this article because each one possess a unique quality to leadership.
Going back to the Nigerians and other brothers and sisters from the Diaspora I often talk with them in terms of education, economics and family. They do not stay mad at White folks and many do not even embrace Black Cultural Nationalism, Black Theology or Kwanzaa in many cases. They are serious about economics to support their families and education to compete in a 21st century global market without the social power or embracing failed policies that hinder progress.
In fact, African immigrants to the United States are more likely to be college educated than any other immigrant group. African immigrants to the U.S. are also more highly educated than any other native-born ethnic group including white Americans. Some 48.9 percent of all African immigrants hold a college diploma. This is slightly more than the percentage of Asian immigrants to the U.S., nearly double the rate of native-born white Americans, and nearly four times the rate of native-born African Americans. So why would I teach our children that Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics is a role model when we have so many role models from Africa?
In 2007, 19.4 percent of all adult African immigrants in the United States held a graduate degree, compared to 8.1 percent of adult whites and 3.8 percent of adult blacks in the United States, respectively. When we look at the rest of the Diaspora with Jamaicans, Kenyans and others who take education, family and economics seriously why should we waste our time trying to find leaders that make us feel good when we can build a totally different reality in our city?
The number of African-born people in Michigan nearly doubled to an estimated 30,898 by 2005, according to the U.S. Census. Of the state's African-born residents in 2005, 5,631 lived in Wayne County and 3,054 lived in Oakland County. Yet, we do not reach out to them. In the political realm, urban conservatives could help by demonstrating how free market values can help build a better vision for both Africans born here in Detroit and abroad. For those who have the money Nigerians often send their children BACK HOME because of the horrific Detroit Public Schools. This is where charter schools can step up to bat instead of using their schools as welfare reform institutions (begging for students every count day for state aid money). An international charter school with a focus on the African Diaspora is necessary to build economic development in our city and regionally. Because Africa is an emerging market (China has caught on to this) we need to invest in places like Nigeria, Cameroon and South Africa.
The single most important attribute of leadership is vision, the willingness and capacity to dream about what the future can be and formulate ideas about how to inspire others to work with you to make the vision/dream a reality. Black people are suffering in Detroit over from the lack of visionary leadership. Dr. Connie Calloway, just like many before her, has successfully terminated the Detroit Public Schools. I find it interesting that not one Nigerian, Ghanaian or Senegalese individual has been chosen to RUN the Detroit Public Schools based on an educational model that actually works. Not one DPS school is considered an International Baccalaureate school. Not one DPS school is a real international academy that brings students from all over the planet to the district.
When the concept of Africa Town was on the table it was a good idea but had a horrible execution method. How can you call your business district Africa Town if you want the federal government to pay to build it 100%? What ever happened to free market economics with less government intervention and more innovation? My personal belief was that those who supported the notion of Africa Town were not interested in the African Diaspora but interested in creating a district full of Black Cultural Nationalists that would eventually did no better than the regular Black economy in Detroit. This is why we must say good-bye to Black Cultural Nationalism based on a socialist bent and say hello to Capital Power that will lead to prosperity in the Black community.
What about the area near 8 Mile and Lahser where there are many Senegalese people that own homes and have businesses? Are we reaching out to them or are ignoring them because we feel that they do not understand the "struggle and plight of Black people in Detroit?" Yet, when we have a humanitarian crisis like the one in Darfur everyone, including Blacks and White liberals from Hollywood, want to jump on the bandwagon and say how terrible it is over in Darfur. It's terrible in MANY parts of Africa just like it's terrible in many parts of Detroit. However, real leadership reach out to those who are not in a crisis but who are serious about building bridges across cultural and economic gaps that presently exists in our community.
If we are leaders in Detroit we must look deep within ourselves to discover our God given gift, talent or skill and set about the task of cultivating it in order to contribute to economic justice in some manner, large or small. To have a gift/talent by itself is not sufficient, we must also develop the knowledge and awareness about how best to utilize your talent and then have the commitment to act on your consciousness.
While we sit and protest Detroit Public Schools for overcrowded classrooms, being held hostage to a failing economy in our city the REAL leaders in our community have created recession-proof jobs to keep money coming into the homes. People from the Diaspora are not complaining about White oppression or what color is Jesus. The only color they are concerned with is green (money) through education. Whether they are Christians or Muslims the family is the driving force that are keeping them in school to better themselves and to benefit their extended family abroad. Most of the wives (almost all of the Muslim women) understand their role in the family as well as the husbands in the African Diaspora. They take child rearing serious. To me that is real leadership. Not blaming White supremacy or blaming President Bush or Republicans or conservative values (which many of our people in the Diaspora embrace). To say that African immigrants do not embrace conservative principles from a family, educational and economic perspective is completely misleading.
In the 21st century, we need to view leadership essentially as “service” – utilizing your vision, talent/skill, consciousness, commitment and tenacity to aid and assist others to improve the quality of theirs lives within the framework of the struggle for freedom from a slave mentality. We need leaders who are “servants of the people,” not self-serving egomaniacs who engage the struggle primarily for self-aggrandizement. We need leaders who are not afraid to reach out to others across the Diaspora. If African people would like to live in the suburbs to raise their families then why scrutinize them? Family, not color or the plight of Black people in Detroit, comes first when you are dealing with people from the African Diaspora.
This is why I support 21st century Pan-Africanism that is based on the conservative principles and the free market not a philosophy that is designed to keep me angry, keep me blind and keep me from reaching my full potential.