What is the Black Agenda?

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William Rasberry of the New York times asked the question, "What is the Black Agenda?" in one of his recent columns. He suggest that most of the items on the black "agenda" has been completed and now there is no such thing as a black aganda, ;egislative or otherwise. What are your thoughts? Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, February 18, 2001


As an African American mother of two sons, my AGENDA is to raise my children in the fear of God and to teach them to treat others as they would have them to treat them, with respect. My agenda is to show my children the importance of their dollars and how they should be recirculated within the black community. You see I think that the "Black Agenda" should start in every African American home. Every mother and/or father must try to instill in their child(ren) love, respect and must set an example for their children through their actions. My husband and I extend love to each other and to our children. Our children are well aware of the love and respect that their parents feel for each other and for them.

As for William Rasberry, he should have watched the Forum that was put on in Washington DC by Tavis Smiley a couple of weeks ago. I'm sure CSPAN will rebroadcast it. Some of the panelists think that the "Black Agenda" is the preservation of our youth and the availibility of opportunity for them. I agree and would like to know what your Church is doing to prepare for the mass of African American youth that will be out of school this summer and looking for something to do.

-- Anonymous, February 19, 2001


I can say AMEN to your agenda. Your agenda is not a black agenda. It is an agenda that stresses RIGHT living. I applaud you and that is my agenda also. That was my point. It is time for us black folk to understand that the things most important to us transcends race. It is time to forget about race and concentrate on RIGHT. Blessings

Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, February 19, 2001

I would love to forget about race; but it is impossible. Prejudice still abounds. And many times it is pretty blatent. Much of it is out of ignorance, because some people are afraid of what they don't know about. And many don't wish to be educated, and continue to walk in ignorance. I do agree there is a right agenda for all peoples. The foundation being built upon love an respect.

I didn't read this column, but I can't imagine that all things on the black "agenda" has been completed, unless the list didn't have very high espectations. We've come a long way, but the opposition is still in the dark ages. Still holding on to stereotype. The thinking must be changed in all people.

In Christ, Carmen

-- Anonymous, February 19, 2001

Like any people group African Americans hold a diversity of opinions. I suspect that the agenda in question belongs to a certain loud group in the media. As Americans they're welcome to pursue it, and others are welcome to oppose it.

Personal opinion: The loud people in question will never be satisfied. It'd mean they have to find something else to do. No matter how many lines are crossed, they'll always draw another one.

-- Anonymous, February 19, 2001

Who are the "loud" people that you are referring to? There was a line, but African Americans didn't create the line. Is it your opinion that there is no line, and we are all in a race that is equal?

All Americans hold a diversity of opinions. Why single out African Americans? You asked about a black agenda, and whether it has been completed. My opinion is that it has not. Our own personal agendas change daily and need to be redefined.

In Christ, Carmen

-- Anonymous, February 19, 2001

The black agenda has not been adequately addressed. There is not formal apology or reparations in place for the descendants of slaves. Affirmative action has been place for only 50 years, which does not “equalize” nor “neutralize” the racial unbalance prevalent the today’s society. In contrast, the white agenda was addressed and implemented for over 300 years (in the form of white supremacy) and still produces unearned privileges.

I am too, interested in Pastor Rod explaining “loud” people. It sounds like a derogatory slap at Afrikan American civil rights leaders. The subliminal and blatant lines of injustice were drawn in 1492. To date, they have NOT been erased. If it wasn't for those "loud" people, who knows where Afrikans Americans would be...I suspect sitting on the back of the bus. Lest us not forget the biggest "loud" mouth of all. Martin Luther King.

In Love and Light

-- Anonymous, February 19, 2001

Life gets better with every passing decade. At one point there was slavery. It was done away with by the Union Army, reconstruction, and Radical Republicans. This evolved into Jim Crow. This was done away with by a series of laws. Next was affirmative action. Some are suggesting it also has served its purpose. Sooner or later it'll go too. There are too many well-off African Americans for it to last much longer. People like William Raspberry are asking what's left? Not much. The laws are in place. Just about anything that's left can be taken care of with existing laws (suing where discrimination can be proved, prosecuting violence) entrepeneurs, or the political process. So get to it. We're reaching the point where further demands are seen as a clamor for an unearned advantage.

The loudies consist of people like the Rev's Jackson and Sharpton. These two gentlemen are regarded by many as something between clown and evil. At one point organizations like theirs held the moral high ground. Not anymore. Many of the problems in poor communities are now seen as self-inflicted, and their demands for other people's money have less and less credibility. One columnist said it well. "For Jesse, it'll always be Selma 1965." I have to ask why. Maybe he's just a clown, or maybe he's a crook. I can't make up my mind.

So the issue more and more is credibility. Reparations? I'd consider it if it were the final demand, but it wouldn't be. They're like the Eveready Bunny. Going and going...and we're getting to the point where the loudies are being ignored by society, or laughed at when they procreate with the wrong person. If there are problems out there, there are laws out there to handle it. Or maybe the situation warrants making a product someone will buy, or getting enough votes to win an election. Those that take this track will prosper, because this is the way to prosperity in America. The few remaining loudies will resort to violence, and that's why we have the National Guard.

-- Anonymous, February 19, 2001

Rev. Paris, Slight point of correction. Bill Raspberry is a columnist for the Washington Post. To answer your question let me suggest that there is no "Black Agenda". QED

-- Anonymous, February 19, 2001

Hotep (Peace)

I am ONE of the loudies that you speak about. And I don't use force...I use love. Perhaps you should study more before making assumptions about things you know nothing about. As for reparations, nothing was said the Germans paid the Jews. This world is twisted. It is the attitudes of ignorance that keep this nation in darkeness (Dark Agea).

In Love and Light, Brenda

-- Anonymous, February 19, 2001

Thank God for the loud mouths. If it were not for these somebody might get the idea that all is well and there is yet nothing left to do. Somebody who is black might even think that he or she has arrived on an equal level to that of those who have had the advantage of years of special treatment and the "good old boy" system. There may be some who even think they are now on equal footing with those who got more than 250 years of free labor at the expense of someone who looks like me. There yet remains much to do. Lest we forget,Thank God that He always has a loud mouth to cry in the wilderness, REPENT!!

-- Anonymous, February 19, 2001

Next was affirmative action. Some are suggesting it also has served its purpose. Sooner or later it'll go too. There are too many well-off African Americans for it to last much longer. People like William Raspberry are asking what's left? Not much.
In an effort to maintain emotion management, I will focus my response on this one point.
  1. The purpose of Affirmative Action was (and is, where it is still practiced) to address the playing field for hiring and promotion such that all candidates would be considered by their merits (in a meritocracy) or seniority. The press has portrayed Affirmative Action as benefiting only minorities or the targeted Special Interest. It has moved the spotlight away from the often persistent inequity that Affirmative Action originally targeted and was charged to redress. This misdirection and misconception stems from the early days of equity correction, where quotas were established in an effort to rectify the very obvious disparity. I, and most of the contributors here, object to hard quotas because they infuse a lower level of quality into the system. But Affirmative Action today embraces the value of diversity when other qualifying factors are equal.
  2. Affirmative Action has not yet served its purpose to the fullest. While positive advancements have been made in integration and opportunity, within organizations the world remains highly striated. As long as people perceive that a Glass Ceiling is in place, a corporation has not tackled the perceptions of its advancement policies effectively. I am not suggesting advancement of unqalified persons. The pool of talent should be broad enough to provide a diverse sea from which to draw.
  3. I too, would like to see a sunset to Affirmative Action. I believe its sun will set one day. For I hope that there will come a day when each contributor is evaluated, advanced, and honored on her or his merits (in a meritocracy), or seniority. In such a day we can all rejoice at not only aiding our local organization, but in our organization's commitment to changing the communities it serves. In such a day a more uniform access to opportunity will strengthen all neighborhoods, and the Rising Tide will then truly float all boats.

    Unfortunately, that day has not yet come. There are some boats that are still anchored in despair, to a rock of systemic oppression. Where educational systems determine early that children who are not geniuses are not worth educating feed into this system and sustain the Status Quo, we find ourselves still oppressed. In companies and corporations where competent, loyal, and faithful workers are consistently overlooked for opportunity, advancement, and development we remain oppressed. And the interesting thing about it is we really don't know how badly we are wounding ourselves by leaving this potential treasure behind.

  4. The real issue for those of us still fighting for Affirmative Action is not the ones who have benefited so far, but those who remain. While there are many more well-off than DuBois's suggested "Talented Tenth", the majority of people of color have not yet hit their stride in the American mainstream. The Industrial America of the 1800s made room and reward for the hard work of immigrants from all over Europe. As we enter the 21st Century we find a country even richer in its diversity than ever, but for some the American Dream remains either a distant fantasy or an unrealizable nightmare. It is for these tired, these poor, these huddled masses yearning to breathe free that the voice of dissension and the cry of anguish still sound. Shall we, the church of the Living God, turn a deaf ear?
  5. What's left?
    • The need to turn our inner cities back into vibrant communities.
    • The need to transform our youth in public schools from recipients of hand-me-down books and computers to equal benefactors of America's great intellectual wealth.
    • The need to see beyond the color of a person's skin to the content of their character.
    • The need to enrich character development through community compassion.
    • The need for all who would call themselves "the Church" to stop playing Church and become the true Church - clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick and imprisoned, ministering the Love imbued in us by the Father Himself. We must do this unto the Least of These, until there are no more least.
    • The need for our government to realize again the preamble to its very structure: We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, promote the General Welfare, provide for the Common Defense, and to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Consitution for the United States of America.

    That's what's left. When this list is accomplished, I believe we can all sit together on the distant shore of brotherhood and watch the sunset of Affirmative Action. For its day will finally be over, and the dawn of True and Full Equality will be upon us.

-- Anonymous, February 20, 2001

That was very well stated. Thank you.

-- Anonymous, February 20, 2001

In my previous summation I left out two clauses of the Preamble. Here it is from text, as opposed to from memory.

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

-- Anonymous, February 20, 2001

J. Payne's insightful and humurous appeal to emotion management about this topic is good food for thought. A couple of issues are worthy of comment. The "loudies" remark advanced by Bro. Price is intentionally provacative but it can't be summarily dismissed as insignificant or inapropriate. Sadly, I agree with him that the granting of black reparations would not end the incessant agitations about black America's fate. His metaphor to "Selma" as the basis for all social protest strategies is undeniably true. Yet there is a proper and instructive role for social agitation. The Godfather of Soul spoke with unambiguous language in the late 60s when he pronounced the new civil rights fight song, Say It LOUD, I'm black and I'm proud. While Denise Rogers has respectful reservations about the Harvard savant Cornel West, I do believe West's hermenutic about James Brown and social change is quite plausible and pregnant with insight. The problem with social agitation is its inhospitality to "evolution". The strategy truncates at "in your face" discussions, demands, etc. Protests become a means to an end. Recall in the Gospel of Luke one of Christ's parables, The Importunate Widow. The judge's dubious qualifications were his acknowledged ungodliness and indifference shown to humanity. After repeated failed efforts the poor woman was finally granted an audience to have her "Day in Court". The parable implies that justice, albeit delayed, was eventually meted out. There is not a scintilla of evidence in the parable that the woman desired prolonged social litigtion. She was satisfied and the case was closed. Unfortuantely, far too often, the "loudies" appear to not desire closure. The process of evoluion would predict this as the last stage but in many cases we seem stifiled to reaching this point. The issue about character development is a good case in point. Many of us accept the challlnege as character development as a basic private truth but in public dialouge it is relegated to the back end of the social agitation queue. Why is that?? Many of us wear our social and fraternal paraphanalia with pride in identiy politics yet public allegiance to the salvation message of Jesus is virtually censored from our pefunctory conversations with friends and acquaintances. As the hip-hop crowd would say, "Whad up with dat!!?" The individual and collective vocal message should be shaped around a common theme about individual and social rehabilitation. But in our quest for seeing who can raise the liguistic bar to a higher decibel note, be mindful of what James Brown also crooned, "Talking Loud and Saying Nothing!" QED

-- Anonymous, February 21, 2001

To J. Payne, and my sisters in Christ. God Bless you daughters and son of Allen. It is a blessing to know there are still some left with chutzpah. God's blessings again.

-- Anonymous, February 22, 2001

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