I found this short excursion of Mr. Cross’ “The Black Power Imperative” to be quite informative. I found myself gaining clarity on why opportunity exists for some and not others. In the bigger scheme of America, it’s all about the systems, laws, power structures, and those economic bases; that keeps power in power. It’s no secret the dominate economic & power structures of America want to maintain the status quo. Success begets success and if I am thinking about 10 generations down the line, then I am enacting plans that would tend to focus on creating generations of power in order to preserve the legacy of control. Because God is a God of generational thinking it only makes sense that power structures think in the same light. It’ a natural progression outside of sinister motivation which seek to keep lower rungs of society oppressed; to want to extend generation wealth.
Although, the moniker “knowledge as power” resonates in the philosophical conundrums of society, its more about having access to the resources and people who are close to power or are in power themselves. Economically speaking you can’t become successful only having a connection with the middleman per se or a system stands in between your objective. Why? Because opportunities are often filtered down a pipeline that seldom reaches the bottom. If I am operating on the 1st floor and the opportunities are circulating on the 7th floor, the narrative is that those on the 7th thru the 2nd floor would have gotten the opportunity to respond before its even public record and displayed on the 1st floor. It’s a tough proposition to want a job that has been filtered down 200 flights of stairs.
Information now becomes the moniker that becomes more tangible for those who wants an equal playing field to exist. In terms of talent and acquisition according to Mr. Cross, blacks have always been denied these free-flowing patterns of success and opportunity. In terms of America’s capitalistic societal norms there are certain cultural contexts that must exist to function properly in this system. Connections, contacts, access to prominent information, capital and the right relationships are things that deem capitalism sufficient on a basic scale. Yet, the isolation from mainstream white commerce and business connections for the aspiring black businessman is a hindrance to his success but not a barrier for the lasting tale of black wealth.
I am reminded in “The Pursuit of Happiness” where Will Smith plays a homeless salesman (Chris Gardner) struggling to provide a better life for his son; At one point in the movie Will Smith sees a white man in a nice suit and red sports car pull up in front of the Merrill Lynch building and says “ What do you do and how do you do it” and the guy said I am a stock broker. Economically speaking it wasn’t so much about becoming a stockbroker or driving a sports car that really enticed Will. It was much more about the path that could lead to success. Given, Will struggle to provide for his family and the fact that America have just entered the Reaganomics era spoke to a change in the psychology of success. Success instantly became more of a motivating factor than just equal rights.
Undoubtedly, hard work, grind, persistence and hustle plays a major factor in terms of the pursuit of a lifestyle that is predicated upon the notion of success. Yet, the clubs, clicks, associations, groups and business leagues that dominate the mainstream economic stratosphere are devoid of black intelligence that would aim to advance American ideals, outside of racism and segregated economic factions. The Black community understands the strategic position of White power and privilege; what’s not clear yet is how we can achieve our own level of power and economic fortitude without having access to information is freely available to the higher stratum of society.
When it comes to the flow of information the internet has opened the floodgates to what’s possible. Yet, inequality exists in all facets of American life. Little has changed since Jim Crow in response to balancing the superiority of the dominant groups in America. The black power imperative in this sense is more about becoming aware of the things that limits the flow of understanding concerning “Structural Power”. In a democratic marketplace that operates outside of democratic ideals with an imbalance in power what is the next 400 years supposed to look like? The cultural differences of every race make this world a unique oasis of ideologies, that fashion, govern and encourages self-preservation.
How can the power of information and racial positioning affect the outcomes of progressive advancement? How do we redistribute this power for the benefit of culture? What’s the invisible backdrop of black power, inequality and the redistribution of wealth in a world that’s seems to ignore the advancement of black intelligence? We have already seen the affects of Barack Obama’s presidency on the black community. The concept of a Black family in the oval office was historical in nature and sought to disrupt the flow thoughts towards what the black mind could achieve; yet our agenda concerning the black community was totally ignored. A black man made it to the top echelon of White American politics and still no access, networks, information, and capital proceeded to the bottom floors of black America.
I guess it was too much to ask of a black man whose agenda had to include those who placed his in the seat of his power. The black community voted but no capital exchanged hands. Barack was the Black “E Pluribus Unum” One out of many” factions of America life that may never exist again. He changed the way people thought about politics and truly presented a revolutionary change in the American way of life. Let us assume, that those eight years stood for something more meaningful than anyone cares to understand. What are the consequences that our position was shifted to include a much stronger role in the economic pipeline of opportunity? To the naked eye “A rising economic tide may lift all boats” power begets power. I am not sure to what extent the balance of economic power will begin to shift in years to come, yet a strategic position is needed in order to reverse the curse and take advantage of the opportunities that is beginning to show up.
In part 2 of this commentary I will go deeper into Ch. 19 “The Scars of Memory: Racial Inequality in a Discrimination-Free Society” by Mr. Cross, in an attempt to cypher what the next 400 years in America should look like for the black community as a whole in terms of access to information and economic inclusion.