Emergency Managers? School Closings? Are They Racist? Does It Really Matter?

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

For the black political class, the question “is it racist?” has become a substitute for inquiry into causes and cures, not least because so many of them are complicit in austerity and privatization schemes themselves. Circling the racial wagons is something we've done many times before, and poverty, the prison state and privatization are still all around us. Isn't it time to ask some new questions.

Emergency Managers? School Closings? Are They Racist? Does It Really Matter?

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

In early 2009, during the first few weeks of the Obama administration, I was one of the folks planning a public discussion on health care in Atlanta. Most of those I worked with wanted the discussion to focus on single payer, Medicare-For-All. But for an uncomfortable week or two one of the organizers stalled the plans by insisting that instead of educating our audience and the public on how a single payer health care system was the only way to control costs, create new jobs and provide quality health care, that we ought to be concentrating instead on exposing race-based disparities in health care availability and outcomes.

In other words, let's not examine a proposed solution to the problem. Let's instead circle the wagons, highlight the racial disparities, and have a conversation on just how racist the whole thing is, as though rediscovering the existence of racism (surprise! Surprise!) in yet another realm of American life is a worthy end in and of itself.

This was no academic question. These were the very weeks during which newly elected President Obama, a one-time proponent of single payer who had promised that every reasonable solution to the the nation's health care crisis would be considered, a time during which the White House did everything it could to keep any mention of single payer health care off the table. As a candidate for Senate from Illinois, Obama had declared himself for single payer health care. But soon afterward Senator Obama had embraced what Massachusetts residents called Romneycare, after their then-governor Mitt Romney, who simply required every Massachusetts resident to purchase a private health insurance policy, made some policies available through a state “exchange”, and levied a tax on anyone without private health insurance. Nowadays “Romneycare” is called “Obamacare.” Go figger.

The emphasis on highlighting disparities as an end, rather than examining and comparing solutions proved useful to the White House, which defended Obamacare on the grounds that it would extend private insurance and Medicaid to some large number of new persons and thereby allegedly reduce the disparities. The coming of austerity and the fine print of course may keep it from doing even that, but the point here is that our black political class has adopted a methodology under which the hunt for and discovery of racism in every act of public policy and some other places too has become an industry, separate and absolutely divorced from any attempts to examine, let alone change the public policy.

So we hear the mayor of Chicago, in keeping with Obama's Race To The Top policies of educational privatization, wants to close 50-some Chicago public schools, mostly in black and brown neighborhoods. Is it racist? Sure. What does that tell us? Half the black people in Michigan have had local government taken from them to divert their taxes straight to banksters and privatize their public assets. Is that racist too? OK, what then?

The “what then” answer provided by our black political class is well ---- nothing. Register to vote, maybe, elect more folks, patronize black businesses or something. It's politically bankrupt. The never-ending, and always fruitful search for racism, and racial disparities has become an industry in and of itself, because it's all our black political class can offer, without questioning capitalism itself. And that is something they can't bring themselves to do.

For Black Agenda Radio I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party.  He lives and works in Marietta GA and can be reached via this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.



Where have all the old Democrats gone ?

It's interesting to note that Romney's healthcare system for Massachusetts was firmly backed by the late Senator Ted Kennedy. A long time Democrat, from a family of committed Progressive Democrats, who rose to prominence in the sixties era when real legislation was finally passed that promoted equal rights for all 100 years after the passage of the 13th Amendment and programs like Medicare and Medicaid became the standard for a fair and equitable healthcare delivery system in this country. Many of this era blamed the Democrats for promoting the Viet Nam War that partially financed the last great period of prosperity for all in this country. We can hardly blame that generation now considering the fact that subsequent Republican Administrations had worked tirelessly to maintain ongoing military adventures that now only profit a small elite group of corporate military industrial  contractors that have made this condition a permanent way of life !  

It has long been said that all good things must come to an end, and this has apparently been confirmed as the current Democrat leadership has sold it's long time supporters down the river as they commit to serving Capitalist Oligarchs who have the financial where-with-all to make all their dreams come true. We were all blind to this sell out when it first occurred during the Clinton Administration with his cabinet of Wall Street robber barons and his trade policies such as NAFTA that exported all of our jobs to foreign sweat shop economies. Then Clinton put pen to paper to end the New Deal welfare system that assisted single working mothers by insuring their children were provided with a reasonable standard of living. His final act was the elimination of the New Deal Glass-Steagall Act, that had kept our economy safe from the corrupting forces of Wall Street investment banking that brought about the 1929 Great Depression, and insured yet another one only eight years later in 2007.

Based on this previous record, can we really be surprised that the current Democrat Party selected someone, regardless of skin color, that would faithfully continue the politically productive policies of the Clinton era. As long as we continue to have a Democratic system of elections in this country, we have no one else to blame beyond the person in the mirror.   

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Racist, Does It Matter?

The over analysis of a problem, rather than focusing on solutions leads to paralysis as this  article clearly points out.  I suggest that we organize to create programmatic solutions to local problems.  Emphasis on solutions not idealogy or political party. Solutions!

Black Agenda Report has clearly pointed out the damage that the Black missleadership class has done to us.   A crucial part of that missleadership class is Black media itself. Black media complains that no one will spend adverting dollars with them or pay atttention to them.  With the notable exception of Black Agenda Report most Black media is irrelevant.   With the exception of BAR Black media waste its time on celeberity politicians, athelets and gossip.  In NYC where I live we have several radio stations that supposedly adress Black issues. They don't.  They spend all of their time covering up  for Obam.

I have donated to BAR in the past and will continue to do so. Ask your family and friends to do the same.




'I suggest that we organize to create programmatic solutions to local problems.  Emphasis on solutions not idealogy or political party. Solutions!"

I've been attempting to say the same thing lately, albeit too wordy for some folks.  Like I said, don't have to worry about that in the future. If all were are doing is analyzing the nuances and malleability of a universal FIXTURE called race and class that hasn't changed over centuries, then count me out.   It is what it is, do we need 4 more centuries to conclude that?

We need polemicists like BAR undoubtedly, but more significantly we need solutions.


Detroit’s emergency manager keeps mayor, city council on payroll


As his first official act, Detroit's emergency financial manager Kevyn Orr has restored the pay of the mayor and city council. This pay was eliminated under the new emergency manager law, Public Act 436, which went into effect Thursday. Only Orr had the power to restore their salaries.

Orr issued a statement explaining his action.

“Detroiters need their elected representatives on the job and working collaboratively toward the solutions that will solve our immediate financial crisis and position the city to grow and thrive.”

He continued, “I wanted the first order issued to reaffirm how important the mayor and city council members are to Detroit's turnaround.”

Mayor Bing makes around $145,000. The council president makes $77,000, and the council members make just over $73,000.

The response of the council members can be summed up in a statement by Council President Charles Pugh when he said, “Our position all along was that restoring democracy was in everyone's best interest.”

Whose best interests? What Pugh calls “restoring democracy” is merely the restoration of his own paycheck. He is not interested at all in fighting against a virtual dictator undemocratically imposed over the city of Detroit.

The other members of city council fell in line.

Councilman Kenneth Cockrel Jr. said, “It's consistent with the approach [Orr] wants to take on how he moves forward with the mayor and council.”

Councilwoman Brenda Jones remarked that she felt that the vote of the populace had been ignored, but then followed up by saying, “He indicated that he wants to work with the council, the mayor and the citizens. He gave a commitment that he will continue to communicate.”

The commitment Orr gave is in fact only to ensure the comfort level the political officials who have overseen Detroit, whose only real opposition to Orr was that they wanted to enact the massive cuts being demanded by Detroit's creditors themselves, rather than have someone else reap the benefits of doing so. (See, “The Detroit City Council begs Snyder, “We can do this without an emergency manager”)

Now that the city council is getting paid, it is quite content to end its agitation against the EFM. They have also dropped any accusations that “white” Lansing is imposing its racist agenda on “black” Detroit.

I got my mind on my $ and my $ on my mind

I tried to "hip" you all to the realities the past week or so.

You should know too that the Council cut EMS, Fire and Police before they cut their own salaries, staffs and perks. In fact at NO TIME during this crisis have they cut much of anything that affects them.  Most of them make $70K plus for what should be a P-T job and drive City cars and no doubt fill them with City gas.

Oh, and they would be on the 3 to 4 week "Springbreak" about now, but Pugh says they are going to roll up their sleeves and take a pass this year.

Nice that someone can see it for what it is.

Like ALL elements of the Black Elite/Misleadership Class:  "I got my mind on my $ and my $ on my mind.

When will we start thinking for ourselves?

Quote:  "....because it's all our black political class can offer, without questioning capitalism itself. And that is something they can't bring themselves to do."

While I agree with the BAR analysis we can debate the "solutions."  To a certain extent--based on political pragmatism-- there is little immediate (notice I said immediate versus long-term structural) gains to be made from "questioning capitalism" itself when Black folks in general and our elite class in particular are the biggest consumers and purveyors of the capitalist system's materialistic B.S.   Don't expect  T. D. Jakes or Roland Martin to proffer any solutions, they are too busy "branding" themselves in the capitalistic vein, and we Black folks eat it up like like crazy.  Our "come up" is to be like and a part of the White Middle/Upper Middle Class system. 

How about we discuss our inability to use capitalism for self betterment as a people?  Most cultures outside of "Black Culture"--Asian, Hispanic and others-- view capitalism as a means to an end, as part of a wider institutional/community-building process.   They may not like Black folks but they love our money.

On the otherhand, Black folks view "capitalism" as a road map to and a measure of their individual "success" (read extent of their assimilation).   We were successful capitalists during the era of Black Wall Street because we had a purpose and that purpose was related to building institutional  capacity.  The purpose now is "I got mine, what about your's?" 

Last, I wish we start talking about "commerce" vs. "capitalism."  Commerce was taking place a thousand years before the advent of Euro-centric Capitalism.  We need to frame a different discussion.


will ever make me pay for anything, especially, forced healthcare, so some bastard can make money.  I would rather leave this pathetic world.  Let'um have the damn thing.  

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racism and healthcare

This website is a great source of information! Apparently we are living in a world in which discrimination is supposed to be punished by law. It doesn't matter what religion, gender or skin color we have as we are all equal in rights and responsibilities. So the Government should focus on creating some affordable healthcare policies in order to provide citizens the right to access medical services.

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Dealing with racism is not an easy task to do but only if we are loyal to our duties. Everyone, who comes in power, do some mistakes. It does not mean that we must keep criticizing them, we need to find solutions rather than pointing finger at them. Read More