Sharpton, Jealous and Morial Make Small Talk at the Big House

 Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The three civil rights leaders attempted a tricky maneuver with last week's visit to the White House.  How could they appear to pressure President Obama to finally act on Depression-level Black unemployment, while making no such demand? It was a fool's errand, for which they were well suited.


Sharpton, Jealous and Morial Make Small Talk at the Big House

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

“They left the meeting babbling about helping the president with Republicans, but with no larger commitment in hand from Obama.”

When NAACP chief Ben Jealous emerged from a White House meeting with Barack Obama, last week, Jealous told the media:"What's clear is that we have a president who gets it." Barack Obama “gets it,” alright. He gets it, that organized Black leadership is grateful just to be allowed into the presidential presence. Obama gets it, that so-called civil rights leadership is terrified of even the appearance of exerting pressure on or, heaven forbid, making demands of the first Black president. Obama gets it, as he always has, that he can treat the civil rights establishment like fools, and they will dutifully oblige him by acting the part.

By their own accounts, Ben Jealous, National Urban League president Marc Morial, and Rev. Al Sharpton, spent much of their hour with President Obama discussing ways they can help Obama garner Republican support for his programs. This is deep, deep farce. The three Black civil rights figures have virtually no influence on Republican Party politics. That’s not their constituency and not their job. The expectation was that Sharpton, Jealous and Morial went to the White House on behalf of Black people, among whom they theoretically have some influence, to pressure Obama to take stronger action on Depression-level Black unemployment. Instead, they left the meeting babbling about helping the president with Republicans, but with no larger commitment in hand from Obama.

The president himself declined to make any statement concerning the meeting – an indication of its relative unimportance in the White House scheme of things.

“Obama still hasn't come forward with a serious jobs plan for the cities.”

In fact, the three civil rights figures have been spinning their wheels and wasting everybody’s time. They seem most giddy about having clarified to the White House what Black people mean when they cry out for action on reducing Black unemployment. "This is about place. It's not about race," rhymed the NAACP’s Ben Jealous. Government jobs programs targeted on the cities would effectively bring down Black unemployment, since Black people reside disproportionately in the cities. Nobody is demanding that jobs be created specifically for Black people, said Jealous.

But that's always been the case. There has never been a serious legislative proposal to create “Black” jobs. That's a red herring created by Barack Obama, himself. It was Obama who replied to every question on Black unemployment by saying he would never support any specifically Black jobs program – even though no one was asking for one! Obama was setting up a straw man – a Black demand that did not exist – in order to knock it down.  His purpose was to impress white people by appearing to be standing up to Black folks.

Through this dishonest and despicable ploy, Obama succeeded in deflecting criticism on Black unemployment for over a year. Now Ben Jealous says the president “gets it.” But Obama still hasn't come forward with a serious jobs plan for the cities. Black people have been demanding a “Marshal Plan for the Cities” in every election in the past 40 years – except for the election of 2008, when Blacks made no demands at all on candidate Obama. And the NAACP, the Urban League, and Al Sharpton still cannot fix their mouths in the shape of a demand. A pitiful excuse for leadership.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to

1 Comment

A cackle of despicable bastards parading as "leaders"

I strongly urge everyone to listen to the NPR Podcast titled:
"Unemployment and Inequality" broadcast on Tom Ashbrook's "On Point" Tuesday, February 16, 2010.
If the statistics and analysis cited in this broadcast don't grab your attention, don't frighten you to death, don't make you made as hell.. well.. then you must be of those elite cocksuckers making $150K/yr.  Because if you do, the real unemployment rate for you is 3%.  On the otherhand, if you are among the high school graduate level, ages 18-25, whether Black, White or Hispanic, the unemployment rate is calculated at 30%.  Yes, 30%, and it's probably 50% for the Black cohort alone.  We are talking about A LOST GENERATION!
Moreover, the analysts were damn near depressed at the job prospects or shall I say the lack of job prospects for the 30% mentioned.  There are no policies, programs or visions in place to address this issue.  This statistic threatens the fabric of democracy and society, according to all analysts on the show.  A prof. of criminology phoned in and all but said he was concerned about the rise in crime from this generation of youth, due to the deplorable to non-existant opportunities for the 30%.  Let me repeat, the 30% was ALL RACES AND ETHNICITIES.  I think the poor analysts didn't have the heart or perhaps the courage to delve deeply into the chronic, structural Black unemployment, which is at dire, criminal levels.
What our shithole "leaders" from all stripes have failed to elucidate and explain is that America is suffering from more than a burst of another "bubble" it is suffering from an absence of strategic, cogent, urgent solutions to address LONG TERM STRUCTURAL EMPLOYMENT!
Goddamnit, when will the so-called leaders AND the public come to accept the unemployment trend in America is STRUCTURAL and LONG LASTING??!!!  I have little to no faith in this country, I'm sad to say:  ruminating on Tiger's "forgiveness," who will become the next "Idol," judge, will Von get as many gold medals as Phelps, is Palin a marquee item or Presidential fiber?  What the f***k is wrong with this country?  Anti-intellecutalism will be the swan song for America.
F**k the triumvarite of phonies who didn't give Obummer the business, f***k every so-called "leader" or politician in America of every stripe, and the MSM too for failing to issue a call to arms to a problem that threatens the survival of this country and what's left of a "middle-class."  We see what Obama's "middle class" is all about, don't we, and it ain't "us"??
These ass-clowns are only concerned about "access," and using it to make themselves rich, and providing cover for elites like Obummer.  The shit that's going down in America brings me back to Pepe Escobar's "Globilistan:"  How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War."  From the reviews and excerpts I've read, Pepe says, when shit hits the fan, all the gated communities and armed sanctuaries in the world won't stop poor people from getting their shit. 
"It shows how globalization is not proceeding according to the myth of "everyone profits": instead, it is fragmenting the world into even more explosive inequality, into "stans" - some stans configured as fortresses, some stans at war with others. Energy wars, and the multiple intersections of globalization and war, only increase the polarization. Globalistan argues that the world is being dissolved into Liquid War - a natural consequence of "liquid modernity."