Ike, I like what you said about the anticipation of a new leader that will never come. If I can quote from one of my favorite authors:
"Neither you nor I knows exactly when it happened. But we know what happened. Over the last 20 or so years, the tenor of African American culture has changed. [The generation before us] came up on the we-shall-overcome tradition of noble struggle, soul and gospel music, positive images, and the conventional wisdom that civil rights would translate into racial salvation. Today [our generation lives] in a time of goin`-for-mine materialism, secular beat consciousness, and a more diverse, fragmented, even postmodern black community. The change was subtle, yet inexorable."
- Nelson George
Notes on Post-Soul Black Culture
I think the concept of a "black leader" has changed, because quite frankly the struggle has changed and therefore any leadership within our community has to match that change. It used to be "simple," very cut & dry. People got lynched, churches got bombed, dogs attacked, jim crow laws were in place, etc. It was very clear what the struggle was and what we had to do.
Today, its different. The lynchings have morphed into drugs & violence in the community - its no longer necessary to use a rope to cut off your circulation to your brain. The church bombs have morphed into the broken state of the Black church. And Jim Crow never left...its now a Federal Statute that is enforced by so-called "socioeconomic status" in all 50 states.
Too much emphasis is placed on (dare i say it) Affirmative Action, which in my opinion is at the END of the educational pipeline. We need more people like Marva Collins to start at the BEGINNING of the pipeline where it all starts, elementary education. There might be a greater increase in Black upperclass families in the 21st century, but that doesn't mean much when we, as a whole, are still lightyears behind the average mainstream american education. How many 6th generation college educated Black families do you know?
We're getting there. Its a long time coming, but its coming. But lately it seems every time we make a good step forward, we take 2 back. I've met a lot of progressive young black professionals since I've moved to the east coast that I wasn't meeting back in the midwest, so I know we exist. But unfortunately, we are still the minority within our own community. I don't know how you instill drive in somebody who likes to smoke weed in they mama's house and play playstation all day long.
Nevertheless, there are still a lot of brothers and sisters out there who are trying to get to where we are at. We have a duty to get the rest of that Fam to where we are at.