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The Black Business Journal - Changing The Color Of Business(TM)
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Do Blacks in high positions know what crony capitalism is all about?

By William Reed
Special to The Black Business Journal www.bbjonline.com

Isn't it time we pointed out all the phonies representing us, and throw their drawers out in the front yard for all to see? Are our recognized black leaders "black-enough" when it comes to issues relating to race? The question of "Is He Black Enough," became a topic for discussion for Black communities when it came up in Washington, D.C. The city's new mayor, Anthony Williams, named an inner circle of advisors top-heavy with Whites that set the 70 percent predominantly Black population buzzing.

The move by Williams returned Whites full control of the city's contracts. This action is in direct contrast to what would have been that of former mayor, Marion Barry. Barry was driven from office when he got the expansive wrath of Congress —who actually controls the city — for actions such as directing 35 percent of the city's $1.5 billion purchasing to Blacks. Based on providing measurable opportunities for us to advance, who's Black enough: Williams or Barry? Name someone you feel is doing a good job speaking, and acting, on issues critical to African Americans. Then, ask another African American to name people he/she identifies with as a "Black Leader." Whatever names given, the two of you should discuss those named and what they've have done to enhance your lives.

If a leader is supposed to: "lead a group from one position, place, or posture to another"; how many "recognized" Black leaders can you count that are leading Black masses toward higher social and economic achievements? People like Marion Barry and Louis Farrakhan are pariahs to White society. Yet, Farrakhan, especially, teaches on how to overcome our social plight, economic state, and educational deficiencies. We need to be sure who is promoting our agenda, instead of their own. Do Black leaders get to be that by virtue of their acceptance among White people to represent us? Is Mayor Williams' leadership designed to bring about change for a plurality of Washington residents, or that of the Congress?

Who's best interests do "accepted" black leaders cater to when the choice is pushing for black interests at the expense of alienating White acceptance? Who among Black political leadership has the nerve to jeopardize invitations to the White House by demanding Clinton give us an apology for slavery? Shouldn't Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), who successfully headed Democrat's opposition on the Judiciary Committee during the impeachment, and who has routinely presented a study bill for black reparations to Congress each year since 1989, demand Clinton give us an apology for slavery?

Why didn't Conyers get something in return for the overwhelming support Clinton got from Blacks, via his leadership, during the impeachment crisis, or when the apology subject came up when he was a part of the Clinton entourage through Africa? Are African Americans who sit on the boards of directors of major corporations Black enough to practice crony capitalism? Do Black board members like Vernon Jordan, Donald McHenry, Earl Graves, and the others; have the interests of the masses of Black people in mind the way Rev. Leon Sullivan did when he sat on General Motors' board?

Demanding to see all employment and promotion records regarding blacks at GM, Sullivan sat a record of principles to gain Blacks financial opportunities in major corporations none of Blacks who now sit on corporate boards has approached.

Is the person people perceive as representing you Black enough for your interests? Are the Black Secretaries of various agencies directing a sufficient portion of the $350 billion in contracts the government lets each year to blacks? If you aren't getting anything of value back from Black leadership, isn't it about time you questioned whether they are Black -enough for your interests?

Reed is publisher of Who's Who in Black Corporate America and executive editor of The Black Business Journal.
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