Today’s African-American women are loyal to their detriment and ready with all sorts of excuses to explain away abhorrent behavior in the black community and specifically with some black males as they internalize the stress and negativity from such associations.
There was a vocal contingent of a few outspoken women (serving as guard-dogs and soldiers) who were hell-bent on defending Kanye West by denigrating Taylor Swift while discussing the Video Music Award show that aired on MTV this past weekend (via Twitter). Likewise some were vehemently opposed to any criticism or accountability for Chris Brown or R Kelly, going so far as to ignore key evidence and acquitting Kelly.
I believe there’s a play titled, “When A Woman’s Fed Up” and I think this applies very rarely but with certainty. I analyze these conversations to gauge what are the important conversations amongst a group of people who may share followers or feel the need to ReTweet (resend) the messages of others. It was that and people participating in a send-up of the Dave Chappelle skit “Racial Draft”. Humorous for sure but I found myself wishing that many people would come together to do something that would permanently uplift the collective (like participating in combating the rampant out of wedlock births via group initiatives like No Wedding No Womb).
Nothing seems to bring out the vitriol more when certain ideologies are challenged! I’m not only referring to those women who’d be secretly (maybe openly) ridiculed as being less desirable and educated either. If it’s not the complete failure at correctly identifying and keeping one’s distance from a predator (a Facebook conversation about a deceased rapper), then it’s the continued focus on the activities of useless males that are not doing anything remotely productive or uplifting simply because this person is black…and male…whether he’s famous or not (like the rantings of another rapper). If their careers and foolishness wasn’t supported and repeated they would be rendered obsolete.
I do limit this and am careful about not immersing myself in the mire but since I’m actively engaged online it’s rather inevitable that I’m exposed to a variety of people with divergent interests. On a personal note I also use this as a filter to check my own thoughts and value system.
Anyway, this is supposed to be a post about former DC Mayor Adrian Fenty who lost his bid at reelection to Council Member Vincent Gray (he’s not elected yet this was the primary) but we have to evaluate the motivators. I have no idea whether Gray is a decent candidate (and how he’ll be held accountable past the desire to see Fenty ousted) but I took note of the ongoing grumblings against Fenty that grew to a fever pitch over the past year and a half. I of course view the core voters that were disenchanted with Fenty with caution as many were the same people who voted Marion Barry to serve multiple terms.
From a conversation I had with a voter in July who was wistfully wishing for the return of Barry again (I couldn’t wrap my head around that one) she explained how marginalized citizens felt they were being listened to for one of the first times and how Barry was able to capitalize on that. I take that to mean people still haven’t figured out how to successfully navigate getting their needs met on a long-term basis. I never understood why a politician who knows so many people are relying on them to effect change still misuse their power or squander opportunities. Of course I can offer many reasons: ego, selfishness, corrupt souls – and even owing other people who’ve consolidated power as reasons but I also wonder why people refuse to look at cycles that repeat themselves and then express anger or disappointment when things fall apart.
Which brings me back to Fenty. Almost there.
WaPo reporter Courtland Milloy wrote at the end of August that Fenty was more or less toast.
How did D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty lose the love of so many black women — the most faithful and forgiving constituents a black man in public office (me interjecting here: and in LIFE) can have? The answer: He worked at it, went out of his way to snub and disrespect even the most revered sisters of distinction.
As a long term San Francisco resident I’m all too familiar with politician fatigue. I’ve watched California more or less fall off a cliff financially with the Total Recall celebrity-based choice of many voters who ushered in Arnold and waited for the shoe to drop. Between his attempts at firing state employees (nurses, teachers, firefighters), going after SEIU members and the forced furloughs I’ve found myself muttering how karma is a b*tch but we all had to suffer.
So as a non-DC resident and fledgling analyst I’m offering my observations of where Fenty gave the core voters (AA women) the finger (ignoring their basic needs) and how they responded (with an “Eff You”).
The School Chancellor was always controversial if only for her flexible schedule that allowed her to take days and cumulative weeks off to be with her boyfriend ( a professional baller) who lives in Sacramento, CA. I don’t know about you but if I was in charge of a predominantly black population of children whose test scores and comprehension had not improved when I was more or less working part-time while being paid for full-time work, somebody would have some explaining to do.
The Case of the Teacher Salary Funding promised…lost…and found (as a last minute gesture at keeping voters)
There was several million dollars at stake and many thought someone was cooking the books to go from declaring a budget shortfall (thus justifying the firings) to a surplus to another oopsie, to the money miraculously being put back on the books after Fenty’s rather desperate commercial ( “I know I messed up but I’ll do better next time I promise!”) aired. Shady much?
Rhee fired veterans (read: older AA teachers – whom we know are mostly women) for no reason. Well..many were saying people were being fired for questionable reasons as well as not having their contracts renewed. With the average burn-out rate for teachers being around four (4) years, retention of qualified and invested teachers is something that should be supported don’t you think? They should also be compensated – and we already know how little value we hold for educators in a society that grossly underpays them to begin with.
I covered the story of Ms. Jacks, a 33-year old mother of four who committed filicide.
Fenty promising to keep low-income day care centers open and instead closed them to fund dog parks. Sorry to all you pet owners who think of them as your children…but again the value placed on furry friends versus human beings speaks volumes.
I’m certain there will be plenty of pundit and armchair analysis of what went wrong, when and why but one blogger has referred to this phenomenon as the failure of Cross-over Negro politicians at addressing the needs of African-Americans. This doesn’t just apply to Fenty and deserves our serious consideration in light of a dwindling political landscape for the collective because as we see simply electing a black face in a high place doesn’t guarantee a trouble-free or effective term served.
Regardless I think this example has potential (whether unintended or not) for many to rethink the reasons why they support any individual or “cause” that is either not directly benefiting them or actively working against their interests. Allies are not opportunists. Every person who refers to themselves as “friend” isn’t. Wolves wear sheep’s clothing. All skin folk (you know the rest). Politicians can – and should – be voted out of office for ignoring the “little” people.