Over the years, African Americans have been through more turmoil and strife than any other race. This is simply not a claim, but a proven fact. While slavery and indentured servitude involved other ethnicities, Black people are the only race where an entire population had their lives interrupted and brought to another country where they were bought, sold, beaten, and raped for a lifetime of unmerited service. Patrick Manning, Historian and Professor Emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh, estimate that about 12 million people were brought over from Africa, and some 1.5 million died in transit, while either starving on the ship or falling overboard.
Even after slavery ended and the Civil War came to a close with Black people given the right to vote and full citizenship per the United States Constitution, there was an uphill battle to climb after President Rutherford B. Hayes removed the troops from the South, thus sending African Americans down a spiral of racism and discrimination that is still being fought in today’s age and culture.
African Americans have made great strides over the years, with representation being shown in many faces of the world including politics, law, entertainment, education, industry, entrepreneurship and the arts. Contrarily, that same race could also argue that just as they have taken two steps forward, they get pushed 5 steps back. They are plagued with poverty, police brutality, struggles to remain represented and the like. Additionally, one cannot rule out the internal struggles such as Black-on-black crime and the crabs-in-the-bucket syndrome, which truly contradicts W.E.B. Dubois’s Talented Tenth Theory.
With so much that African Americans are facing and that they have gone through, one would believe that it is past due for the United States to pay attention to the Black agenda and its needs.
Just one question: What is the Black agenda?
That question is not rhetorical nor is it a euphemism. What is the Black agenda? Do Black people want reparations for Slavery? Do they want true consequences for police officers who strike down unarmed black people? Do they want better opportunities when it comes to jobs and education? Do they want safer streets in neighborhoods where crime and drugs are at an all-time high?
The LGBTQQIAP communities have made it clear their agenda is to influence legislation that will protect their civil liberties in the country. The Native American community have expressed that they are pushing for protection of their remaining Native American tribes. One of the reasons that Hillary Clinton was not successful in being elected the 45th President of the United States was because Black people chose to stay at home. When asked, they will say that Clinton was not trustworthy nor was she true to the Black agenda. The question was asked then, “What do you want?”
As the world turns into the second half of the twilight zone known as Donald Trump’s presidency, many candidates are beginning to throw their hats into the ring for the upcoming 2020 election. Already, many candidates are facing unnecessary scrutiny and have been written off by Black people as not getting their vote. So, the question must be asked again….WHAT DO YOU WANT?
Instead of bashing the perspective candidates for their past, the voter electorate should be spending more time embracing their platform and challenging them to ensure that they will cater to the needs of all people and their various agendas. However, until the Black community can be able to come together and identify what they truly want, things can not and will not be improved. There are so many issues facing Black people, so it is important to move past the internal bickering so that the Black agenda (whatever it may be) can be made loud and clear. More candidates will be throwing their hats in the election ring. Do not support anyone now. Do not condemn anyone now.
Remember, the first question, above all, needs to always be, WHAT DO I WANT?