Sometimes the most profound and perceptive observation can come from an unexpected source, such as the one made by a young African American father who had probably saved his child's life.
A crack-crazed woman reportedly deliberately drove her car into a crowd of people gathered at a street festival in Washington D.C. two weeks ago. The father, realizing that the car would hit his young son, grabbed the child and held him high. The car hit the father causing him to drop his son but both survived without serious injury. When his wife later described him as a hero, the young father gave the immortal response: "I'm not a hero; I am a Daddy." He certainly is.
The Washington Post has once again launched a series of articles on the problems of Black folks. This time it focuses on the overwhelmingly Black D.C. public schools. The first article raises the question—"Can D.C. Schools Be Fixed?" If The Post is serious about the state of the schools, it will publish a series of articles entitled "How To Fix D.C. Schools" rather than another litany of horror stories and horror statistics familiar to every literate person in the city and probably throughout the country. Of course the D.C. schools can be fixed if The Post and others in the city are seriously committed to fixing them.
Far too many people have reduced Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. to being Malcolm "By Any Means Necessary" X and Martin Luther "I Have A Dream" King. They completely ignore concrete proposals and positions held by the two warriors that clearly demonstrate that they were not just great orators; they were also committed activists. In this and future columns I will include quotes that illustrate this. Below are two that we would be wise to pay heed to in the current political climate:
"Basically, there are two kinds of power that count in America: economic and political, with social power deriving from the two. … The organization of Afro-American Unity will organize the Afro-American community block-by-block to make the community aware of its power and potential; we will start immediately a voter-registration drive to make every unregistered voter in the Afro-American community an independent voter; we propose to support and/or organize political clubs, to run independent candidates for office, and to support any Afro-American already in office who answers to and is responsible to the Afro-American community."
Martin Luther King Jr.:
The art of alliance politics is more complex and more intricate than it is generally pictured. It is easy to put exciting combination on paper … A true alliance is based upon some self-interest of each component group and a common interest into which they merge. For an alliance to have permanence and loyal commitment from its various elements, each of them must have a goal from which it benefits and none must have an outlook in basic conflict with others."
A Peter Bailey is former editor of Blacklash, the news organ for Malcolm X's Organization for Afro-American Unity, and the former editor of Ebony Magazine