Blacks must lay foundation for independence movement
August 2, 2005
BY JEREMY I. LEVITT
African Americans are as politically homeless today as they were in the early 20th century. The "bank" of black leadership is broke!
African Americans need a new paradigm of political engagement that is independent, uncompromising and not for sale. The "black vote" should be competed for by all in the political marketplace. Black consumer wealth ($660 billion per year) should be leveraged strategically so national and international market forces are forced to compete for it. African Americans, not others, must control the value of their political and economic stock so they can more effectively tackle important issues affecting black existence.
African Americans need an "independent paradigmatic approach" that is based on and seeks to preserve their conservative traditions, values, experiences; their heritage of economic independence; their struggle against all forms of injustice, particularly white supremacy and its antecedents; and their cultural distinctiveness, faith-based traditions and custom of community loyalty and national patriotism.
Various studies on African-American social mores seem to conclude that any new paradigm of political engagement should rest on the following basic principles:
1. God is at the center of existence, and revering him in the public and private spheres is a natural right and a part of black culture.
2. Honor and respect the ancestral legacy of fighting against racial injustice and intolerance.
3. Conserve black family values and safeguard the benevolence of heterosexual human relations and the sanctity of marriage between a natural man and natural woman while abhorring discrimination against homosexuals, who are a vital part of the black community. African-Americans must shun unsafe sex, abortion, divorce and negligent parenting, and promote abstinence as the most effective way to avoid unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
4. Sustain education as a cultural imperative and post-secondary education as mandatory.
5. Patriotically uphold a principled legacy of safeguarding local communities and the national interest from tyranny and terrorism.
6. Preserve African-American mores of self-sufficiency, personal accountability, civic responsibility and duty and volunteerism.
7. Purge racism, xenophobia, sexism and homophobia from black social and political culture and combat the global pathology of violence against women and girls.
8. Take control of the free-market system and fight for equal opportunity and access because they ensure continuity in wealth and development among African Americans.
9. Remain vigilant that federally sanctioned reparations are essential to address the U.S. legacy of white supremacy, de jure segregation and the racial disenfranchisement of blacks. Affirmative action policies that consider race as one of many interdependent factors in according preference serve a public good.
10. Support a just U.S. foreign policy that is informed by African-American traditions of representing the global political, economic, social and cultural rights of poor people, particularly in Africa, and submit that the United States is not an empire and that global primacy connotes inherent moral responsibility.
11. Advocate for a just criminal justice system. Individual responsibility, accountability and opportunity are the greatest weapons against crime. Support the death penalty and harsher sentences for violent and sexual crimes against women and children.
12. Campaign against the racist and systematic attacks on black identity and imagery and the stereotyping and dehumanization of persons of African descent by the media and corporate America.
13. Recognize the importance of states' rights with limitations on foreign affairs and civil and political rights when they conflict with federal law.
14. Appeal for flat taxes and the abolishment of capital gains taxes.
15. Support universal access to health care; disease prevention and eradication (particularly HIV/AIDS, sickle cell anemia and cancer) should be a national priority.
16. Favor traditional and market-driven Social Security approaches.
17. Acknowledge people have an inherent God-given responsibility to preserve the natural environment.
African-Americans need a 21st century Niagara Movement that offers a new paradigm to remedy the vestiges of a legacy of tragedy.
Jeremy I. Levitt, formerly assistant professor of law at DePaul University College of Law, is assistant professor of law at Florida International University College of Law.