Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Red State and Blue, Reflected in Black and White et al

Red State and Blue, Reflected in Black and White - Washington Post

Deval L. Patrick (D) Massachusetts - Washington Post

At first blush, the outcome of a rich, Harvard-educated Black man winning only the second governorship of its kind would not seem instructive to the plight of the average Black man-on-the-street in Roxbury, Boston's long-challenged Black community. However, upon review it is extremely revealing.

The campaign complexities of Massachusetts governor-elect, Deval Patrick, cannot be simplified, except to say that he won because White people, the voting majority, saw something they liked in his offer and they voted for him. His capture of the hearts and minds of the majority electorate shows us how a Black man transcends his beginnings on an island, a housing project in Chicago, only to come to lead the Bay State.

The difference between what Mr. Patrick presents as challenges and solutions to the greater electorate of the state, compared to that of traditional Black leaders and their electorate in places like Roxbury, are far too distant from each other. This disparity makes it nearly impossible for greater Massachusetts, as they are inclined, to help Boston's Black community, including that community seeking the type of help that will make a real difference.

Roxbury, like so many others, continues to try to solve its problems through legal and moral attitudes and strategies born of the civil rights era. While these approaches were indeed effective for ending segregation and other gross institutions of racism, they are equally ineffective for taking on the problems plaguing today's Black community, that being the assimilation of themselves and their problems into the whole solution set of society.

The struggling person in Roxbury who fails to assimilate the values, strategies, tactics of the striving poor majority is destined to remain disenfranchised from the inclusion which follows. The first rule of this assimilation is the promotion of education at all cost and manner of sacrifice. Patrick's mother, as challenged as she was at the time, was willing to send her son away to school at a tender age, in order to get him the best education. That beginning sacrifice, ultimately leading to Mr. Patrick's historic victory, says it all.

James C. Collier


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