“Marion Barry endorses Vincent Gray, calls him ‘a man of integrity’ who deserves second term”—Washington Post 2/20/14
Don’t laugh; sadly this is going to work!
Ironically, yesterday a parent from DC sent me an article about the parents at a specialized DC high school, with a sizable White student population, fighting for a quality education for their children; why was I not surprised and how many times in my career have I seen that movie? But I have also seen the ‘’comedic” version of the same film captured and summarized in the comments made by the late/great Colombia University professor Eli Ginzberg: “Black people get the short end of the stick”, he would in succinct honesty say often. But, sadly it is those same Black people who very often select (Or “choose”, as in a Carter G. Woodson context) the “short-end of the stick”; particularly when the short-end of the stick is painted black!
I know what you are thinking about this endorsement; but you should throw common sense and logic out of the window; this endorsement will actually work in D.C.! A lot of people have asked me about this Washington DC acceptable level of corruption phenomena. And, I must admit that it at first baffled me, that is until I lived there for a few years. Like most Americans my view of Marion Barry was captured and fixed in that hotel-crack video. I watched that video and thought: “this is definitely the end of a political career”. And I and many Americans who had similar thoughts were terribly wrong. Living in DC I learned over time to keep my mouth (and my “logical” questions about moral and ethical leadership shut down), In part because I just ran into too many people in DC, people who I mistakenly thought should “know better”; essentially, not know better. And what did I hear someone once say: “when you know better you do better”. Do not make the mistake (that I once made) by thinking that this endorsement is directed to the uneducated and informationally challenged of DC. Know that a sizeable number of Black professionals and Black folks with college degrees love Marion Barry and will follow his lead. During my 5 years in DC I have seen multiple Investigations/indictments of Black elected city officials, with two actually being carted off to jail. A public school system, under Black governmental leadership (modeling NYC’s failed effort in the Bloomberg era) that makes a practice of denying Black and Latino children the fundamental right to a quality education. DC is a town that comes very close to the neo-colonial model found in too many countries in Africa and the Caribbean. In short: A Black Face in charge; while Black people face the greatest amount of suffering and exploitation. There is also the neo-colonial principle that says: “public service” means private, friends and family enrichment. And like all corrupt neo-colonial leaders the “race card” is an essential part of their playbook to stay in power. “The (White) Man” can conveniently serve in the role of allegedly “setting up” these leaders up for failure, even if it is clear that these black leaders set themselves up by their greed, immoral and unethical behavior. It will be interesting to see how the present mayor makes the case for: “The man made you think I did it”; when the lead prosecutor is an African-American, as is the Attorney General and the president of the United States. I would however, not count him out. We have learned to accept so little from those who are so well unprepared and unworthy to lead us. Ironically, one of the persons running for mayor, who happens to be White (Tommy Wells), was one of the few elected officials I spoke to about the philosophy, methodology and leadership of a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics- Career Technical Education program (STEM-CTE); who I felt was at least able to intellectually follow the conversation. I lost the Black elected officials I spoke to somewhere around the beginning of my explanation (educators you know: “the look” on the faces of students that says: “I am physically present, but mentally absent”). If intellectual capacity, ethical/moral behavior and a vision is not on our “check-off” list when selecting a leader, then we (and more importantly our children) indeed get what we least deserve and need. I know some will say that all politicians are “no good”. But is that the standard? And is simply “no good” what those who are the most (highest concentration per population) disenfranchised, the most un/under employed, the most impoverished, the most harmed by the social service, education and criminal justice systems, really need? If anything our leaders should seek and be held to the highest ethical and moral standards in the nation; for the many barriers to survival and success that we face are for sure, the highest in the nation.