James Robertson proves that “Black Male Privilege” is bunk and Black political leadership is a failure

-Clay Davis, The Wire

Perhaps you’ve heard of one Mr. James Robertson, of the smouldering crater that was once the proud city of Detroit, and his literal Long Walk to work on the daily – to the tune of 21 miles each way. He has done this for at least a decade, and has touched off a crowdfunding firestorm, complete with offers of cars, money and more from people all over the country. It, of course, has sparked a conversation about all of the usual tropes: about how we, the United States of America, shouldn’t be having people laboring under such conditions due to our wealth and largesse; about how evil Republicans view working folk, especially those who happen to be non-White; and, of course, more general pearl-clutching at notions of Racism and the like being the culprit of long-festering conditions that have brought great cities like Motown low.

But what gets left out are the following questions and issues that your correspondent will raise in today’s essay. To do that, I refer the reader to a previous article of mine, “Tackling The Bugbear of “Black Male Privilege” – where I made the case, in point for point fashion, that the “argument” proffered by the Black Feminists and Social Justice Warrior crowd, is a feeble one. No one with a straight face, after looking at Mr. Robertson’s daily travails, can say that he is somehow “privileged” over all Black women, forever and ever Amen, by simply being Black and well, male. The absurdity gets even greater, when we consider those who make such statements, again with a straight face, who in every way anyone who actually is in tune with reality could recognize, that they are hand over fist more privileged than Mr. Robertson. I mean, really – does anyone reading this believe that Princeton-educated First Lady Michelle Obama, or MSNBC fixture Prof. Melissa Harris-Perry, or media icon Oprah Winfrey, is less privileged than Mr. Robertson?


It has long been my view that the “thinking” on the part of the supposed Talented Tenth class in Black America has been fuzzy for a very long time, and does not acquit them well, nor does it make the rest of us look good before the world. The proof, in glaring relief and brutally painful detail, can be seen in Detroit itself. While Black Talking Heads like to trot out all manner of excuses as to how and why Detroit has become the poster child for Black fracture, failure and dysfunction (read: “it’s all the White Man’s fault”), the historical record says something else: at this juncture in 2015, Motown has been under the thumb of a one-party/one-race political rule for the better part of a half a century, and the results are bleedingly, painfully obvious. Sure, racism happened – but what does that have to do with the actions of Coleman Young – or more recently, Kwame’ Kilpatrick? How does that square with the kinds of antics that routinely occur in city council, where the wives of prominent Black US congressmen routinely get rip with school kids? How are we to explain the rife corruption, incompetence, graft, greed and just in-your-face cronyism that was endemic on the watch of Black political leadership?

What, Mr. Charlie made them do it?

If you’re detecting just a hint of extra “salt” in my remarks and observations, it’s because in so many ways, James Robertson is me – as a fellow Blue Collar Brotha who was born and raised in a de facto Black city with strong working class roots, I too have seen how the so-called Black political leadership has run my hometown into the ground, and has not just not done anything worth the name for Black voters, but they’ve made matters markedly worse. Many of them have no qualms robbing their own constituents blind, all the while talking all that “Black” smack – much like the fictional Clay Davis from The Wire.

And yet, Black folk continue to vote for these jokers, term after term, year after year, and for what? So they can gain some kind of psychological satisfaction from seeing a Black face in a High Place?

You have got to be kidding me.

One of the things I have been doing is asking Black men in particular – everyday, salt of the earth, out on the bricks, working Black men – exactly what has Black political leadership in general, and yeah I’ll say it, Presidential leadership in particular in the person of Mr. Barack Obama, done for them? Usually I get some mumbling about “history” or “racism,” but when I ask them have they made more or less money since Obama took the White House for instance, all of a sudden they either get really mad, or they get really quiet. When I bring it back home to the local scene, much of the same pattern ensues. Once I roll out fact after fact and instance after instance of exactly how their own Black leaders have actively worked to undermine their own interests, that’s when I’m accused of being a Black Republican, a sellout, an Uncle Tom, a self-hater, and so forth. Of course, all of this is just a smokescreen – they do all of this, because they CAN’T refute any of what I have just said.

And yet, they can and will turn right around and vote for these jokers – again. What. An. Embarrassment.

And this is how and why I am a Black Men’s Rights Activist – because, truth be told, Black men, especially those like James Robertson, don’t have advocates. The cruel joke that is the Black political “leadership” abandoned men like him a long way back, and what’s worse, they actively leech off what little lifeblood they can get from him and other Black men, who as we all have seen in the past few years alone, are literally dying out in the streets in a death-by-a-thousand-cuts fashion, all the while singing the tune of fictive “Black kinship.” It makes me mad enough to hock and spit.

It was men like James Robertson, and my dad and granddad, and yea, I’ll say it, me – who made it possible for all these Black Talking Heads to pontificate from on-high, and what my brothers get for their continued and unquestioned support is a bucket of piss thrown in their faces while being told that it’s raining outside.

I don’t want to hear anything about “see, what had happened was…racism!” nor do I care to be particular as to which Black pols did or didn’t do thus and so – they are all to blame.

And it was long overdue that they were put on blast and told they suck.

What is it going to take for you to wake up, Black man? Don’t you get it? The Black political class – which includes, most definitely, the Black Feminist Brigades – have thrown you under the bus a long time ago. Oh sure, when someone not-Black does one of you in, here they come to cry some crocodile tears, toss out some bread and put on some circus minstrel shows to keep you distracted (and never mind when black cops harass you, right?) – but where it counts, on a whole range of life indices, they do less-than-nothing for you; and as we’ve seen in the machinations of the Black Feminist crowd, they work to actively grease the skids to run you over.

The working class working man, and for purposes of this discussion the Black one, has seen his standard of living sink to truly third world levels, and all on the watch of the so-called Best & Brightest that Black America has to offer. It is time we told the whole lot of them that we want a divorce.

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