The civil rights movement of the 1950′s and 60′s was predominately led by black communities that were strong in their solidarity. I recall meeting the first and only woman to lead the Black Panther Party, Elaine Brown, in Washington, D.C. The stories she shared of her Party’s movement and what she endured as its leader were chilling. While I wavered between being horrified and intrigued, I was also struck by the solidarity and commitment of the “soldiers” in this movement. The sense of community that she felt was clear.
A new book has been released that claims the days solidarity and “community” among African Americans is over. “The Splintering of Black America”by Eugene Robinson claims that over the past 40 years, the black community has actually splintered into four subgroups: the Transcendent elite (think Oprah, Kobe or Colin Powell); the Mainstream middle class; an Emergent community (mixed race families and black immigrants from the Caribbean and Africa) and the Abandoned (underclass in inner-cities and depressed areas of the South).
Robinson goes on to demonstrate how little these four subgroups have in common; from economics to culture. He tells us that referring to a “black agenda” or “black leaders” is obsolete and serves only to obscure the complexities of race in a vast multicultural nation. Robinson believes that we need to recognize these four groups and their distinguishing interests and we need an immediate response to the deteriorating situation of the Abandoned blacks.
I’m finding this book intriguing and can see it playing out in the Rock River Valley. I wonder how many are reading it and their thoughts on the “disintegration of black America”. Please let me know either through your blog comments or by emailing me.