November 26, 2011

Black America not 'feeling it' for #OWS

I'd noted before that, per its own polling at the Occupy Wall Street website, OWS is ... very ... white!. The fully-crunched numbers/data from the poll are here, in PDF.

And now, other reports confirm that black Americans simply aren't connecting to OWS.

“Occupy Wall Street was started by whites and is about their concern with their plight,” Nathalie Thandiwe, a radio host and producer for WBAI in New York, said in an interview. “Now that capitalism isn’t working for ‘everybody,’ some are protesting.”
This gets back to comments I've made before. Black Americans, by and large, have seen capitalism work less well for them for longer, including being the prime targets of subprime mortgages.
Beyond a lack of leaders to inspire them to join the Occupy fold, blacks are not seeing anything new for themselves in the movement. Why should they ally with whites who are just now experiencing the hardships that blacks have known for generations?
The story also notes that black churches were key to the civil rights movement, but aren't part of any clarion call right now, as far as the lack of leadership. It adds that A-list black civil rights groups like the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus are co-opted, if you will, by the amount of money they've received in the recent past from Big Tobacco and other hypercapitalists.

So, will more blacks get involved? Possibly not:
Leslie Wilson, a professor of African American history at Montclair State University, is not optimistic.

“Occupy Wall Street cannot produce enough change to encourage certain types of black participation,” Wilson said in an interview. “The church cannot get enough blacks out on the streets. Some students will go, but not the masses. Black folks, particularly older ones, do not think that this is going to lead to change. . . . This generation has already been beaten down and is hurting. They are not willing to risk what little they have for change. Those who are wealthier are not willing to risk and lose.”

Black America’s fight for income equality is not on Wall Street, but is a matter of day-to-day survival. The more pressing battles are against tenant evictions, police brutality and street crime. This group doesn’t see a reason to join the amorphous Occupiers.
It wouldn't surprise me, either, if many blacks, from old-line civil rightsers through "new black" politicians like Newark mayor Cory Booker on to young black entertainers, remain more on the sidelines.

And, that's not to mention that the man who received even more hypercapitalist money than the NAACP, Dear Leader, America's first black president, has already effectively washed his hands of OWS and has had the federal government advise local governments on how to respond.

2 comments:

Sheldon said...

Did you see this about OWS and Adbusters, (cause you always hatin on dem) :)

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/11/28/111128fa_fact_schwartz?currentPage=1

Gadfly said...

First, this story also confirms OWS has leadership:
In theory, the job of facilitating the meetings rotated among the eighty or so attendees. In practice, facilitation fell to a much smaller set of people who had experience with the general-assembly process. The leaderless movement was developing leaders.
And, I'll be blogging more about this ...