'We are looking to the wrong leaders'By Richard B. Muhammad -Editor- | Last updated: Aug 27, 2013 - 10:27:37 AM
Dr. Boyce Watkins offers candid view on 2013 March on Washington
Most leaders of this march would have disinvited Dr. King today because of his message, said Dr. Watkins, in an exclusive interview the morning after the Aug. 24 march in Washington, D.C. The leading organizer of the march was Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network with support from Marc Morial of the National Urban League, Ben Jealous of the NAACP and Melanie Campbell of the National Coalition on Black Voter Participation.
Indicators, like the failure to speak to poverty, a major focus of Dr. King’s after 1963, is one example of the diversion from the slain civil rights leader’s path and message, he argued
Today, Dr. Cornell West of Harvard is a leading voice on the U.S. failure to address poverty but he was not invited to the march, Dr. Watkins observed.
A portion of Black leadership has been “hijacked by the Obama administration politically,” Dr. Watkins continued. They are now impotent, said the founder of YourBlackWorld.net. He agreed that it is a disservice to limit Dr. King to the 1963 march and lionize him without active engagement to deal with problems.
The issue most often dealt with by march leaders was voting rights but that is an issue the Democratic Party and liberal establishment permit the leaders to pursue, he said. Voting rights and elections keep Black America inside the sphere that the Democrats and so-called allies approve of and control, said Dr. Watkins
Not inviting Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan to the march is “in some ways honest” and not surprising, he continued. The Minister brings a message of independence and strength that doesn’t require or connect with validation, love, and support from White people, said Dr. Watkins.
“Minister Farrakhan is probably one of the most liberated Black men in America and the freest Black man in America,” Dr. Watkins noted.
Minister Farrakhan is so free he spends less time talking about what Whites or others are doing because they don’t determine what he does, said Dr. Watkins.
Black America and Black leaders’ lockstep march with President Obama “really has crippled us … in one of the darkest eras of Black history,” he said.
Blacks may have made more progress under a Republican president, who would have been seen as a clear enemy, instead of dealing with “an enemy disguised as a friend,” said the commentator and analyst.
When you have an outright enemy, you are ready to fight, but with a friend, your defenses are down and you are more vulnerable to attack, Dr. Watkins said.
It’s incredible that Blacks have invested so much in a president whose leadership shows Black interests are not high on his agenda or important, said the Syracuse University professor.
In addition to the Obama Effect, the march leaders are tied to the existing political system, which accounts for their call for congressional jobs legislation and no focus on independent economics, he said.
They believe a rising tide lifts all boats and to get backing from White corporations, White elected offi cials and White media, these leaders must speak a message of cooperation, explained Dr. Watkins.
Just talking “affi rmatively” about independent Black economics is seen as militancy and an attack on White interests, he added.
“Ultimately we’re looking to the wrong leadership,” Dr. Watkins said. The group believes that marches will magically change things, said the university professor.
Without a psychological and spiritual change, Blacks will remain in a “perpetual purgatory” trying the same methods that have not delivered complete liberation, said Dr. Watkins.
Still, he added, the most powerful force is love and there should be efforts to work together and love one another.
A slave mentality brings a certain type of action and view, similar to someone who suffers from a mental health issue, said Dr. Watkins.
“You can’t blame a slave for thinking like a slave,” he said.