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Strong Points: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s America

By James Strong

If you’re not moving forward and you’re not moving backward, you’re still moving backward. If this were not so, then a recent article in Forbes Now on white privilege and the current socio-economic state of Black America would give Black Americans hope, if it had been written a hundred years ago.

According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, Black children are more likely to live in poverty than children of any other race. A third of Black children live in poverty, as compared to 10 percent of white children and 27 percent of Latino children. Sadly, as a Pew Research Center study shows, the child poverty rate has remained mostly unchanged for Black children over the years, even as it has dropped for children of other races.

Furthermore, white kids who make it to college graduate with less debt than their Black peers. Thirty-four percent of whites graduate with more than $25,000 in debt. In contrast, half of Black college graduates leave college with $25,000 or more in debt, according to a Gallup Poll.

Moreover, as they embark on their job hunt, white people are likely to benefit from having a typically “white” name, a name that will help them get a foot in the door. A National Bureau of Economic Research study found that job applications submitted with names like “Lakisha” and “Jamal” received half the number of responses than identical applications submitted with typically white names like “Emily” or “Greg.”

Additionally, when they make it into the workplace, white people get paid more than their peers of color. According to a Harvard Business Review analysis of statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, white and Asian people make more than Blacks and Latinos, even though white workers tend to be younger than Black workers. When the author considered education, she found that “having an education has the most benefit for men, especially white men.”

And, to continue the refrain, the typical white household has 16 times the wealth of the typical Black household. The housing crisis also hit a lower percentage of white people than Latino and Black borrowers, according to a Center for Responsible Lending study. That study showed that minority borrowers were more likely to get mortgages associated with a higher foreclosure rate, like subprime mortgages or hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages. As a result, a quarter of all Latino and Black borrowers have lost their homes to foreclosure.

So what are the causes of this sad predicament, which if Martin Luther King, Jr. were still alive, would likely bring tears to his eyes and groans from his throat? There are many, which we don’t have space to mention, such as racism, integration and lack of substantive business loans for Black businesses.

But one cause not often mentioned is the slow pace by which Blacks are taking to rid themselves of establishment negroes– a pace that makes the swift strides of turtles and snails seem like planes and speed boats in comparison.
What are establishment negroes? Well, establishment negroes are the opposite of establishment Blacks. They are selfish, deceptive, untrustworthy, hypocritical, self-absorbed, greedy and extremely materialistic.

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Establishment negroes feign devotion to Black America. They place so much emphasis on personal status and ambition, on maintaining a lifestyle which may be lavish and acceptable to whites, that they will deride and demean Blacks to maintain that status.

To save their reputations in the white community and to ensure they are not excluded from playing golf at the nearby country club or hitting tennis balls on a private tennis court, for them, the Black community is almost a forgotten dream, as artificial to their way of life as corn syrup.

In this sense, establishment negroes are cold as ice, irrelevant to the future of Black America, unashamed of that which brings shame. Thus, while establishment Blacks are authentic Blacks, establishment negroes are fake Blacks.
And though establishment negroes may be janitors or CEOs, plumbers or Black scholars, grocery store clerks or Wall Street stockbrokers, they all possess one common trait: Their rigid, out-of-date, conservative and selfish socio-economic views on Black life have blocked the meaningful advance of Black progress in a racist America.

They talk about fighting homelessness, but would not dare volunteer to serve food at a homeless shelter to dirty homeless men, women and children, whose teeth may be stained and whose skin may show blotches. They decry crime in the Black community, but have never mentored a young Black man or woman in even a low-crime neighborhood. They hesitate to loan start-up money to an ambitious Black restaurant owner, but are willing to accept slave money from the neo-Nazi Koch brothers.

In this sense, establishment negroes are the enemies of Black America and, therefore, all of Black America should reject their leadership and reduce their influence so it’s no larger than a nickel.
Because as establishment Blacks are cherished friends of the Black community, establishment negroes are as morbid as the harsh winds of Antarctica to a cluster of raspberries.

Copyright © 2016 by James Strong. All rights reserved. Reproduction or translation of this column, or any part of this column, without permission of the copyright owner is unlawful. Send your comments to

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