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Blacks, The U.s. And Politics

Guest Michael B. Bakeley

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Guest Michael B. Bakeley

Within the boundaries of the United States, the word Democracy has many different meanings for many different people due to this country's history of mistreating those of non-European extraction legally and illegally.


As the incessant demand for full political participation and representation at the local, state and federal level has materialized incrementally over the past decades, these miniscule strides or gains only happened due to the legal system and its decisions made accordingly.


In lieu of these incremental gains, there are still many politicians, scholars and even lay-people who vaguely assume that African Americans should not just focus on whether or not if an elected official is from their respected ethnic group in order to have adequate representation.


If such is the case, then explain why the United States government's current policy toward Iraq is to ensure that the citizens of Iraq have a "representative government."


At the present time, the African-American community has 43 of its co-ethnics within the hallowed halls of the United States Congress (42 members of the House of Representatives, including the non-voting delegates from the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, and one senator).


In lieu of the fact, the total membership for the United States Congress is 437 members, including the non-voting Delegates.


Therefore, statistically speaking, African-Americans only consist of 9.8 percent of the entire United States Congress even though African-Americans comprise from 13.0 to 14.0 percent of the overall United States population.


Regarding the United States Senate, we have one symbolic African-American male out of 100 Senators.


Anytime an African-American politician has enormous amount of support from White Americans, this clearly indicates that this individual will not be working incessantly in the interest of African-Americans.


Case in point, look what happened politically to Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney from Atlanta when she displayed her intellectual prowess to the Bush administration after the September 11, 2001 attack.


If my memory serves me correctly, I have yet to see any of the senior members of the Congressional Black Caucus (Conyers, Clyburn, Davis, Kilpatrick, Rangel, Towns, Waters or Watt, etc) or any other Democratic Party members (i.e., Boxer, Byrd, Rodham-Clinton, Kerry or Landrieu) making any special order speeches on behalf of Congresswoman McKinney demanding that she receive her seniority back while numerous White Congress members, regardless of their political leanings, ideology and affiliations, have left the United States Congress and returned and even retained his/her seniority status.


As long as the racial problems continue in this country, the issue of symbolic, substantive and descriptive representation will remain. This stems from the historical legacy of this country in which many "Whites" vaguely assume they know what is best for African-Americans.


Interestingly enough, the only time political representation is an issue is when African-Americans figure out the rules of the political game.


Sadly enough, there are those within the context of the American political landscape that inherently do not want those respective ethnic groups to have political representation in any capacity.


I can only imagine what the people living in Iraq are saying about how African Americans do not have a representative government in the United States.

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