Being a black leader doesn’t mean simply being black. If that was the case, then Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Clarence Thomas are black leaders who represented the entire black community. Elected positions and attention from the media do not guarantee true leadership roles. While recognizing the black community’s diversity, a black leader must aim for the whole group’s well-being. Unfortunately, some black leaders continuously misrepresent their community. I blame the media for this problem. The media manipulates blacks by placing some in leadership positions. For example, I vividly remember the aftermath of Clinton’s “apology” on television to the American people. I was watching an NBC News special where the anchor attempted to get viewpoints about Clinton’s speech by interviewing three unique guests: the head of the Christian Coalition, the head of a women’s group and Travis Smiley, host of a news program on the Black Entertainment Network. After the anchor obtained the viewpoints of the first two guests, he changed the question when it was Mr. Smiley’s turn. The anchor said, “What’s Black America’s sentiment on the issue?” Mr. Smiley had enough wisdom to answer that he couldn’t speak for all of Black America. Now, this is exactly my point. In most similar situations, blacks don’t provide a smart answer, but fall into the trap. It is the black community’s fault for putting up with this crap. I think that in 1998, blacks should accept that there is an outstanding diversity amongst them and that generalizations should not be tolerated. Self-appointed black leaders rarely consider the diversity of thoughts and opinions amongst blacks. Blacks don’t all think alike. Blacks don’t all know each other. Blacks don’t come from the same hood. If one black leader can represent all blacks, then one white leader can represent all whites. The following dialogue should emphasize what I mean. In the year 2001, global warming causes wide spread flooding and triggers other natural disasters. An anchor interviews a victim. Anchor Tyrone Johnson: “Good evening Miss Blanc Gens. How much damage was done to your community? iss Gens: “Well, speaking for whites, the flooding caused damage in the millions.” Johnson: “Are you aware Miss, that the floods affected other people, like Puff Daddy, a black man who owns a mansion on the shore?” iss Gens: “Who’s he? Is he a Civil Rights leader?” Johnson: “Well then, how have other white people responded to the natural disasters?” iss Gens: “Other whites, such as Italians, face volcanic eruptions. Russians, facing earthquakes, have learned to adapt.” Johnson: “How do you know that?” iss Gens: “Oh, I just assumed because they’re just white like me.” Johnson: “What makes you think that you can make such a generalization?” iss Gens: “Well, I’ve learned from watching television that in order to find out how all Hispanics think, you just have to speak to one of them. So it’s only natural to conclude that the only qualification one needs to speak for a whole race is to be a part of that race. No?” Phat Politics appears Fridays in The Hoya.

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