In the '60s and '70s this sort of black nationalism was integral to pushing basic civil rights issues into the mainstream. But clinging to that rhetoric turns issues of general welfare - such as housing and school reform - into "black issues." That makes it a lot easier for politicians to marginalize and ignore the problems facing our communities. Yes, racism exists. But continuing to isolate ourselves along the lines of black vs. white leaves us stuck in a dead end.
Herein lies the greatest missed opportunity of the civil rights movement: They never prepared for the day when whites would start treating minorities as equals. Their entire public image - their very legitimacy as political and cultural spokespersons - was predicated on the rhetoric of a black-vs.-white war.
That's what Watt taps into when he calls Ralph Nader "another f---ing arrogant white man." It was pure pseudo event. Ralph Nader is right to want an apology. Of course he'll never get it from politicians who continue to empower themselves by clinging to the rhetoric of race war. This is bad for Watt's constituents. It's bad for civil rights. And it's the dirty little secret shared by several members of the CBC.
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