Saturday, October 18, 2008

Environmental Factors Causing African American Invisibility

At the very highest levels of American society, the African American is rendered invisible. In order to be a 'viable' candidate for the American presidency, even Barack Obama must avoid being perceived as black. He cannot talk about black issues [except for one speech]. In fact he has been required to studiously avoid the subject, even if anyone else brings it up. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are portrayed by mainstream America as somehow being 'bad' because they aggressively address issues of concern to the black community. Why do whites want to avoid it so badly? Why are blacks virtually obsessed with talking about it? What is the nature of this phenomenon that makes black bad and subject to invisibility?

If you are white and simply reading this makes you feel uncomfortable, then you know what we are talking about.

AAEA was created, in part, to directly, aggressively and efficiently address environmental issues in the black community. This has rendered us, and others like us, invisible. Conversely, in many instances, we are also rendered invisible when we wander 'off the plantation'- - address issues other than those assigned as black, i.e. environmental racism, green jobs, environmental justice, protest marches. Because AAEA often wanders way off the plantation in addressing environmental issues, we receive extra invisibility. Our researchers have identified this as a vast Pavlovian attempt to train us to 'stay in our place.' The media, itself challenged in this area, perpetuates these environmental conditions. Some businesses and institutions adhere to the 'one black rule (OBR),' whereby only one professional black is hired to mitigate charges of employment discrimination. Most environmental groups do not even bother with the OBR and are secretly proud of their demographic status. These same businesses, institutions and groups hire plenty of blacks in administrative positions, rendering this population invisible at the policy and decision-making levels. Of course, the Vice President for Outreach and Human Resources positions are utilized to adhere to the OBR at the management level.

Yet in a competitive, capitalistic, democratic society, invisiblizing
[our word] blacks gives the majority white population advantages ['white privilege'] that keep the distribution of resources in its favor. The Bradley Effect in the current presidential race is but a manifestation of invisiblizing because Obama had to throw everything black under the bus AND have a white mother in order to 'qualify.' Yet for many even that is not enough. Everybody knows this election would be a runaway landslide if only Obama's skin was white. Unfortunately, if he wins, he will have to continue with the invisiblizing in order to get reelected. We guess the black communities in virtually every city in the United States will continue to be invisible to white America in order to maintain the illusion of integration and to promote the image of a united society. However, we believe the black community is as American as apple pie and should be celebrated. Our celebration, without restrictions, will continue.

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