African-American Leaders Should Stand for Africa?

When it comes to political agenda or manifesto, African  matters are included in the  ‘any other business (AOB)’. It is never part of the main discussion. Perhaps African American leaders and black politicians could play a significant role in reversing this trend. Anyone who has lived in this country can attest to the fact the Hispanic politicians never hide, never run away and never apologize when it comes to issues affecting Hispanics. What is even admirable is the realization that it does not matter whether a Hispanic politician has lived in the US for 1 or 999 years, they always come out and speak out forcefully when issues affecting Latinos worldwide are brought unto the table, even when the Latino leaders in question are not directly affected by the issue.

A few months ago, after Arizona passed its tough immigration law, almost all Hispanic politicians reacted with vehemence. Some even compared the decision to apartheid, and I think they cannot be wrong. They reasoned that if the law affects one Latino citizen, then it affect all Latinos. They make a case to their people until the politician who supports such a bill is seen as anti-Latino 

It has always baffled me that we do not see African American or black leaders do the same when it comes to matters impacting the 800 million on the African continent. African American politicians andblack leaders in general speak narrowly, though very well, about issues touching the ‘African American’ in the US. Unlike their Latino counterparts who speak for Mexico, for example, as though they are Mexicans, black leaders address African American problems and that enough for them.

Several reasons can be attributed to this, one being the fact that Africans in the America do not constitute an indispensable voting block. Again the image of Africa in the Westerner makes it hard for one to associate himself with the African continent and African people. Most readers will agree with me that Bill & Melinda Gates, Bono and Oprah speak more proudly and frequently of Africa than most black politicians.

It is my hope that all African Americans: black leaders, black students, black musicians, and black pastors will realize, one day, that our destiny is tied together. The African American will not be accorded the respect and dignity he or she deserves in this country or elsewhere, until the current perception of Africa in the mind of the Westerner is erased. And this requires work, not only by the African people but also by the African American brothers and sisters.