While driving to a picnic on Saturday, I was disoriented to discover that a portion of “Capitol Parkway” had been renamed Rosa Parks Way. I was first struck by the criminal nature of this pun, and then secondly struck by how it seems typical of how misguided much of black community politics is.
Much self-consciously “black” politics seems to focus on either the deification of early leaders or rent seeking. Strivers such as Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, and Jessee Jackson are celebrated, in a move that both marginalizes non-Southern black political cliques and obscures the actual nature of their opponents. The other purpose of the movement appears to be the political diversion of funds from other parts of the conomy. Companies are Coca-Cola are urged to spend resources on the victorious southern black clique, while “affirmative action” programs broaden the clique’s powerbase in an iron triangle of patronage.
Latino politics, in contrast, seems focused on a different goal: increasing the number of latinos. This has been quite effective. Rising from negligible status, latinos have risen to be the largest “minority” group in the country. At their current rate of growth, it’s likely that in the future “Latinos” will be all places and no places in the same way that, say, “German-Americans” are.
America may be tuned for a large supply of low-wage labor, but the fact is that labor is not coming from the Afro-Carribena or even Africa. The largest quantity of new immigrants are coming from Mexico and the rest of Latin America.
In part because of their different political strategies, the “black community” has consumed greater resources than would otherwise be the case but have made little systematic headway over the past generation. Latinos, by contrast, are becoming every more powerful.
Because they have avoided the “Rosa Parks Way” of doing politics.