January 10, 2009 · 2:28 am
There are many challenges facing African Americans. Yet many seem to lack a working, everyday understanding of the goals and dynamics of black politics. By that I mean what it does or what it is suppose to do, what is the purpose and definition of it. Or even, what, if anything, changes when a black is the head of government at any level – local, state or national, in regards to black politics.
Theoretically, black politics denotes the advocacy of African-American political and economic rights. Accordingly, advancement of these rights impacts the social and psychological well being of blacks. Political scientist Rickey Hill gives the best operating definition of black politics as “…the purposeful activities of black people to acquire, use, and maintain power. The dimensions of black politics are internal and external. They characterize a struggle for power, that is, the realization and defense of black people’s interests and volition. This struggle for power reflects historical tensions and constraints between and among black people and white people. These tensions and constraints, concerning optimum strategies for control and liberation, are grounded in the dominant-dominated relationship of the two groups.” Black politics seeks to change how whites think and respond to supremacy and dispossession.
Waiting for Lightning to Strike: The Fundamentals of Black Politics is about the basics. But the writing is multi-stylistic in approach from the more formal academic to the loose and sometimes messy, rhythms of the everyday.