It's a little after 9:00 pm & I've yet to weigh in w/ local and/or national newscasts regarding the mayoral election results. Why? I suspect Michael Bloomberg will win decidedly. Besides, I've got a couple of more free NBA games to watch on their NBA League Pass channels. And, I don't feel good about the economic, political & social condition in NYC as it relates to Black men.
The unemployment rate for Black men in NYC is around 60 percent. HIV transmission rates among Black men who engage in homosexual activity are near 50 percent for that population. Black and Latino men - many of whom are illiterate - comprise nearly 96 percent of the prison population in NYC. Additionally, hepatitis rates outnumber HIV transmission 15 to 1 in NYC prisons. But did you hear Bloomberg, or his Democratic candidate Fernando Ferrer address these issues? Hell no!
Historically, talking about issues involving race and homosexuality incite controversy. When you add HIV you've got a volatile mix. Most politicians, by default, like to keep things safe. Both candidates rant about the need for affordable housing, but how can you pay the rent w/ out a job? I live in Harlem, where the current reality is gentrification, though some folks like to call it 'diversity.' Columbia University students are shacking up four to a room - rents for a one-bedroom apartment are as much as $1,500 a month.
Bloomberg is a millionaire white businessman who wants to run the city like a corporation; a Republican in a widely Democratic city is not unusual. Yet, he's running on both the Independent Party & Liberal Party. Lenora Fulani, a capable & impassioned Black woman who once ran for Mayor as an independent candidate, suggests Black people should vote for Bloomberg - as an independent! But independent from what? He's rich, white, male & heterosexual.
The late Harlem historian & Pan Africanist Dr. John Henrick Clarke, when asked what his thoughts were about white, male politicians on the Liberal Party, answered, "liberated from what?" I agree. When you live w/ white male skin privilege, what are you being liberated from? As I stepped into the voting booth today, I exercised my right & my responsibility to be accountable. As my 97-year old great grandmother used to tell me as a young boy, "let your conscience be your guide."
Ferrer is still hurting from the wounds he's endured for embracing 'New York's finest' when they were acquitted of shooting Ghanaian immigrant Amadou Diallo 41 times. Many people in the Black & Latino community feel betrayed by his NYPD alignment. Though he's been in public service for a number of decades, most recently as Bronx Borough President, Ferrer lacks the courage, passion & vision to deal w/ the varied complexities of NYC daily life.
So often Black people are expected & encpuraged to vote for 'the lesser of two evils.' Why vote for evil in the first place? I hope folks turnout this fall. Last week, NY1 was issuing polls showing Bloomberg ahead by a two to one margin. I hate when the media does that. We live in tough times & folks are ambivalent about politics to begin w/, but when you temper their concerns w/ polls from 700 or so voters, the message becomes diluted & people stay home to watch television.
Which reminds me, if I hurry, I can catch the next episode of MTV's "The Real World."
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.