I was reading a story about New York’s Governor Three Shoes, Drop it Like It’s Hot Paterson, and his support among black “leaders” last night, when it dawned on me: Who deems these guys leaders? What person looked at Al “I won’t say sorry for my accusation you smeared feces on that girl” Sharpton and thought, “Leader, baby. Leader.”

This blog post is a minefield for a multitude of reasons, but hopefully when I’m done I can say I’ve traversed it with Catherine Zeta Jones precision (and if not, perhaps the mere fact you got to watch that clip will temper your disappointment).

Even though TIME magazine has been forced into covering the sad state of affairs Harlem’s old-school black leadership is in, the notion that a few liberal guys can somehow speak on behalf of all black people isn’t going away. When was the last time you heard Clarence Thomas and “black leader” in the same sentence? I’m sure Larry Elder hasn’t gotten his platinum black-leadership card in the mail either…

Personally, I find it a bit insulting that Harlem’s liberal guys are treated as an alien life form from a 1950’s martian flick, or a Tim Burton take on little green men. But it begs the question: How come those who are insistent about their hyphenated-American status don’t get qualifiers to their leadership positions? Al Sharpton: African American Leader to those with a penchant for making knee-jerk, career sullying false rape accusations. Jesse Jackson: African American leader who serves to inspire white and black John Edwardsonian politicians everywhere. I’d ask “America’s History Teacher” Tom Hanks, but somehow I don’t think he’d be much help.

The bottom line is, having a few liberal men huddled in a room together does nothing for the unemployment rate among black men (especially when they’re ideological soul mates with a guy who thinks 9.7 percent unemployment and 36,000 jobs lost qualifies as a “big day.” I think a better option would be for urban communities to elect conservative politicians who would encourage them to unleash the force (i.e., entrepreneurial force) within them. They should elect conservative politicians who understand that one of the biggest impediments to more black success stories is big, bulky government like an iron lung. But sadly, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Until it does, I’ll keep watching Tim Burton movies.

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