Roland S. Martin: Black-brown coalitions

Commentary: Black-brown coalitions are tough to sustain


In America, the nation's largest minority group carries significant weight. It's sort of like being the daddy at the dinner table -- you get the biggest piece of chicken or the largest slice of cake.

Political power means jobs and resources. And the one group with the most power wants to benefit their own, and sacrifice everyone else.

For years, African-Americans have argued that their sheer size in terms of numbers requires that they get a seat at the table. Coupled with African- Americans leading the civil rights movement, they say Hispanics shouldn't easily benefit from their hard work and that blacks should primarily reap the benefits.

But that all changed when Hispanics became the largest minority, often exceeding African-Americans in terms of the number of students in the school system, the primary battleground in many cities.

Today, we see that spilling over into every area, even business. African-American ad agencies, and media outlets, complain that the dollars set aside for blacks has been savagely reduced and shifted to Hispanic media.

So what you find is African-Americans and Hispanics fighting it out over a piece of the pie, while the larger ethnic group -- whites -- remains the same.

Is it possible to see a true black-brown coalition that greatly benefits both minority groups? Maybe. But it's going to take a helluva lot of work between the leading organizations such as the NAACP, National Urban League, La Raza and the League of United Latin American Citizens.

Instead of seeing one as taking from the other, what leaders in both camps should be exercising is a broader view. Blacks are not the enemy of Hispanics, and vice versa. The enemy is a lack of quality of education, being shut out of the economic levers, as well as poor health care. The resources of this nation should go where the need is. And if that means a larger portion going to one group over the other, fine. But we can't sacrifice one for the other.

Comment: Good read!

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