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SIMMONS: For blacks, did integration give way to disintegration?

- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 9, 2012

In a postmortem on the Republican and Democratic conventions, Leo Alexander, an also-ran in the 2010 Democratic race for D.C. mayor, said Americans still don't get it.

Black America has lost its way, he said, having put all its eggs in a basket that reeks of foul "poli-tricks." (And I'm not going to argue with the man on those points.)

A fiscally conservative and moderate Democrat, Mr. Alexander wants a crackdown on illegal immigration, parents to decide how and where their children are educated, and he wants "us to help us to help ourselves."

"We're disproportionately dependent and institutionalized," he added during an interview on Friday.

Interestingly, he cited integration as a chief opponent of black American progress -- or "forward" progress to Obamacrats.

The Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act both effectively dismantled race-based laws, but black America is paying the steepest of prices from Wall Street to Main Street and from the schoolhouse to the jailhouse.

"Integration on paper, as a theory, is a beautiful concept, but [in practice] integration didn't happen on both sides," Mr. Alexander said. "We took our money to their communities, and now we are suffering. We weren't smart with our money, and neither grass-roots Democrats nor Republicans are talking about it."

"In the name of integration, we transferred our wealth," he contended, as he rattled off a lengthy list of business and social commodities.

"Prior to integration, we traded goods in our own communities with our own people and saw that tax money and expendable income give us a direct return on our investment," he said, singling out doctors, lawyers, teachers and firefighters, as well police, scholars, barbers and beauticians.

But as soon as integration unblocked the doorways, the "black bourgeoisie, the black aristocracy, the black middle class, the black businesses and the black professionals sought" whiter pastures.

Mr. Alexander even turned toward the commonwealth of black America.

"Black churches pull in $13 billion a year, and 80 percent goes to white banks," he said.

The dollars and sense just don't add up, he said, mocking former President Bill Clinton's directive at last week's Democratic National Convention to do the "arithmetic."

It's a rude awakening when we don't mind spending $40,000-plus a year to incarcerate blacks instead of spending $10,000 to $40,000 on sending them to college.

It's also unfortunate to see black union members bristling at the idea of blacks making $25,000 working a steady job in the retail, health care or service industries when they aren't making any dollars because they are unemployed and underemployed.

Mr. Alexander also took on immigration.

"Immigration is a national issue with local ramifications," he said, pointing out that blacks helped till the land, build the structures and educate the people of this great capital and nation, but now are on the bottom rungs of America's, ahem, economic totem poles.

Meanwhile, immigrants and undocumented and illegal aliens are lending their voices to our democratic processes, and they were showcased by the Democratic Party in Charlotte, N.C., this past week.

"Our family values, our spiritual grounding and our self-help footing are eroding," he said. "We've got to get back to the business of us, of uplifting us by us," he said, starting with "economic and political solidarity."

"We start in our churches, just like the Jewish community."

"Their family is their bloodline, and their faith community, and they preach it from Day One," he continued. "Tithes, offerings, service, reinvestment. That's how we should do it."

Peace, love, soul

When first I learned of the passing of Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of The Washington Times, an insightful passage by India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, sprung to mind:

"Time is not measured by the passing of years, but by what one does, what one feels and what one achieves."

A heartfelt and tearful thank you.

• Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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