Recently, Trump surrogate, Darrell Scott was quoted as saying “Black people are too dumb to understand Trump’s Wisdom.” In the interview, he went on to detail a story about a black man he knew that believe an article that says Trump wants to deport black people back to Africa. The conclusion was that blacks are not analytical enough to determine if information is correct. Therefore, their opinion and impression of Trump are incorrect.
Michael Eric Dyson was debating Eddie Glaude on what voting strategies Black people should use in the 2016 election. Glaude proposed that blacks should vote for the third party candidate, Jill Stein, in states that were solidly blue or red. However, in swing states, black people should vote for Hillary Clinton. Glaude’s strategy will ensure Trump loses and that the Democratic party gets the message that the party should move to the left. Dyson responded: “I’m telling you, at the end of the day, the black people you’re concerned about, the vulnerable people you’re concerned about, can’t make distinctions—if you’re in a blue state or a red state—they can’t color-book like that.” Dyson went on to explain that his determination came from daily interactions with people in his church. Dyson felt he understood Black people better than Glaude because Dyson pastors a church and interacts with the vulnerable people every Sunday. Glaude is a professor at Princeton University.
The parallel in both these interviews is that most black people are not capable of interpreting information and making a determination. There are a few black people that are fully capable of making these decisions, elite blacks. Both these leaders feel that they are members of this elite class. They are here to direct the masses. I refer to this paradigm as the Elite vs. Masses paradigm.
The Elite vs. Masses paradigm is the root of many pathologies within the black community. Darrell Scott uses this paradigm to explains why he has a positive impression of Trump and most black people have a negative impression. Because Scott believes himself to be elite, he does not re-evaluate his stance or analyse what gave black people this negative impression. Scott then becomes ineffective at converting black people to Trump’s side. If a person is not confident in the ability of blacks to interpret information and make decisions, then the person will communicate and lead in an ineffective manner.
Dyson has a different pathology rooted in the same paradigm. Dyson feels that he is elite, therefore he could understand and implement Glaude’s plan, however, most black people could not. Dyson’s belief in his superiority leads to advocating for a simpler plan. Dyson’s criticism was not that Glaude’s plan was incorrect or would result in a Trump presidency. The criticism was that the plan was too complicated for the average black person. If this pathology affects Dyson’s leadership, it will lead to oversimplification of complex issues causing his audience to be misinformed. The lack of full understanding by his followers will cause zealot-like conformity and demonization of opposing views. Dyson is more dangerous than Scott because Dyson shows he loves black people and is interested in our advancement. Black people will be slow to criticise Dyson because we know we have few allies and leaders.
Black People should commend Glaude for advocating a complicated plan on behalf of blacks. The probability of the plan working and the risk of a Trump presidency are outside of the scope of this analysis. However, utilizing third parties and not being afraid to challenge the Democratic party are things Black people must do to increase our political power. Glaude, in this instance, sees himself as equal to other black people and fully respects our ability to implement a complicated plan. Glaude’s respect for the black community leads to effective communication and a plan that can represent the interests of black people.
To restate this problem using different terminology, our leaders need to love and respect us. Love is the belief our welfare is important. Respect is the belief Black people have the ability to act in their best interest, on a consistent basis, in spite of obstacles. Love is a prerequisite for respect, but a person can love Black people without fully respecting them. We must require our leaders to both love and respect us.