Challenge: Wake up – they'll never be another Dr. King

Mlk

The absence of a clear identifiable leader has often been dubbed as the next crisis of Black America.  Books have been published, discussions have been held, and news articles have been written.  In Black circles, "Where is our next leader?" is like asking "What is the meaning of life?" 

Allow me to get straight to the point: Even if we had ONE LEADER, everybody wouldn’t follow the same person.

The Civil Rights Movement united and galvanized us to seek change.  As a race, we had one common objective: FREEDOM & EQUALITY.  The issue of class existed, however, it took a back seat to the more pressing issue of equality.  Once intergration happened, Blacks subconsciously divided into distinct classes with each class having it’s own distinct needs.  The needs of the working class are quite different than the needs of the rich.  What’s likely to happen is various leaders from each class will emerge and champion the issues of their respective class.  Grass roots leaders will speak for & represent the poor and working class.  Leaders from the middle-class will seek better housing, education, etc.  Leaders from the uppper-class will devise strategies to break the glass ceiling…etc…

Today’s young Black professionals have attained the sort of education, connections, and experience that those before them could only have imagined.  They have more potential and more opportunities than any generation before them.  This new Black professional sees the business world as the nexus of American power, rather than Capitol Hill.  Instead of seeking to effect change through government, this generation is marching through freshly opened doors in the corporate world or building businesses themselves.  Rather than "fight the power," this new generation seeks to take the power for themselves and use that power to uplift our race.

Therefore, it is not so much that the next generation does not have any leaders.  Instead, THEY ALL WANT TO LEAD.  If there are to be leaders, there must be followers, and that is not what this generation is about. 

Care to comment…

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  • Man, this made me chuckle at the end. There is no denying that you are a true preacher with no shortage of delivery techniques.
    As a vibrant member of this generation you speak of, I’ll comment. Remember though, this is MY comment, not that of any others.
    You know, people do what they do for various reasons. Some people are gradually coaxed into actions while other spring forth on their own inspiration with a tenacious attitude ready and willing to accomplish a task at hand. There can be no denying that what connected, re-energized, and refocused our race of the yester year is clearly much different than what will connect our race of today. Times are different. People are different. One of my favorite quotes is from Harold Wilson, “He who rejects change is the architect of decay.” And I adamantly believe that the cause of many of our root issues that our race is facing today is because of us, our race. Our tactics and failed attempts at awareness have done nothing more but perpetualize the same actions that we’ve tried so hard to cure.
    With that being said, it’s hard to follow the point of this post. In the title, you reference Dr. King who wished for equality and rights amongst all. You then reference “today’s young Black professionals.” From your examples it seems as though we may applaud their efforts. Finally, you comment on the fact that these same “young Black professionals” don’t want to follow. I confused because I think that position that young Black professionals are in is only because of their careful ability to heed wisdom, seek guidance, and observe examples, which all constitute a period of following.
    In closing, you do elude to a very keen point. You say “it’s not so much that the next generation does not have leaders…” and I think you’re right, this generation has a plethora of wonderful leaders. This generation also has tons people who are willing to get behind a great young leader and follow him/her. I think though, we will still have that same problem that this generation has, the one before us had, and probably the same one that endured during the height of Dr. King’s reign. I think we will still have a hard time attempting to unite our race, our people, and our culture. We probably won’t ever be able to do it because there are so many varied interests.
    So, what’s our solution? Something a little different. We become more educated, make more connections, and instead of trying to unite everyone or waiting on someone to unite us, we unite those that we can. We’re not done, we’ve got more work to do, and while we wait, we continue to work and follow.
    -DTW

  • I totally agree there must be followers in order to be effective leaders. However, I have noticed that some leaders fail to recognize the students with pen and notebook in hand who are sitting humbly before their feet. One of my favorite quotes by an author I cannot recall at this time is, “he who leads, but has no followers is only taking a walk.” Perhaps, we lack followers because some of the leaders are simply walking full of pride and forget that building leaders is apart of leadership????? Food for Thought….

  • Keisha,
    Your points are right on point! In my opinion, developing leaders has every much to do with chemistry and compatibility. It’s true that a person may be overlooked in the leadership selection and development process, however, chemistry must be present if the development is to take place. I’m not talking about the leader surrounding herself with people she likes or yes people, but with people she doesn’t mind being around for extended periods of time.
    Darius,
    You brought some interesting points that I will address in subsequent posts…stay tuned…