The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

Failing to Lead

I woke up this morning and heard that Dr. Dorothy Height, past president of the National Council of Negro Women, had passed. Last week, Benjamin Hooks-civil rights leader and a past executive director of the NAACP-died.

Their passings, while sad in their own right, aren’t the worst parts of the story. What’s sadder than their deaths is the fact that there seems to be no one willing to step in their shoes.

Look at these leaders-and Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, and all the others we’ve lost in the beginning of the 21st century-and you see inspiring examples of individuals who had no political agenda beyond the betterment of their community. For the most part, they spoke neither Democrat or Republican; all that mattered to them was the elevation of blacks in America to their rightful place among other Americans. In fact, their nonpartisanship-or a partisanship that they kept private-has been an integral part of their appeal to all.

What does my generation have? Rev. Jackson and Rev. Sharpton-who not only don’t speak for a lot of the community, but are pretty much now recogonized as putting the political over the morally right and raising the race flag to levels that are well beyond most people’s comprehension. There’s also Tavis Smiley, who seems to be more concerned with making money than holding anyone truly “accountable.” Yet, they-Sharpton and Smiley more so recently-routinely appear on TV as “leaders” of the black community.

Who do they lead? Who do they speak for?

Dr. Height organized a program called Wednesdays in Mississippi whose objective was to bring women of different races, from different areas of the country, to not only tackle the racial issues of the day, but to encourage and uplift each other as women. Do you think, for one second, that we wouldn’t benefit from that type of dialogue today-not just for women, but for men as well?

And not just for blacks, but for the whole country?

That’s the true essence of being a leader. It’s not how many times you can get on TV or how many books you can sell. True leaders seek to unite, not divide. True leaders bring together segments of the populace that, under certain cirumstances, would rarely unite and not only force them to tackle the tough issues…but force them to do so together. True leadership knows when the rightness of a solution outshines the politics of it.

The measure of a true leader isn’t presenting sales, it’s presenting solutions.

Not so today. We’re bogged down in Confederate History Month and wondering why the president hasn’t done enough for the “black agenda.”  CHM was a mistake of one person that’s since been corrected…yet every day, there’s a new group meeting with the governor to discuss it. Where are the discussions-with the same level of intensity and “outrage” about the number of  babies being aborted? The number of kids dropping out of school, or graduating unprepared for their responsibilities in society? While these are problems that disporportionately affect the black community, they’re not just black problems-they’re American ones. We’re affected by them collectively and pay for them collectively, but we don’t discuss them…individually or collectively.

 Being a father now, I’ve largely given up on making my community better for myself. I say that because most of the groundwork that was done to make my community what it is was done before I was even thought of. What I do now is for my kids, and their kids-and your kids…because they’re the ones who get to leave with what we leave them.

And in terms of true leaders, we’re not leaving them much.

HB2DF, Coby

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Written by Coby Dillard

April 20, 2010 at 9:32 am

One Response

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  1. AMEN!

    Jennifer Stone

    April 20, 2010 at 10:28 am


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