While there has been an increase in the amount of Black elected officials throughout America’s culture today, as opposed to the reflection many decades ago; a myth has been created that suggests, we Africans living in America have balanced a previously unleveled playing ground. But, it doesn’t take a political analyst or researcher to convey to the nation, that African-Americans in elected offices are still subject to the same measures of discrimination, disrespect and disregard as the common untitled Black person is.
The scales of history have remained unequal when it comes to the differentials of the color of skin of African-Americans, regardless of position, intellectual ability or otherwise. It is a sad reality that there is not really anything that is set to change that mentality in these United States either. Simply because it is an inherited persona that has been accepted and carried from generation to generation, since the inception of this nation. This is one of the primary reasons that, I have often relayed that, “There is just something about this Blackness that is seriously misunderstood.” Granted people tend to fret those things and forces of nature, that they do not understand and we Africans living in America; are no exception to that rule.
Recently, another apparent disrespectful attempt was imposed on our own Mayor. Mayor Sylvester Turner, one of Acres Homes’ finest, has been at the height of tensions amongst members that his role as leader of this city authorizes him to employ. Members of the Houston Fire Department have been outraged due to a dispute regarding pay raises.
At a Houston Rockets game, Mayor Turner extended a handshake to a fire inspector who was working security at the professional sporting event. The City of Houston employee blatantly circumvented the genuine gesture offered by his superior. In return, Mayor Turner requested a simple display of respect from the inspector. Once the Mayor realized that his attempts would be to no avail, members of his detail documented his information off of his identification.
In his defense, Mayor Turner issued a statement. In his delivery he said, “I respect first responders and all employees of Houston. I work to earn their respect every day. But more important is what the people of Houston deserve. What they deserve is a unified work force that concentrates on providing public safety and public service…” He continued, “Codes of conduct are in place to emphasize public service. Ninety-nine percent of employees follow them. Violations should not be tolerated.” He also told Channel 2, “If you are not professional and if you are disrespectful, as a city employee, on duty, in uniform then yes, I expect for you to be disciplined.” To that regard, this was the second incident resulting in a firefighter avoiding shaking the mayor’s hand. To add injury to insult, there are those who have chosen to defend the actions of the firefighters, rather than showing unity with their leader.
Regardless, of the basis of reasoning for the actions demonstrated by governmental employees; the fact remains that there is no viable justification for it. We MUST Understand that in the City of Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner has been elected to serve as leader for our community here. Therefore, he has earned a right to receive the same respect that he renders. Although firefighters were valued supporters for the mayor, in his election; it should not easily be assumed that he is obligated to provide any favors on behalf of his position. I have to agree with Councilmember Michael Kubosh who offered words on the matter. He said, “The mayor has got to do what’s best for the overall city and the taxpayer, not any individual group.”
At the end of the day, when it comes down to African-Americans in authoritative positions; the fact remains that we are held to a higher standard with less respect. This factor alone equals a form of injustice and inequality throughout these United States. I often wonder if we Africans living in America will ever arrive to the dream that the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., envisioned for members of our community? He dreamed of a land where his children and our children will live in a nation where we would be judged by the content of our character, as opposed to being the color of our skin. It appears that this destination is one that is immeasurably unattainable.
Concluding, it really does not matter how good of a job our mayor does leading this city, to some people. The color of his skin is a badge that he will continue to be judged by, without respect to his perfections while in office. There will always be those that will exist to remind him of their displeasure all because, he does not look like him. So yes, I will continue to express that there is Something about this Blackness that is seriously misunderstood. Our mayor is not the first and definitely won’t be the last in his African-American in the position to be targeted because of what some chose to blame on decision-making skills; while avoid stating the obvious. Mayor Turner’s role stands parallel to former President Barack Obama. To this day, there are those who are dead-set on wiping out the legacy that he left on record. Why? Because a true “documented and acknowledged” Black man was never supposed to have that much power in these United States.