Sunday, March 26, 2017

What a sorry lot we have allowed ourselves to become

November 23, 2015 by Las Vegas Black Image Magazine  
Filed under Feature

BY LOUIE OVERSTREET

Louie Overstreet

You might be asking yourself: Why use “we” to describe our sorry lot? Well, folks — “we” means black civic organizations, individuals and elected officials. Our combined failure to work together has plunged us to what, just a decade ago, would have been unimaginable depths.

My belief is that 2005 was the apex year for measurable outcomes of black influence in Las Vegas — through collaborative efforts with other minority organizations, viability of minority communication vehicles, partnerships with casinos to promote employment and contracting opportunities, and black political clout within elective bodies. Today, you couldn’t get our black elected officials to hold a joint press conference if their lives depended on it — as is often the case for blacks who are preyed upon by our own people or subjected to the use of deadly force by law enforcement.

As is usually the case, when it comes to us, personality differences prevent us from finishing the race just before we collectively cross the finish line. Advertising revenue that once supported black communication organs began to disappear, and major entities began placing some of their “aunt and uncle” employees — if you get my drift — on the boards of advocacy groups to undermine the effectiveness of these organizations. Then, black politicians began to be subjected to attacks by the majority media.

Sponsors of events were plentiful. I remember one affair — hosted jointly by black, brown, and Asian groups — drawing in excess of 1,200 attendees. Nowadays, you can attend a minority organization-sponsored event and a bowling tournament in the same space, at the same time, and they would not be in each other’s way.

Then, the severe economic downturn hit in late summer of 2008, giving the power structures in both politics and business all the excuse they needed to drastically reduce support for minority economic involvement and diversity.

While there are notable exceptions, I must, regrettably, point the finger at our elected officials as being most responsible for our community’s plunge into the abyss of political and economic irrelevance. Their inaction speaks volumes.

Better read it while you can, because it’s doubtful that most of these black politicians even support Black Image magazine, the publication that carries this column. I know they don’t advertise in the magazine come election time. Oh my!

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