The “stay in your lane” argument confronting many Black politicos and high-profile personalities today is peculiar to the core. Many argue that Dr. King and others would not have approved of today’s methods of speaking out against racism, social injustices, and civic oversights. Yet, those same folks who make that argument overlook the fact that the modest Baptist preacher and his poor cohorts stepped outside of their comfort zone to improve America.
A department store worker overturned the segregation laws of Montgomery. A thief-turned-minister inspired millions for decades with his words and deeds. That’s just in the 20th century in the past 60 years.
Anyone that continues to disseminate the notion that politics has its separate lane and should not be infused with race, culture, and gender – particularly when African Americans and minorities feel it necessary to address a grievance – fails to understand American history and the interplay between politics and society throughout.
Speaking up as a nation often results in elevating past a condition that previously hindered our collective greatness. Highlighting the inconsistencies within modern America concerning race, gender, religious, and cultural inclusion and equality throughout our nation’s past is not baiting anyone towards hate. Speaking up challenges us to step into the truth, whether that involves looking again at the inconsistencies of “Stand Your Ground” cases or into the mirror to see how we can improve society through applying political positions across the two major parties.
Regardless of what anyone thinks, Black conservatives should be speaking up on issues of race and culture, especially as we continue to watch Black America get decimated by crime, unemployment, substance abuse, and health issues. (For those that do not believe that “Black America” exists, I invite you to walk with us down Cottage Grove Avenue in Chicago, the Hill District in Pittsburgh, and other places throughout America to see the difference.)
Just the same, Black progressives should be speaking out on the role of religion in urban America and the need for education reform outside of bureaucracies and unions. The moral development of America concerning race and other cultural issues developed due to Black Americans (and certainly other Americans of all colors and creeds) extending themselves past the traditional boundaries of their professional and civic roles.
If a Mormon can exclaim that “…we’re all Catholics now…” in the name of freedom, this is certainly not the time for Black politicos and media personalities to pipe down from standing up for justice and equality out of fear of “playing the race card.” This is a troubled and bitter time in America, increasingly so for African Americans watching the work of previous generations slip away. Perhaps there is no sweeter time for diversity to speak up and ring true for freedom for the sake of our nation – even if Black politicos, personalities, and media professionals are advised to merely “stay in our lanes.”
LENNY MCALLISTER is a senior contributor to Politic 365 that can be found every Saturday with Democratic pundit Maria Cardona on “CNN Saturday Morning” at 10:30 AM Eastern (9:30 Central / 7:30 Pacific.) He is regularly featured on CNN’s “Early Start” weekdays 5:00 AM – 7:00 AM Eastern and CNN Newsroom at 12:30 PM Eastern. Hear “The McAllister Minute” on the American Urban Radio Network each week and catch the radio show “Get Right with Lenny McAllister” live on LMGILIVE.com at 11 AM Eastern weekdays and re-broadcast on Politic 365.