Legislator’s dreams don’t seem to include black people

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Last month, the old TV program Good Times hit the floor of the Minnesota Legislature, bucking and running and shouting like JJ: “Dyn-o-mite.” The Gophers and Twins got their stadiums, the Vikings got a broken treaty, and us black folks got put back in our place. Again.

Man, you can’t have it better than this to be white in Minnesota — a chicken in every pot, a Cadillac in every garage, every black man in a zoot suit, and no blacks on white worksites.

More than a year ago (4-20-05), I forecast a potential $5 billion boom in public works (stadium, Mall of America casino, “destination” development in Blaine, a hub to extend light rail from Minneapolis to St. Cloud with another new casino, and ancillary projects and necessary infrastructure development for all of this). The two problems we saw were zero participation for blacks and the Vikes being let out of town.

When we asked about blacks participating in this coming boom, our so-called black leaders reacted with silence. We asked, “Where is the plan for blacks’ share of jobs, development?” Again, a terrifying scream of silence from our so-called black leaders.

Now the legislature writes its own Good Times script the way they like: JJ unemployed. When black legislators say every “best effort” would be made to guarantee that the zoot suits would have full employment, you know they are jiving.

Remember “good faith effort” and “fair share.” It’s back to the old “take my hand, close your eyes, and just walk off the cliff.”

You see, my friends, what the legislature did to us on the questions of diversity and fairness was to cut us out of contracts and hiring at these magnificent new projects. Our so-called black “leaders” purposefully rolled over and went to sleep, singing their “don’t do nuthin’” lullaby. They are like Calhoun on the old Amos ’n’ Andy radio and TV show, who, as he went out the door with the deed to your house, turned and said, “Andy, don’t you do nuthin’ ’til you hear from me.”

Black Minnesotans, be advised: The first kick-off will take place, the first pitch will be thrown, and we in black Minnesota will still be waiting for our fair share. We warned that that this Othello tragedy could take place. Besides those mentioned above, we have noted how the Enterprise Zones were excluding blacks and how the black-owned parking ramp service was shut down. Black leaders’ response: “Don’t you do nuthin’…”

Ask yourself these questions as you read this column: Who developed the plan for all of these new public works? How will it be enforced? Who benefits? Don’t you see, my friends, that their golden dreams don’t include black workers?

We refer you once again to Minnesota’s Compliance Hall of Shame. We ask: Can anyone show us, can anyone prove to us, that not only will we have a fair shot as black Minnesotans, but that we will make a fair profit? And I’m not talking about a couple of black contractors whose claim to fame is how many contracts they passed back through to Ol’ Massa.

As we have asked before, what are the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and the NAACP doing to fight for participation by black contractors and black workers and to combat the city’s failure to be in compliance? Nothin’.