SEARCH BLOG: KWAME KILPATRICK and DETROIT
Now that the content of his character is on display for the nation, Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick will be held up as another example of how black politicians simply can't be trusted.
Coleman Young was the first black mayor of Detroit. He presided over the white flight and the business flight. But he was a hero to the black population of the city. Still, while he certainly did nothing to stem the exodus, he was not solely responsible. He was smart enough to know that the city could not survive without the suburbs. Unfortunately, his own personal experiences created a style of confrontation with anything white. It set the stage for a continual decline of the city.
Dennis Archer was the next black mayor. He was a true gentleman and person of integrity. That was his downfall. He was called a "white black man" by many of the Coleman Young loyalists who preferred racial confrontation to logic and reason. After eight years of working to restore a working relationship with the suburbs, Mayor Archer simply had enough of the backstabbing from the Young politicos and the Detroit populace.
The 2001 race for mayor pitted Gil Hill against Kwame Kilpatrick. Hill wasn't much of a grandstander. He was a councilman... head of the city council. He knew how to get things done; he didn't know how to oppose Kwame Kilpatrick who played the anti-white to the hilt. Kwame was cool, he was hip, he was going to be a black mayor...
By the time the 2005 campaign was in high gear, Kwame Kilpatrick could do no wrong... no matter how wrong it was... with the black voters of Detroit. His opponent, Freman Hendrix, was a former deputy mayor under Dennis Archer; former chairman of the appointed Detroit school board; former assistant Wayne County executive; former chief operating officer of Strategic Staffing Solutions. He had a fatal flaw: he was a well-qualified, honest, white black man... literally. His mother was a blond, blue-eyed, Austrian-born woman... similar to the situation of a certain presidential candidate this year. He certainly didn't fit the image of a mayor that Detroit voters wanted.
So, Detroit got a Motown, hip-hop Kwame Kilpatrick, and Washington, D.C. got Marion Berry who saw no big difference between using Coke™ and coke, and New Orleans got it's "chocolate city" mayor Ray Nagin. It seems wherever a black mayor made the news, it was to show the white population in America that there could never be a black leader that made any sense whatsoever to whites.
Well, despite the Kilpatricks and Berrys and Nagins of this country, I have seen enough honorable and capable black leaders in business, politics, and my own neighborhood to say that it is a fool's trap to equate those mayors with the overall quality of black leaders.
That said, there are some major questions about the black voters who choose those types of mayors to be their leaders.Apparently, there are too many black voters who either never heard Martin Luther King's remarks about the content of one's character versus the color of one's skin or thought Dr. King was just another white black man.
Does that mean that you have to be a white black man to be a good black leader? No, you have to be an person of integrity... regardless of race or gender.
In fact, there may be more of a problem in the presumption that a white black man must be a good leader.But that's another post.