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The Ernest Opinion: Calling out Philly's black elite

It's time for those who've risen to the top and see themselves as an inspiration to those at the bottom to use their wealth and clout to combat social injustice, not just pay lip service.
A protester holds a Black Lives Matter sign during a rally in Philadelphia.Getty Images

In Philadelphia, many of the major power-brokers are black.

They are the politicos, lawyers, consultants,and business owners who live in Center City, the Main Line, and Montgomery County. They’re the folks who have the inner-circle talks at Del Frisco’s for happy hour, throw private parties at the 1925 Lounge on Saturday nights and have no problem flauntingtheir wealth on social media.

They are the black elite in Philadelphia andthey’re unapologetically convinced that their rising to the top should be an inspiration to all those still living at the bottom. In other words, they believe their presence is charity.

I’ve mingled with them, and at one time I thoughta connection would bring about progressive collaboration on how to address our community's persistent hardships. Ithought wrong.

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Instead, I’ve cometo realize that in hard times,such as last week’s devastating racial turmoil of extrajudicial police shootings and retaliation,this particular group is only trying to pay lip service.

Last week, my timeline was filled with theirlong social media posts grieving lost lives. Some of them even published guest pieces in predominately white publications giving out countless written solutions on how these issues can be addressed.

Such actions would have been plausible had these individualsnot been former employees and current influencers of the very political system that they seek to criticize only in writing. In other words, talk is cheap when you’re bumping shoulders every day with the very people in power that can actually address such pressingconflicts.

So this is my call for action: all those whoare black that hold political capital and clout in this city needto do more than just empathize, but represent.

It’s getting pretty old seeing the constant“Appreciation Day” parties that some black state representativesdo in the community to hide the lack of real social justice they should be pursuingin Harrisburg. It’s beginning to get played out seeing fundraisers for urban nonprofits being helddowntown, but never inthe hood.

I’mtired of the prosperity gospel in speechesat graduation ceremonies when the cameras are rolling, but never any other time.

Because everyone’s so damn busy, they whine.

But what gives you the time to exploit our communities should be the same atonement you have to bring about restorative justice.

Within the confines of Philly’s City Hall,Financial District, property development community, and law enforcement office lies greed, corruption, and mismanagement. Our black elite knows what goes on behind the scenes and their embarrassing silence on it is partially responsible for the death of innocentcivilians.

It’s time for them to speak out and loud about these issues. This would be a testament of how real compassion becomessacrifice as such deeds will require integrity. Right now, our nation is burning and it’s high time for those who can closely identify with us to show their solidarity.

 
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