Project 21 New Visions

 

"Some of My Best Friends are Black" - A Business Proposal


by Kevin Martin

 


Earlier this year, Al Sharpton beat up on Howard Dean during a presidential primary debate about the lack of blacks and Hispanics in Dean's cabinet when he was governor of Vermont. More recently, John Kerry has been criticized for not having enough diversity in his campaign. It all gave me the idea for a great new business opportunity.

In Dean's case, he had to admit that his administration (like the Clinton White House) had a distinct lack of minorities in its inner circle.

This isn't the reason Dean went on to lose every presidential primary (with the exception of the one in D.C. that didn't award delegates), but it certainly didn't help him.

Dean and his handlers later sought to downplay the impact of Sharpton's words by using a standard white liberal response, namely, the "some of my best friends are black" defense.

With this ringing in my head, my thoughts lead me to wonder if I shouldn't start a new business called "Some of My Best Friends are Black." It would provide a valuable service to white liberals with vulnerable racial records, such as Dean. They can come into my store, pick through my stock of black "friends" for hire and rent a new best black friend.

After using my valuable service, white liberals can comfortably host parties at their homes or appear at public events to show off their new black friend.

If the customer has political aspirations, then they can hold news conferences with their new black friend standing behind them.

Just think about the business I could do on Capitol Hill, in the salons of Georgetown and at socialite parties in New York City alone, I would stock a whole range of quality black best friends of various stereotypes: liberal, sellout, victim, funnyman, "Stepin Fetchit," hip-hopper and jive-talker. They'll be in-stock and out-the-door at a moment's notice for my white liberal clientele.

If my customer is running for President, I'll break out something from my Congressional Caucus, Rainbow/Push and NAACP lines - best friends who will give shining endorsement without question. And they won't expect much in return.

I could corner the market in relieving liberal white guilt within a week with this gig. "Every white liberal needs a black best friend, and now you can get your own when you rent from 'Some of My Best Friends are Black.'"

Sharpton, for his part, should be commended for exposing the real Howard Dean to America. The members of the Congressional Black Caucus, however, should be condemned for simply handing their endorsements to a man who, as governor, really needed some affirmative action in his cabinet. But the sad reality of the matter is that most of the black community will back candidates like him without question like an overbeaten lapdog as long as they continue to consider only liberal candidates.

When Sharpton is done with his presidential run, perhaps he'd like to become my business partner. We could set up our first shop on Martin Luther King Avenue in D.C., so we could force our liberal white customers to come to the a black neighborhood and reinforce their guilt trip. They deserve it because it will (hopefully) show them, firsthand, the results of their failed social and economic programs. They were supposed to have helped minorities like me. They haven't. In fact, they've devastated communities like mine.

Besides inflating my own bank account, my business could bring significant benefit to black American as a whole. We could have shops in Hollywood and major northern cities like New York and Boston. We could employ millions of currently jobless blacks and jump-start the black economy within a year.

I'm not crazy. I think I could make this work. As Don King says, "Only in America."


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Kevin Martin, a member of the African-American leadership network Project 21, is an environmental contractor in Maryland. Comments may be sent to [email protected].

Published June 2004 by The National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21.


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