"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
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
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
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
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
I'm not crazy. I think I could make this
work. As Don King says, "Only in America."
Kevin Martin, a member of the
African-American leadership network Project 21, is an environmental
contractor in Maryland. Comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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