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The Black mega-preacher T.D. Jakes is perturbed, feeling let down by President Bush, by Bush's father, the former President, and former President Bill Clinton. Bishop Jakes and other clergy had been promised that $20 million in privately-raised Katrina aid would be distributed through their faith-based institutions. George W. Bush himself chose Jakes as a co-chairman of the group that would distribute the money, part of $110 million raised by Bush's father and Bill Clinton. That was right after the hurricane hit. Now, six months later, these Black preachers haven't gotten a dime. Bishop Jakes, who flirts endlessly with the Republicans, says he is annoyed, frustrated, and angry - his way of saying, "Show me the money!"

To put this situation in context, we must go back in history, to over a century ago, when Booker T. Washington made his famous compromise with white and corporate power. Washington infuriated Blacks who were trying to resist the growth of Jim Crow and lynch law rule. Rather than fight for the political rights of Black people, Booker T. promised to drop Black political demands - that is, demands for democracy in the South. In return, Booker T. and his minions would become the beneficiaries of corporate philanthropy, which they could distribute as they saw fit, to Blacks who were willing to cease demanding their democratic rights. Booker T. Washington's deal with the devil promised to elevate Blacks economically, if they would stop agitating for social and political equality.

However, there was a problem, as Harvard University's Dr. Martin Kilson brilliantly pointed out in the March 2 issue of The Black Commentator. Booker T. Washington's compromising model could only work if the corporate millionaires he cultivated were sincere about uplifting millions of Black people out of poverty. And they were not. The rich whites he allied himself with were glad to fund Booker T. Washington's Tuskegee political machine, and to elevate him to the status of national Black political leader. But they had no intention of freeing Black people as a group from grinding poverty. Booker T's rich white friends reneged on the deal, and as a result, there arose a more militant Black activism that demanded full citizenship. This is the model that carried us to the 1950s and '60s Civil Rights Movement - and which should have buried Booker T.-type compromises once and for all.

But George Bush's crowd has attempted to resurrect the Booker T. model, with the assistance of preachers like T.D. Jakes. And, like his rich white predecessors, Bush will also renege on his commitments to those Blacks who are so happy to kiss up to him. T.D. Jakes has not gotten his $20 million Katrina check, because the corporate rulers have no intention of allowing Blacks from New Orleans to regroup and return. That will only happen as a result of the most intense political confrontation with the powers-that-be - a struggle that T.D. Jakes and his ilk, like Booker T. Washington, will never undertake. For Radio BC, I'm Glen Ford.

You can visit the Radio BC page to listen to any of our audio commentaries voiced by BC Co-Publisher and Executive Editor, Glen Ford. We publish the text of the radio commentary each week along with the audio program.

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March 9, 2006
Issue 174

is published every Thursday.

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