"Self proclaimed" black leaders?

Are there any instances of public figures actually proclaiming themselves to be “black leaders”? Particularly Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. I’ve personally never, ever heard anyone call themselves that, and I want to say that it’s a lazy media-borne convention to label them so, but I could be wrong.

Martin Luther King Jr. promoted Jesse Jackon to be national director of the SCLC in 1967. Jesse Jackson appointed Al Sharpton as youth director of Operation Breadbasket in 1969. In short, before and after Dr. King’s assasination in 1968, Jackson and Sharpton would become heirs of King’s leadership.

I don’t get your post. It’s interesting, but it doesn’t answer the OP: did either Jackson or Sharpton (or King for that matter) proclaim themselves as Black leaders, or even leaders of Black America?

Ok… Is that supposed to be a “yes” answer? That’s not an example of anyone calling themselves a “black leader”. Did MLK even call himself that?

As a person on the other side of the planet looking at this:

MLK never called himself a black leader. In fact, I don’t think he called himself anything. He was genuine.

Jackson is some sort of sleazy creep that people once paid lip service to but have now given up doing even that.

Is that accurate?

I found this quote by him but the context isn’t clear, so I don’t know if he’s referring to himself or not.

Ok, that’s something. Though if that’s the closest anyone has come to calling themselves a leader of blacks then that’s nowhere near a justification for the constant usage of that loaded, divisive term.

It would be unusual, bordering on inappropriate, for such a label to be self-applied. The nature of the label in its average use is closer to an honorific that is extended by others.

“Lazy” is an unfair pejorative here.

“Black leader” is usually used as shorthand and nothing more.

There are broad themes in American life that incorporate issues of particular concern to segments of our population. Among those segments are voices who step foward and make comments in forums that are designed to reach as wide an audience as possible. Those comments frequently refer to population segments as if they were a homogeneous group and as if that group’s predominant interests were being accurately represented by the person making the comment.

To the extent that an external source–say, the media–applies the label and it is not actively rejected by the individual to whom the label is applied (“Hey; I’m just Jesse Jackson. I don’t have any particular leadership or voice with respect to black concerns…”) it is a reasonable inference that the label “black leader” is a mantle contentedly worn and self-embraced.

If the NAACP has a mission statement embracing promotion of equality for colored peoples and Julian Bond makes a statement about a black issue in the context of his role there, it is reasonable to assume that Mr. Bond is speaking as a black leader who has specifically taken on that role. Indeed, to assume otherwise would be an affront to Mr. Bond.

I feel the same way about ‘gay leader’ and the like. No one person or group represents an entire demographic.

Yeah, you’ve got it more-or-less pegged.

Al Sharpton is a bit more complicated. He’s prone to Jackson-esque attention-whoring, but unlike Jesse he’s a genuine minister, and he strikes me as being a fairly intelligent guy.

It’s completely apt, and you explain that perfectly well with the rest of your post.

…yes, that fits nicely under the “lazy” moniker.

Is there even evidence of this happening in regards to this specific topic, i.e. black people and black leaders? I brought this up because “self-proclaimed” often used to excuse one’s sloppy application of the “honorific”. That it’s both lazy and divisive is obvious, for the reasons you’ve stated - it implies there’s a homogeneous group of people with a separate and unique set of issues and goals that can be led by a single mind or small group of minds. It’s easier to believe and talk as if that’s the case than it is to believe that you can’t predict a person’s views and goals (and aptitude) solely based on the race he was born into. So in order to deflect the responsibility of perpetuating that divisiveness, people “honoring” certain public figures with the title of “black leaders” often claim that the figures granted themselves that title.
So you’re saying that no one really does that directly, but rather indirectly. Yet I’ve never even heard any bold implications from these vilified “leaders” of speaking for blacks as a homogeneous group.

With a little effort and thought, one can be more accurate about describing whomever they’re describing. Civil rights activist; director of a black civil rights group; black civil rights activist; Gay civil rights activist; local community leader, or even “Leftist black civil rights activist” if it’s normal for the publication to point out political affiliation.

That’s completely ridiculous. If they don’t actively deny whatever label is thrown at them then they’ve embraced it?

No, that’s completely unreasonable. The only thing that’s reasonable, if you’re going to say that he speaks for more than just himself, is that he speaks for the entirety of the NAACP.

To be fair, I’ve never to my knowledge seen the phrase “self-proclaimed black leader”. Far more often it’s the phrase “so-called”.

For what it’s worth, from here: http://www.rainbowpush.org/about/revjackson.html

The only “leader” title I was able to find was “Civil rights leader” and “highly respected and trusted world leader”.

Here is a fairly typical example of the sort of usage I think you are referring to:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2003-10-09-ghettopoly_x.htm

While this is not GD, I fail to find it either lazy or divisive. In this case the leaders were a couple of pastors, a President of a Black Clergy group and Men United for a Better Philadelphia. Those expressing their voices were doing so from a position of leadership within a predominantly black constituency, and they were doing so out of concern for an issue that had a unique impact on their followers.

The term is used as a shorthand.

I do not think any readers without a chip on their shoulders would read anything divisive into the use of the term. Moreover I do not think the ‘black leaders’ referenced would argue that they are not black leaders.

That’s great, “I don’t see where you’re coming from so I’ll insult you”. And yet you keep explaining how it’s divisive, as it implies a unique set of issues and interests, when there are plenty of people amongst those involuntarily lumped under the unchosen political label who would disagree that they are subject to a unique set of issues and interests.

No, it’s a sloppy misappropriation. So the story was that a couple of pastors and a president of a community organization complained about the game. That their constituency is made up of mostly blacks does not elevate their status to “black leaders” anymore than Bill Gate’s constituency makes him a “white leader”. They’re leaders and they’re black, but “black leaders” implies “leaders of black people”, not people in leadership positions who happen to be black.

That you believe that is predictable but completely irrelevant.

You know, not to hijack pizzabrat’s thread, but I have never understood the vitriol that so many direct towards Jesse Jackson. I might start a GD thread about it.

You’re absolutely right. Why would I have anything against him? I don’t live in “Hymietown”.

I mean, while we’re talking about racism and all…

If we can move this to GD or the Pit perhaps it bears further discussion.