The African American community forms approximately 13% of the United States population. This makes them a minority group. This has led to them being ignored politically and economically for a long time. They are consistently plagued with severe economic and political challenges that leave the community languishing in poverty and disparity. The situation in Miami-Dade is no exception. The reluctance of the government to reverse the harsh factors that led to the severe consequences of ‘Brain Drain’ which has made the African American population prone to suffering severe consequences for lack of political and economic muscle. The situation has not been made any better by the establishment of the Hispanic political Hegemony. This has resulted in more detrimental effects to African American political interests than before. This is because it has reduced their bargaining powers and the requisite numbers required to front a candidate.
In the last few decades there has been an increasingly inflation of Hispanics in the Miami-Dade. In return, two main political groups have emerged which mainly include whites and Hispanics. The increased number of Hispanics has tilted the scales in disfavor of African Americans. There has been a considerable loss of political power to these ‘immigrants’, who according to most of the original inhabitants of Miami-Dade, do not subscribe to the same schools of political thought and development. The large scale immigration has ensured that the white social, political and economic power has been taken by the Hispanic population.
The Metro Miami Action plan was developed in the realization that the blacks in Miami had totally been ignored in the ongoing war between the Hispanic and Whites. Due to their increased presence, Hispanics have used their numeric strengths to bully other communities around. For example, most of them are reluctant to take their children to schools leading to the presence of significant numbers of unruly youths on the streets. They have also refused to learn English because they believe it is not necessary. They believe that because they are now the majority of the population, they should not be subjected to a culture and language of a minority group. This has led to a lot of difficulties with regard to communication between Hispanics and non-Hispanics. The MMAP has, therefore, been a significant agency that has been instrumental in ensuring the coordination and advocating of the blacks’ community programs and activities. This has been done with an open mind and in the interest of having an inclusive culture to ameliorate all sectors and parts of the larger Mimi-Dade community. This is vital because the creation and success of the Hispanic political hegemony has been extremely detrimental to African Americans with regards to their political voice. It has made it possible for the government to be able to ignore their interests and developmental progress. A great sense of mistrust now exists between the black’s community and the government. Its origin can be traced back to the McDuffie riots that occurred during the 1980s. The main causes of these riots were the existing severe poverty levels and disparities among the African American community. Moreover, their furor was catalyzed by the enormous existing gap between their wealth levels and that of the non-blacks. There is an urgent need, therefore, to ensure that these problems are handled effectively to tackle the fundamental issues. There is a need to overcome the challenges and disparities in jobs creation, education, economics, criminal justice and education. It is essential to realize that fact that a community that is polarized among ethics lines cannot succeed in any developmental agenda. It will always be fighting among them. It is imperative that a society is at peace with itself in order to create and establish an ambience of developmental friendly society. In order to achieve this, there must be harmony, cohesion and unity of purpose. This will not only ensure that the government’s activities are implemented effectively, but are also prioritized and emphasized. Moreover, private investments will also increase immensely because of increased trust among the citizens. Increase of private investments will also increase foreign investments. All these will lead to wealth creation through employments opportunities. An economically empowered community will have the requisite muscles to compete for not only political recognition, but also more fundamental political relevance. The interests of all community members are considered irrespective of whether they form the majority of the population or not. Such developments in modern societies are in line with democratic systems of government, whereby despite the majority having their way to political powers and influence, the minority will have their say and their interests must also be taken into account where significant decisions are being made. This is in the interest of justice, mutual cooperation and development.
The latest MMAP study reveal massive disparities still exist between ethnic and racial communities since the infamous 1980s riots and the creation of Miami-Dade County in the year 1983. This is a clear indication that the situation have not improved. In fact, it is worse because of improved technological changes. In the recent report the FIU Metropolitan Center, while using the original 16 indices used in the 1983 assessment, the report reveal that 5 indicators demonstrated that the situation has worsened off than before, 7 of the indicators reveal that the racial and ethnic community disparities have ameliorated and 4 of the indicators demonstrated that the situation was fundamentally the same. Therefore, despite sincere and consistent efforts by the Miami-Dade County government, to fight and eradicate social and economic disparities among the African American community and the Miami-Dade community at large, there has been little success far.
In order to arrive at an objective finding that is both credible and reflects the reality on the ground, the MMAP indices use their 1983 indices and findings in relation to the best available day in contemporary Miami-Dade. The use of this matrix serves a fundamental purpose of illustrating the depth or improvement of racial and ethnic disparity levels within the county. This is mainly between the African American population and other communities including Hispanics. The main significant factors determined during the study include access to housing, employment opportunities, and economic levels, access to education, demographic trends, public health care and representation of the African American in the criminal justice system in relation to their population size and compared to ratio of other communities. With increased political control of political powers by the Hispanic political hegemony, there is an increased level of anxiety. This was revealed by the report on black’s community progress after 30 years which indicated that 47% of those interviewed believe that the future of a black youth will either be unsatisfactory or poor. This is because of increased segregation and discrimination in public schools systems by non-black students. The school system has failed to initiate and to implement reforms that will cater for the black youth, therefore, failing to serve their interests. On the other hand, the situation for Hispanics is different; those who attend school integrate in the system with ease. Moreover, they have been performing considerably better than black students despite them having problems with the English language. The metropolitan research report indicates a slight improvement with regard to the African American median family income. It shows that was at 21.5% in 2005 from 28.2% in 1989. However, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of African American owned business enterprises, which has recorded 600% increase. The education sector has also demonstrated slight improvements with 6.1% school dropout rates being recorded from the 1983 figures of 8.9%. Nevertheless, there still exist significant difficulties with regard to the criminal justice sector.
The county of Miami-Dade today has about 2,000,000 residents. More than 1,000,000 are Hispanics. This makes it the county with the majority numbers of Hispanics in the United States. Despite the diversity in cultures, languages and lifestyle; Hispanics have acquired a commanding role, and today control a significant part of the county’s political, social and economic power. This has been referred to as the emergency of the Hispanic political hegemony. Their dominance, unfortunately, has not been characterized by an inclusive culture that early featured in the county. The African American community’s political ambitious have been quashed and silenced totally.Hispanics have an extremely cohesive, adhesive and secretive culture. They all tend to rally behind one of their own. They have also been heavily criticized for their segregation and discriminatory nature. They tend to look down upon African American as inferior beings. It is upon this basis that they have denied any African American resident with political ambitious a chance to lead. They have become a significant player in the county’s politics. The fact that they make up 60.6% of the county’s population is strong enough to force any county government not to ignore their interest. Unfortunately, they push for the realization of their interest at the expense of other minority groups’ interest. It is also worth noting that with regard to voting, people with a Cuban descent are approximately above 50% of the voting population in the county. Therefore, they have also achieved political self-sufficiency. They fact they have the numbers and usually vote as a block is a clear indication that no one can be elected to lead without their blessing. This is a central problem for the ambitions of the African American political ambitious. There are two cardinal reasons. One is because despite facing similar developmental challenges Hispanics and African American have no mutual trust and lack a good working relationship. This makes it extremely hard for any person from an African America descent to be able to convince Hispanics population to vote for him. The situation will also be more challenging when another Hispanic is vying for the same political seat. Their cohesive and adhering nature makes it unfeasible for an outsider to penetrate them and build a trust relationship with them. The deep seated and highly politicized ethnic and racial disparity is also major hindrance to African American political ambitious. This is enhanced by the conservative nature of immigrants and the tendency to adhere to traditions. Despite a few members of the Hispanic population developing more liberal ideas, most of them are still heavily influenced by the philosophy of Fidel Castro and communism. Therefore, most of them are exclusively conservative in their political beliefs. The second reason for consistent failure of the African American political ambitions is that they form an extremely insignificant portion of the entire county’s population.
The relationship between African American and Hispanics in the county of Miami-Dade is, therefore, a frosty one. Hispanics have made it totally impossible for the black community to assume political leadership positions. Moreover, the leaders elected by these Hispanics have not shown any efforts to ameliorate the livelihood of the African Americans. It is unfortunate that thirty down the line since the creation of Miami-Dade County there are still massive racial and ethnic disparities. The blacks’ community is dramatically underrepresented in crucial county departments, therefore, leaving its interests at the hands of other communities. Underrepresentation in the finance, insurance and housing departments has left the community disconnected with the significant twenty first century developments that are happening. It is extremely vital that the state and federal government steps in to ensure that such disparities are addressed. It is also vital that the Hispanic community and its leaders be encourage to develop a culture of inclusivity and mutual working relations. This can only be attained if segregation and discrimination tendencies, policies and cultures are abandoned. Moreover, the government should also be encouraged to appoint and nominate leaders of African American descent to ensure equality.
(MMAP), The Metro Miami Action Plan. Thirty-Year Retrospective; The Status of the Black Community in Miami-Dade County. Miami: The Metropolitan Center Florida International University, 2013.
Barkan, Elliott Robert. Immigrants in American History: Arrival, Adaptation, and Integration. Miami: ABC-CLIO, 2013.
"Politics." 2013. www.umich.edu. 1 April 2013