A New Yorker writes:
Continuing on my "Thoughts on the Obama Unintended Consequences Wrecking Ball Effect" riff, I wonder if we can't compare Obama to NYC's erstwhile hilariously and calamitously bad black Mayor, David Dinkins.
I remember the era well. Dinkins was supposed to herald a black power era in NYC. Dinkins was supposed to only the first of a permanent black power structure in the city. In fact quite apart from the fact that he was a "failed upwards" dumbass, this just wasn't in the cards. The demographic presence of African-Americans has plummeted in NYC as the number of foreign-born blacks (and browns and yellows and of course Hispanics of all colors) has skyrocketed.
This left the power bag in the hands of (who else?) rich whites. Giuliani came after Dinkins because of the remnants of working class whites (in Staten Island and Bklyn), but white power in NYC was cemented by the Bloomberg ascendancy.
Whites are now a demographic minority in NYC but they are firmly in power. It's almost amazing to someone who saw the black-white racial struggles of the 1965-1990 era. But it is fact. It used to be taboo to speak of a white school chancellor. It's now taken for granted. Sure, what they say is PC bullshit, but everyone simply assumes that a white guy or gal will be schools chancellor.
I make no predictions for the future. I expect we will have Asian pols - maybe. They strike me as so politically meek. I just don't know. I no longer even try to predict the future. But I can see what is going on around me now, and I see that predictions of black power ascendancy in NYC were completely off the mark.
It is true that NYC's demographics aren't applicable to the rest of the country but I think that the lesson about black political ascendancy may hold even so. I truly do think that Obama is the last of a breed and not the harbinger of future black political power. What power? They have no money, and they are losing demographic ground to "Hispanics", and two white guys [Pitt and Clooney] are our biggest movie stars.
The latter is a reference to the writer's hunch that the recent decline in buzzworthiness of Will Smith and Denzel Washington is related to Obama's ascent, that for so long the public had been play-acting with the notion of a black President via the movies, that the reality has turned out to be less awesome than expected, which has, in turn, somehow deflated the appreciation for black stars. It's not exactly a theory, but more of a finger to the wind sense.