Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Black Leadership and Racial Division

BOND: If we talk about black leadership, is this divisive? Are we playing into some kind divisiveness if we're separating people in these categories?


RASPBERRY: I don't think so. The term is certainly vague enough. But a part of this -- my vision is that we may have a time -- there may come a time when we will have leaders who are black with the experience of being black, the experience of being American or being whatever they are, but leaders who are black who are not necessarily black leaders, and I think -- I mean, I'm looking at -- we're having this interview before the bi-elections of 2006. And we've got a black man running for governor of Massachusetts and a black man running for the Senate in Tennessee.


BOND: My student.


RASPBERRY: And what happens as the aspirational ceilings of various subgroups of Americans, as those ceilings are lifted -- they won't become members of a different category, they'll still be a members of their old category, but their leadership won't necessarily be limited to that category in the same way that we no longer -- we never think of white leaders?


BOND: Yes, we never do.


RASPBERRY: It's perfectly reasonable to me that there could come a time when we will think about political leaders of various sorts, military leaders of various sorts, who are black or female but who are not "black" leaders. But until that happens, I'm not uncomfortable with the idea that there is a cadre of people who step up and who claim or at least try to speak on behalf of people who are otherwise largely voiceless. That's okay.