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A choice for the '90s.


On Tuesday, the third of this month, we will make a choice likely to set the course of the nation and the world for the rest of this century. The 1992 presidential election is the first of the decade. For African-Americans, it comes at a crucial juncture in our collective struggle for equality and economic opportunity.

As detailed in our Special Report On Small Business in this issue, although small and emerging businesses fueled job growth during the past decade, there is still no credible national policy for the growth and development of small businesses. Black businesses, in particular, spent the 1980s battling repeated attempts to exclude them from the economic mainstream, even as the rest of American businesses rode the wave of economic expansion and generous capital markets. The nation will pay a terrible economic price if a proactive, results-oriented stance toward black business development is not adopted by whoever sits in the White House during the next four years.

Police brutality and rampant crime remain double-edged realities for African-Americans. As tragically underscored by the Simi Valley verdict in the beating of Rodney King, we endure a justice system that too often is criminally unjust. The deadly and destructive outrage in response to the verdict was a costly wakeup call to the price we pay in lost potential and human suffering every day in our cities, not just when buildings burn and violence erupts on national television.

The L.A. riots can happen in any city where the uniquely American promise of economic opportunity is obscured by poverty, hopelessness and despair. Government must reinvest in urban America and, by both policy and example, move private industry to follow its lead. We must continue to battle for a national consciousness that values a child born to a single mother in Detroit as much as it does a child born into a "traditional" family in Grosse Pointe, Mich. Our nation's domestic policies, especially in the areas of employment, access to affordable health care and educational opportunities, must reflect that fairness.

Fairness also must be applied to our nation's foreign policy. Haiti and Somalia must be treated with the same sense of urgency as Bosnia and Herzegovina, regardless of the race of their respective citizens.

The power of our vote will determine not only who is sworn in as our next president in January, but who will represent us in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and in our state and local governments. How effectively we cast our votes in November will set the stage for the other crucial decisions we'll be faced with as we move toward the 21st century.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:the African American vote during the 1992 elections
Author:Graves, Earl G.
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Column
Date:Nov 1, 1992
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