IS CENTRISM THE NEW BLACK? by Hon. Dion Powell, MPA, Campaign Manager for Sean Hayes 4 NYC

Centrism may be the new black. According to Wikipedia, “Centrism is a political outlook or position that involves acceptance and/or support of a balance of social equality and a degree of social hierarchy, while opposing political changes which would result in a significant shift of society strongly to either the left or the right.”

Well Sean Hayes, City Council District 1 Candidate, says, “A Centrist believes that it is important to respect the viewpoints of others, but not necessarily accept the viewpoints of others.” But, “A Centrist is not Indecisive. A Centrist is simply not beholden to a particular party or belief system.”

My belief is that most African-Americans, among themselves, would be what I always label myself, moderate. Now at first glance, both words centrist and moderate seem synonymous. But, after discussing this topic with Sean, he, as usual, “threw me a curve ball” by also including the word pragmatism and explaining the better term to use may be centrist over moderate. He uses the word pragmatism the most out of the two in his writings, but I have yet to see Mr. Hayes define pragmatism.

For me, pragmatism means an outlook on life of a balance of what can work and what can’t work. All three of these words, people can all agree don’t necessarily “equate” to the word “neutral.” Visually, I would describe the word centrist as a pendulum swinging very slowly in the middle of far right and far left as the two’s gravity shifts based on the populists changing views. Now, the moderate, would be like the middle of an anchor. No matter which way it swings it will always remain in the middle.

Now what does all this have to do with being “the new Black?"

My point is internally among themselves, African American discuss most major U.S. issues. However, they too have the concept of a “Silent Majority.” Most Blacks don’t even know it, until you’re a fly on the wall listening to their conversations.

For example, for immigration reform, many African American believe that it’s not fair that someone that is a not an American citizen should have more rights and “access” to resources than formerly incarcerated Blacks.

On the surface this can be labeled both a social and economic issue, hence, the term “Low Socio-Economic” describing the environment both parties usually live in.

I for one agree on the economic issue that immigrants are essential to the life blood of American business. This falls under the liberal umbrella. However, I don’t believe that all immigration reform constantly being pushed forward is good for our nation and NYC. Ok, conservatives, am I right? Thus, I fall more towards the center.

Now, when it comes to immigration rights, my aunt who passed away last year in a nursing home caused by the Cuomo Crisis, used to tell me, “Dion, ‘we’ didn’t come in that way.” Now reflect on that.

Sean Hayes’ argument has made me publicly “convert” to centrism. But as our folk’s saying goes, “At the end of the day” I’ve always been pragmatic. But the major difference between all three, centrist, moderate, and pragmatic is that a pragmatic person doesn’t have to be in the political realm, while the other two must. I am, proudly, a centrist.

To learn more about centrism please see: Sean Hayes 4 NYC's Newspaper and What is Political Centrism and How can it Save NYC? by Sean Hayes.

Unfortunately, as one of the founders of the Bronx Libertarian party, I will end by saying… We too are about fixing problems with what my aunt would say, “Just some simple common sense.”

-Dion Powell is a County Committee Member in the Bronx 79th Assembly District. Has a Bachelor’s in Media / Communications from the City College of New York and Masters of Public Administration (Public Policy) from Metropolitan College of New York. He is the Campaign Manager for Sean Hayes 4 NYC. He may be contacted at: or via Facebook.

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