Writing is Fundamental — January 2015

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman January 26th, 2015

The dominance of social media and our never-ending thirst for faster ways to communicate have relegated many of our people to a 140-character mentality, a nano-second way of thinking, and new ways of saying old things. Using letters instead of words to express ourselves, i.e. LMAO, OMG, SRS, SMH, has propelled us into an esoteric realm of information that in many cases has caused a communication gap between generations. The art of writing is steadily falling by the wayside and, in my opinion, it is to our detriment.

I understand trends, evolution of language, and new ways of expression. We did the same thing in my generation. Of course, we did not have instant access to one another via the Internet, but we did make up new words and phrases sometimes just to throw the adults off and keep them from knowing what we were talking about. But with all of our “jive-talk” and slang, we never lost the appreciation for language, reading, and writing. We also continued to hone our skills at expressing our thoughts through words, which resulted in many excellent and timeless books, poems, and spoken word. Just listen to Gil Scott-Heron.

I love the young brother, Richard Williams, better known as Prince EA, and his YouTube video titled, “Can we auto-correct humanity?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRl8EIhrQjQ He speaks to issues related to our capitulation to brevity in our communication with one another. He says, “Touchscreens have made us lose touch.” He says we rely too heavily on the “Anti-social network.” He longs for, “Conversation without abbreviation,” and points out the, “Attention span of average the adult is one second lower than that of a goldfish.” This is from a young man who sees the danger of our constricted conversations and lack of time to read, write, and actually talk to one another.

I said all of that to say, we must not discard our great writers and the vaults of information and knowledge they have left us. We must not overlook those who are writing great books, articles, and essays today. We must not turn our backs on our print media, or refuse to listen to conscious radio, both terrestrial and Internet based. We must continue to empower ourselves with history, current events, and spoken word by young folks like Prince EA, JANETTE…IKZ (see her below), and others who are worth spending more than a few seconds listening to. I am sure they write down their words before performing them.

We must not allow writing to become obsolete; that would be an affront to the pantheon of Black writers who have passed on and those who continue in that tradition. With that in mind, and in light of the fact that we have allowed our Black bookstores to close all across this nation, let’s recommit to the oral tradition of our ancestors and to the written tradition of our forebears.

After all, where would we be without the cavalcade of stars that include Alain Locke, Zora Neale Hurston, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, James Baldwin, Claude McKay, Countee Cullen, Maya Angelou, Ralph Ellison, Robert Maynard, and hundreds of others?

In order to teach our children and grandchildren the importance of taking the time to read and write, we must, ourselves, take the time to learn what we want them to know. Baby Blackonomics While we are now able to find virtually anything on the Internet, and while we are able to “tweet” our way through life without regard to expanding our minds and our abilities, we must slow down. We must reclaim our penchant for reading a good book and writing down our thoughts, which could turn into a good book.

Where is the Blackonomics application in all of this? Glad you asked. Buy a Black book from a Black bookstore, and if it’s available, have a cup of coffee or tea and stay a while to read that book. You know, the way you do at Starbucks and other places. Support Black Book Fairs not only by attending but also by buying the authors’ books. Subscribe to Black newspapers and periodicals, and promote them by insisting that firms with whom you do business advertise in those media.

Finally, support my publisher, Dr. Rosie Milligan’s Black Writers on Tour, Milligancoming on April 18, 2015 in Carson, California. See Blackwritersontour.com for more information. Who knows? You may be the next great author to bless us with knowledge and inspiration.

If, 50 years from now, all you have left are Twitter, Instagram, and Face Book messages to read, you will have denied yourself the pleasure of enjoying and sharing with your progeny your own stories, your own knowledge, your own history, in your own words. Just as “Reading is fundamental,” so is writing. Support Black writers.

 

 

What’s in a million? — January 2015

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman January 19th, 2015

Exactly what is there in one million Black folks united in their will and purpose? What is in a million brothers and sisters who are tired of the same old rhetoric, the same old leaders, and the same old ways of dealing with political and economic empowerment? What’s in a group of one million Blacks who are unapologetic about their identity? What’s in such a group that, collectively and cooperatively, is willing to sacrifice some of its members’ time, talent, and treasure for the uplift of Black people in this country?
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Considering our relative position within the political system, is it rational to believe that one million like-minded Black voters could affect positive change by leveraging their votes to obtain concessions from candidates prior to and after an election? What would be the result of one million Black independent-thinking voters deciding to register as “No Party Affiliation” rather than as Dems, Repubs, or any other formal political party? What if we followed through on Theodore Johnson’s article on The Root.com, Black America Needs Its Own President?

Is it reasonable to think that one million conscious Black consumers would have the power to affect the bottom line of corporations to the point of getting those companies to take public positions in support of justice for Black people? Could those one million consumers ultimately obtain reciprocity in the marketplace by leveraging and redirecting a greater portion of their dollars to their own businesses?

Many questions to answer, yes, but those questions point to choices; they will suggest to some of us, first, that Black people would never declare themselves independent of the Democrat Party and that Black people will never cooperate in support of one another economically. But to others of us those questions raise attractive alternatives to what we are doing now; they suggest very strongly that we can be more self-determined via simple but powerful tactics that impact the two systems that run this nation and the world.

Recognizing that everyone will not want to walk the road toward economic and political transition (After all, everyone did not want to go with Harriet Tubman), there are no “marching orders” being trumpeted by the group that is shouldering the responsibility of bringing together one million conscious Black voters and consumers. This is a “Whosoever will, let him come” movement.

The movement is simply called, “One Million Conscious Black Voters and Contributors.” To the skeptics out there who think Black folks are too individualistic to come together in such a large number, that one million Black folks will not cooperate, that we have too many schisms among us, and we will not trust one another, we say, “Not so.” The key word in the name of the group is “Conscious.” Even further, there is no need to pressure anyone to join. I know there are one million conscious Blacks in America (about 2%) who will join this movement without being prodded, which eliminates our need to cajole, persuade, or spend a lot of time trying to convince them of why they should. If we can’t find two in every hundred among us, the result would be analogous to Abraham failing to find a few righteous men in Sodom and Gomorrah.
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The Million Man March proved that Blacks will come together across religious, ideological, and economic lines for a righteous and necessary cause. Those who attended nearly 20 years ago will remember the cooperative and accommodating spirit among the men, the supportive attitudes of the women who stayed home and encouraged their men to participate, and the subsequent follow through by many of the men upon returning home. Much good work was done by individuals who were committed and determined to keep the promise they made that day.

As Amefika Geuka always quotes Marcus Garvey, “There is nothing common to man that man cannot do.” We have already shown through many collective efforts that all we need are a relative few conscious, committed, dedicated, and intentional men and women to accomplish the tasks at hand.

With that in mind, rather than ask “what’s” in a million, we must see “who’s” in a million? If you have not added your name to the list, one thing is for sure: You are not in the million. Names are being added every day; just go to www.amefika.com to be informed, and send an email to iamoneofthemillion@gmail.com to sign up.

We can do more to help our organizations, our businesses, and our schools by leveraging our votes and by “contributing” our resources to this movement, thereby, getting more political quo in return for our political quid and reciprocity in the marketplace. Be “One of the Million” and let’s finally let our people and everyone else know that we are very serious about being economically and politically empowered. Whosoever will…

Click on “Radio Shows” at the top of this page and listen to Elliott Booker’s show, Time for an Awakening. Geuka and I discuss the One Million.

 

 

Money Hungry NAACP — January 2015

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman January 12th, 2015

“Whoever loves money never has enough.” Ecclesiastes 5:10 I would offer that verse from the wisest man in history to our National NAACP President and Board. They sent me at least five letters in December asking for money to help meet a $100,000 goal. Are they that strapped for money? After all, when Ben Jealous left just a short while ago he boasted about having increased their coffers from $29 million to $46 million during his tenure. Rather than the above Bible verse, maybe the folks at the NAACP subscribe to Ecclesiastes 10:19, “Money answers all things,” one of the most misunderstood and misused verses therein.
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Having served in several positions and a brief stint as branch president, it is very clear to me that the primary purpose of the National NAACP is to get more money. (Instead of “colored people”, could the “CP” really mean “corporate pecuniousness?”) While local branch members work tirelessly as volunteers, the National Office comprises salaried elitists who pass down edicts from on high like a pimp in a 1960’s “Blacksploitation” movie. “Branch betta have my money!”

Most people don’t know that only $14.00 of each $30.00 membership fee stays with the local branch. Branches are not allowed to own real estate, and we only have one fundraiser per year, the Freedom Fund Banquet, from which 25% of the profit must be sent to the National as well. With thousands of local branches under its rule, you would think the NAACP would have enough money and not have to beg intermittently for another $100,000 or so throughout the year.

I received five solicitation letters asking for money; I wrote back a few times but never got a response. I told them I would not be giving one dime to the organization until it cleans up its act vis-à-vis its treatment of local branches. They want their money on time, but they are not timely when it to comes to rectifying situations left by the likes of their field director, Gill Ford.G Ford

What I now call “The National Association for the Acceptance of Corrupt Personnel,” is mired in legal battles with local branches, allows voter suppression and voter intimidation, requires voter photo ID’s at its elections, does nothing about corrupt practices in its local elections, that is, unless it’s to help their chosen candidate, and stands by a man who has left a trail of destruction in his wake by participating in and sanctioning illegalities in local elections. That man is Gill Ford; and they are asking us to send more money? You gotta be kidding me.

Since my last article on the NAACP, I have received emails from several other branches that are getting the Gill Ford treatment. This guy has a history of partisanship, intimidation, retaliation, and ruthless arrogance toward local branch officials. He must have something on the national office because they refuse to do anything to stop his “inimical” behavior. And they want more money? “Not one dime,” is my answer.

In Cornell Brooks’ initial letter as President he posed the question, “Is the NAACP still relevant?” Our local branch in Cincinnati proved our relevancy by doing our work despite Gill Ford’s collaboration with our detractors. We maintained the highest integrity and excellent stewardship of our funds, growing $40,000 in branch funds to over $250,000. Relevancy is relative, and while the National NAACP may yet be relevant, it should clean up its own house.

The larger question is, “To whom is the NAACP relevant?” Is it only relevant to the National Office and Board? Is it only relevant to celebrities who get Image Awards? Is it relevant to convention hotels that offer suites and other perks to officers and Board members? Is it relevant to young people who are well prepared to take the reins of the NAACP? Is it relevant only to unions and Democrats? Is it relevant and responsive to its many branches? Or, does the National Office just see us as conduits through which our local money flows back to their coffers? If so, then change the name to the National Association for the Accumulation of Cash Payments.

Nelson Rivers called the NAACP “The big dog!” If the big dog just barks and doesn’t bite, no one will fear it; it will be irrelevant. NAACP, before asking for more money, stop biting the hands that feed you. Be a true leader for your branches by empowering them rather than imposing noneconomic liberal policies on them. Help us rather than stymie us; we do most of the work —for free! Do the right thing and do not allow yourself to be pulled beneath the waves of mediocrity, greed and lust for money, political partisanship, and selfishness. Rise above it and stay above it, and there will no longer be a need to pose the question, “Is the NAACP relevant?” Its relevancy will be quite obvious. Remember: Whoever loves money will never have enough.

 

 

What now? — January 2015

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman January 6th, 2015

What a raucous, topsy-turvy, heart-wrenching, angry year we experienced in 2014. We had everything from the sadness of lives lost on airplanes and ferry boats, to the anger of Black men being killed and Black women being beaten by police officers, to the elation of a record-breaking stock market and the lowest gasoline prices since 2008. Certainly our emotions have been mixed as we witnessed a potpourri of ups and downs while we pondered the question: “What’s next?”

Of course none of us knows what will happen the next minute, much less the next year, but there are things we can do from day to day to solve some of our problems and improve our lot in life. I invite you to think about your personal and our collective situations, and make a commitment to do what you can to make the much needed changes we must have for self-empowerment and self-determination. After you seriously and honestly think about those things, I implore you to take appropriate action.

What happened during the past year is now a lesson for all of us, whether positive or negative. We must move forward. We cannot live in the past; we can only learn from it. In light of that reality, here are a few suggestions to help get you moving in a positive direction in 2015.

First and foremost, build, strengthen, and nurture your spiritual foundation. Be thankful for each day, and use it wisely. Stay informed with real news, not with mere views from talking heads. Remember that followers pick their leaders; it’s not the other way around, so pick leaders who work in your best interests rather than self-serving charlatans who are only concerned about themselves.

Make an even stronger effort to support Black businesses and, Black business owners, take care of your business by doing what you say you will do with honesty and professionalism. It’s tax time, so if you need a tax preparer use a Black firm; Compro Tax Service is an excellent and wise choice. Look online to find the office nearest you. Talk to your church leadership about joining or forming a local chapter of the Collective Empowerment Group (CEG), also found online.

Don’t waste your vote. Give it to someone who is not afraid to state their position regarding Black voters during the campaign and afterwards—and then fulfill their promises. If they fail to do so, don’t vote for them. Also, on the political side of things, stop putting the same old folks into office, especially if they have not delivered anything to Black folks and/or if they have been in their particular office for decades. Put some new “young-bloods” with fresh ideas into office. We will never be politically empowered until we start playing to win instead of playing just to play.

Find a Black certified financial planner and get involved in some level of investment in the stock market. As we are standing in line to buy Nike shoes, we should also be teaching our children how to buy Nike stock. Also, teach entrepreneurship to our youth. Let them know they can own a business even if they end up working for someone. Teach them early by using examples of young Black business owners like Jasmine Lawrence, Moziah Bridges, Cory Nieves, Omar Bailey, and many others you can find on the Internet.

Make it a habit to listen to the Carl Nelson Radio Show (1450AM WOL in Washington, DC or www.woldcnews.com), Brother Daren “State of the City” Muhammad in Baltimore, Dr. Rosie Milligan in L.A., Elliott Booker (Time for an Awakening) in Philadelphia, WURD in Philly, and other conscious and informative radio shows.

Finally, in response to the outrageous treatment some of us have received from the police and the criminal justice system, first, let’s boycott prisons, that is, stop committing crimes and putting yourself at the mercy of a system that cares absolutely nothing about you. Second, in addition to the protests the young folks are doing now, add a strategy, an end game that uses economic sanctions (No Justice, No Profit!) as leverage to get the CEO’s of various corporations to come out publicly and denounce the abuse being inflicted upon our people. Remember, it’s not simply about withdrawing our money just to hurt someone else; it’s about using that same money to help ourselves by building our own economic infrastructure.

Last but certainly not least, sign up as one the Million Conscious Black Voters and Consumers by going to www.amefika.com or contacting me at jclingman@blackonomics.com. One million Black folks willing to leverage our votes and our dollars can change our situation. Get involved in 2015; let your actions outweigh your words, and let’s move forward. Peace, love, and blessings to you in 2015.