Requiem for Black People

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman June 3rd, 2020

Lorenzo Collins, Michael Carpenter, Roger Owensby Jr.  Timothy Thomas, Nathaniel Jones, Amadou Diallo, Patrick Dorismond, Kenneth Walker, Sean Bell, Timothy Russell, Kimani Gray, Ezzell Ford, John Crawford, Tamir Rice, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner,   Kajieme Powell, Malissa Williams, Vonderitt Myers, Dante Parker, Michael Brown, Tyisha Miller, Trayvon Martin, Dontre Hamilton, Tony Robinson, Jason Harrison, Martin Hall, Bettie Jones, Tanisha Anderson, Yvette Smith, Sandra Bland, Matthewe Ajibade, Eric Harris, Keith Childress, Kevin Matthews, Leroy Browning, Gus Rugley, Ray Smoot, Roy Nelson, Miguel Espinal, Jonny Gammage, Nathaniel Pickett, Cornelius Brown, Tiara Thomas, Chandra Weaver, Jamar Clark, Richard Perkins, Akai Gurley, Stephen Tooson, Michael Lee Marshall, Alonzo Smith,  Anthony Ashford, Lamontez Jones, India Kager, Samuel DuBose, Felix Kumi, Walter Scott, Billie Ray Davis, Darrius Stewart, Albert Davis, Jonathan Sanders, Spencer McCain, Freddie Gray, Eric Harris, Charly “Africa” Keunang, Emerson Clayton, Jr., Tommy Yancy, Jerame C. Reid, Corey Tanner, Zikarious Flint, David Andre Scott, Emmanuel Jean-Baptiste, Victor White III, Matthew Walker, Darrien Nathaniel Hunt, Jeremy Lake, Laquan McDonald, Denzel Ford, Pierre Loury, Cedrick Chatman, Alton Sterling, Philando Castille…  I could go on, but I am sure you get the point.

“I feared for my life”  “He reached for his waistband”  “I saw something shiny”  “He ran”  “He made eye contact with me”  “He fit the description”  “He resisted”  “He threatened me”  “He didn’t comply”  “He would not put the brick down”  “He would not put the knife down”  “He weighed 400 pounds”  “My hand got caught in the steering wheel”  “He dragged me with the car”  “He lunged at me”  “My gun accidentally went off”  “I thought I was firing my Taser”  “He was acting strangely”  “He was holding a screwdriver when he came to the door”  “He had a broom when he came to the door”  “He was armed with a soup spoon”  “He had a prescription pill bottle in his pocket but I thought it was a gun”  “He had a BB gun”  “He had a toy pellet gun”  “He was obese”  “He kept saying ‘I can’t breathe’ so we knew he was still breathing”  “The stairwell was dark”  “He behaved like a thug”  “He was wearing a hoodie”  “After he survived a car accident, he approached us with empty hands”  “He was running toward us but we shot him in the back”  “He did not comply within 2 seconds”  “He shot himself while being handcuffed behind his back, with a gun that we did not find when we searched him”

“Our hearts go out to the families”  “Our prayers and thoughts are with the family”  “This can never happen again”  “He could have been my son”  “R.I.P.” “Our condolences go out”  “She could have been our daughter”  “It’s a tragic and sad day for our nation”  “We shall overcome”  “This has to stop”  “We cannot rush to judgment”  “We must wait until the investigation is over”  “Let the process work”  “The video does not tell the whole story of what happened”  “We are all saddened by this tragic event”  “Our hearts grieve with this family” “They don’t get up in the morning saying, ‘I am going to kill a Black man today’”  “They want to go home at night”  “All police officers are not bad”  “The vast majority of officers are good”  “Let’s not indict all officers because of the actions of one or two”  “Black lives matter”  “Blue lives matter” “All lives matter”  “This is not a Black problem; it’s an American problem”  “No justice no peace”  “Nonviolence is the answer”  “We need a national conversation on police violence”  “I found no evidence to indict the officer(s)” “It’s Ok Mommy; It’s Ok, I’m right here with you”

These acts are heinous, horrific, terrible, irresponsible, immoral, reprehensible, indefensible, unconscionable, unacceptable, horrifying, shocking, frightening, inhumane, uncivilized, animalistic, disgraceful, shameful, inexcusable, insulting, depraved, shameless, cowardly, outrageous, scandalous, dishonorable, discreditable, appalling, dreadful, irrefutable, atrocious, unspeakable, ludicrous, indecent, disreputable, brutal, wicked, offensive, brazen, unabashed, gutless, spineless, odious, awful, revolting, blatant, and SINFUL.

Black people are disgusted, dismayed, outraged, fuming, livid, irate, sickened, revolted, repulsed, repelled, offended, affronted, hurt, scared, tenuous, intimidated, fearful, incensed, enraged, nauseated, injured, disrespected, tired, sick and tired, and angry.

After everything is said and done, much is said and little is done.  Our words are like a needle on a scratched record; we are stuck, and we keep repeating the same thing over and over again.  If you are conscious and conscientious, join the One Million in Atlanta, Georgia, on August  19-21, 2016 and this time let’s take appropriate action to deal with these horrendous times in which we live.

Note: At the time of this writing four police officers in Dallas were killed and seven were injured by a Black man who was tired of and angry about Black people being killed by police.  Pray for their families too.



Look back and see the future. (Part One) — June 2017

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman April 23rd, 2020

I often use the phrase, “Our history is our future,” to express the fact that everything we need to do today, vis-à-vis economic empowerment, has been done before by African Americans in this country. Just look back at what Black people built in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, Durham, North Carolina and Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood District. Take a closer look at what Booker T. Washington was doing with his National Negro Business League; read about Black entrepreneurs in Cincinnati and Philadelphia during the early 1800’s, and you will see the economic future of African Americans is, indeed, grounded in our history.

I wonder why it takes us so long to do what we know is right. In the context of the economic well-being of African Americans, most of us know what “we need” to do. Yet we seem content to discuss, “intellectualize,” meet, and complain about how unfair the system is. For those “we need to…” folks out there, if you see the need, do the work.

One thing most of us know is that economic empowerment and business development—vertical business development—are vital to our economic prosperity. Naturally following the development of businesses is the support of those businesses by consumers. To illustrate that point, I am reminded of what a friend once told me: “Production minus sales equals scrap.”

In the 1800’s there were many flourishing Black owned businesses. In spite of the worst brand of slavery ever perpetrated on a people, Black businesses survived and grew. Economic growth was a reality, even in the face of the racial prejudice that existed, because we were determined, and we stuck together.

In 1853, a convention was held in Rochester, New York, to discuss “Afro-American Economics.” Slogans like “Buy Black” and “Double Duty Dollars” began at conventions like this one, all over the country. What happened to us since that time? Have we drifted so far from our heritage and from the things that benefit us as a whole? Have we become so selfish and so self-centered that we have completely lost sight of our values toward one another?

Businesses are the foundation of a true community. Our current 2.4 million Black owned businesses, compared to the 45 million of us, are but a drop of water in the ocean, especially when you factor in the relatively meager annual revenues those businesses take in. We must change that.

Our time should be devoted to starting and supporting business ventures, rather than complaining about how difficult things are out there and how the “Arabs” and Asians dominate our neighborhoods when it comes to business ownership. We must find common ground to move beyond the stagnation and complacency in which we have been mired for so long. Organization, unity, and mutual support are the keys to our economic freedom.

Cooperative economics among African Americans is an idea that has been around for hundreds of years. It could not be resisted during the early years of American history, and it cannot be resisted today. It is up to us to take advantage of that fact as we move forward. It is time to make individual commitments to “do” something rather than sit back and “let someone else do it.” It is time to stop complaining and blaming someone else for our plight. It is time for us to give up that lame excuse, “There is no use trying to change things, because we are never going to get together anyway.” I don’t buy those tired words, and I hope you don’t buy them either. All we have to do, instead, is buy from one another, for the benefit of us all. The precedent exists; look at it and learn from it.

My primary example of seeing a need and doing the work (although there are several during my lifetime that I could share) is my current work for our people: THE One Million Conscious and Conscientious Black Contributors and Voters (OMCCBCV). Our historical grounding is found in the words of Marcus Garvey: “The greatest weapon used against [Black people] is disorganization.” Thus, we are organized, united, and unapologetically determined to contribute to the economic elevation of our people. We saw the need and set out to do the work; and we will continue that work as we learn from our past and strive for a better future for our children. If you would like to join us, go to Next week, part two of this article will give a deeper look at why and how the system in which we live has caused some of us to be complacent. It will also offer a way to change our situation.



Look back and see the future. (Part Two) — July 2017

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman April 23rd, 2020

An excellent example of the impact our history has on the way we are today, especially economically, can be found in an article titled, The Reluctant Entrepreneurs, by Joel Kotkin, author of the book, Tribes.

The feature discusses several reasons for Blacks not going into business and being surpassed in this area by other ethnic groups. Among other reasons, the history of African Americans was cited. The article quotes Robert Hill, a Black Historian at the University of California at Los Angeles, who traced the lack of entrepreneurial tradition to African origin and the brutality of the American system of slavery. “Africa”, Hill explained, “is more a communitarian society, where notions of private property have never been so entrenched as in Europe or North America. The culture of capitalism is just not part of our African heritage.”

The piece goes on to say, “…certainly slavery and its progeny, the sharecropper system, did nothing to foster confidence, independence, or a capitalist inclination among African Americans. Before slavery and after, white landowners believed the proper way to treat the Black was, in the words of one slave owner, ‘to create in him a habit of perfect dependence…’ And it was a system that proved to be enormously successful and enduring.”

The article continued, “we are a race of people who for generations, both before and after Emancipation, were denied freedom of movement, education, and even a rudimentary familiarity with the free market, not to mention credit, legal status, or safety from lynch mobs. That we, as descendants, have not taken naturally to entrepreneurship should hardly come as a big surprise.”

The fact still remains that despite their poorest of circumstances, some Black people engaged in entrepreneurship even before the Emancipation, and did well at it. According to John Sibley Butler, in his outstanding work, Entrepreneurship and Self-Help Among Black Americans, “They (Black entrepreneurs) became the merchant class in northern cities, and it was through their enterprises that Black income in the last third of the nineteenth century grew faster than that of whites.”

The INC. article cited the economic protestations of Booker T. Washington, who established the National Negro Business League, exhorting Blacks to “uplift” themselves by striking out on their own. It celebrated the “new” ministers like Adam Clayton Powell, who urged aspiring congregants to go into business on a larger scale.

While early Black businesses had to rely solely on the Black consumer market, such is not the case today. However, if we do not move collectively through the economic maze, making our monetary clout felt in the widest of circles and obtaining the reciprocity we deserve as a massive consumer army, our businesses will not achieve the growth they need to prosper in this economy. Moreover, African Americans will have abdicated our responsibility to carry forth the legacy passed on to us by our fathers and mothers.

We must never forget our history and the reasons for our attitudes on economics, business ownership, and mutual support. We must also realize that if we are going to make it in this country, we had better get down to business NOW! I think our ancestors would be proud.

Economic empowerment is a constant struggle, and if we do not view it as a struggle, we will never achieve the goals to which we aspire. No one is going to “give” us anything. If they do, it will not be without encumbrances. The economic power we seek is within us all, and examples for us to follow are everywhere. We simply need more cooperation within our own ranks.

In seeking that economic power, remember what Frederick Douglass said: “…This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found the exact amounts of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them…The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

I say: If we rise up, as Marcus Garvey exhorted us, resolving to cooperate with one another and do for ourselves, our economic manifesto would be clear. Our struggle will be easier, and the powers we face will concede to our demands. However, if African Americans choose individuality over collectivism, yes a few of us will “make it”, but we will go down in history as a paradoxical people; a people who, with all of our wealth and knowledge, acquiesced and continued in economic oppression. And the blame will rest squarely upon our shoulders.

Let our past be the light that guides us to a brighter economic future.



Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman January 14th, 2020

Spectator Politics                                                                   09/18/2015

Here is something to think about as we watch the political circus that is currently dominating the news:  Black people are nowhere to be found in the real action, nowhere to be found in determining the candidates from which we will eventually choose to compete for the Presidency, and nowhere to be found in the debate questions or answers.  We are merely watching from the balcony, as we had to do back in the 1950’s in segregated theaters and churches that relegated Black people to the rear of the building.  We were also told to be quiet, especially in the churches, way back when.

All Black folks are doing right now is watching.  Yeah we talk a lot, from our vantage point in the peanut gallery, but we have absolutely zero skin in the political game at this point, which means we lack self-determination in the political process.  Yes, we have the individual choice to vote, but that’s about it, y’all, and even in that act, we will only be choosing between the decisions that others have made.

Have you ever wondered why two small states, Iowa and New Hampshire, have so much impact on the national election?  Is it simply because they are the first two states to conduct caucuses and primaries every Presidential election year?  Is it because they have such a large number of electoral votes?  Even though some candidates who win those states do not always get their party’s nomination, these two states are held up as the political “trend-makers” and benchmarks for a candidate’s success.  That’s why they all flock to those two little states long before the election really begins.

For all of you critical thinkers out there, try these stats on for size:  Iowa is 91% White and 2% Black; it has 6 electoral votes.  New Hampshire is 93% White and 1% Black, with 4 electoral votes.   There are 538 electoral votes among the states, 270 of which are needed to win the Presidency of the United States.  I ask again, why are Iowa and New Hampshire so important in the scheme of things?

And I reemphasize that Black folks, comprising a grand total of 3% of the total population of these two small states, have absolutely no influence, not to mention power, in what is taking place right now in the political arena.  We are relegated to being spectators if we care to watch this current show; it is a rerun, so many of us are not interested anyway.

By the time you read this article the séance for Ronald Reagan, known as the Republican debate, will have taken place at the Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.  You remember that famous city, right?  It’s the place where the White cops who beat Rodney King within inches of his life were declared not guilty.  Of the 500 there, I saw just five Black people in the seats at the CNN Debate.  Another insult to Black voters, or another indication of political impotence?

We are just spectators, brothers and sisters, watching the Dems and Repubs race toward the finish line in November 2016.  They will put on a great show for us though, as they invoke Rosa Parks’ name and cite the sanctity of the Black vote.  Each party will try to convince us that it can and will “take care of us” because God knows we can’t take care of ourselves.  Then, in January 2017, Black people will settle in, once again relegated to their plantation of “choice” for four more years, without having gotten one ounce of quo for our quid.

My article, “Black Political Dilemma” (2014), posed the possibility of Ben Carson running against Hillary Clinton for President.  Some folks responded by saying, “That will never happen:” “You’re crazy, Jim;” and “Carson will never be nominated.”  Some folks even laughed at the question, “What will Black people do if that happens?”  Well, you may want to stay tuned.

Black people have dug ourselves a deep political hole, and now we must figure out how to get out of it.  It really doesn’t matter who wins the highest office in the land, Blacks will be in the same relative position as we have been under a Black President for the last seven years.  In other words, we ain’t got nothin’ comin’.  Only we can save us, not Hillary, Carson, Sanders, or Trump. Because we have tried to play politics without having a strong economic base, we have become impotent and irrelevant.  Reflect on the words of T. Thomas Fortune, Journalist and co-founder of the National Negro Business League:  “No people ever became great and prosperous by devoting their infant energies to politics.  We were literally born into political responsibility bef