Reruns and Sequels — May 2015

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman May 4th, 2015

The movie we are watching in Baltimore is a rerun and a sequel. Old Riot3 The price of admission has always been too high, but we continue to pay the exorbitant price anyway. As the opening line in the old TV show, Dragnet, said, “The story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.” In today’s society, that second line should say, “The names have been changed to protect the ‘guilty’.”
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My eleven year-old nephew (The one in the green shirt), 018since the age of five or six, has been reciting, verbatim, the words from his favorite movies. He knows the directors, the release dates, and the bios of the stars in those movies. He has seen his favorite movies many times over and, thus, knows everything about them. He reminds me of Black people, as we watch the same movie over and over, except we do not remember the vital information contained in the movie, and we even forget who the main characters were and the roles they played.

The latest movie being run in Baltimore is a sequel to the ones we watched in Ferguson and Staten Island. It is a rerun of what we saw in Los Angeles, Cleveland, and North Charleston. How many times are we going to pay the price of admission to see the same movie without memorizing the lines and learning from them?

How many times must we go through the same experience before we change our response to it? Some very interesting and pitiful responses (reviews) have come from some of the “leaders” in Baltimore in the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death.

We knew what the politicians’ reviews would be; they are always true to form. But the older folks, who decry the violence as “insulting” and “disrespectful” to Freddie’s family, are even more disingenuous. They seem to have forgotten about 1968 when their generation, and maybe even some of them, burned down buildings and looted all across this nation, in the aftermath of MLK’s assassination. Were their actions deemed insulting and disrespectful to King’s family? If so, did that stop them?Old Riot5

The self-righteousness I hear from those in my generation about the youth who are doing the same thing they did in the 1960’s is unfortunate. Where were they before the looting and burning started in Baltimore? Were they busy teaching the youth that what took place in the 1960’s was detrimental to their neighborhoods, as they now like to say to TV news reporters? If they have not, until now, passed on those lessons to younger folks, their words ring hollow today.
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Some of the sanctimonious comments being made by my generation very strongly suggest that even though we have seen this movie many times, we are content to watch it again without having shared its lessons. Is it because we are ashamed of ourselves now? Do we think we are better than our youth today? We should be bringing the generations together rather than separating them and acting like we have not been where they are.

Amos Wilson said, “The violently oppressed react violently to their oppression.” He also said, “Just as power corrupts, powerlessness also corrupts.” This is the main plot of our 21st century version of the 1968 movie. Same theme, different characters. Why do we only react to what young people do, rather than work with them every day by giving them alternatives to prevent their negative behaviors? It irks me to see our grown men saying, “They need jobs.” Well, create some jobs to give them. It’s so sad to hear our adults crying out, “They need education.” Then provide them with education. Our youth see many of us as weak and impotent when it comes to protecting them.

We have the resources to provide everything we say our youth need. What must they think of our words, our prayer sessions, our news conferences, our political speeches, and our tepid efforts now to stop and correct their behavior, when we have not used our resources to take care of them? Our answer is to run to those who don’t care about them and beg for jobs, food, education, and everything else they need.
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Frederick Douglass’ words are clear regarding power, but as I always add, a demand not backed-up by power will not come to fruition; and the real power in this country is the almighty dollar. Just look at what happened in Indianapolis when the LGBT folks were upset. They did not burn anything down or throw one brick, because they know that dollars rule the day. Their threats to withdraw their dollars were immediately addressed by the politicians.

People whose families own storefront businesses are very unlikely to throw bricks through the windows and burn them down. FridaySargent Friday had another saying in Dragnet: “Just the facts ma’am, just the facts.”



New Book: Black Dollars Matter

Books | Posted by admin May 2nd, 2015

book cov2Black Dollars Matter – Teach your dollars how to make more sense

AVAILABLE NOW! in hard copy and Kindle eBooks on, the latest offering from the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people, Clingman’s 5th book on the subject aptly describes the dominant-submissive relationship between economics and politics, respectively. It contains stark and sometimes biting commentary, statistical data, and documentary information, with thought provoking quotations sprinkled throughout.

Beginning with the run-up to the U.S. Presidential election in 2007, and ending with practical tactics and strategies for economic and political success heading into the 2016 election, Black Dollars Matter is a searchlight to find solutions; it is also a spotlight that illuminates the way forward, and it definitely admonishes us to “teach our dollars how to make more sense.”

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After all, Black men are “Superhuman.”

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman May 1st, 2015

In the 1970’s Saturday Night Live did a spoof on razor commercials, after the double-bladed razor came out. The commercial went something like this: “You have felt how easy your double bladed razor glides over your face and gives you a close shave. Well, now we have an even better razor that will do an even better job. It’s our “Triple Play Razor.” The first blade pulls the hair up from your face; the second blade holds it there; and the third blade cuts it off for the closest shave you have ever had. Why do we tell you this? Because you will believe anything.” I guess SNL was right, because now we have expensive and even better five-bladed razors.

Black folks are told some of the most ridiculous things, which reminded me of that SNL spot. When it comes to police killing and abusing Black people, we have heard it all, that is, until we heard that Freddie Gray broke his own cervical vertebrae, severed his own spinal cord, and crushed his own larynx by banging himself against the walls of an otherwise empty police van. To convince us even more they said he even had a wound on his head that “matched” a protruding bolt in back of the van. Of course there was no camera in the prison section of the van, and the van driver had no idea what was going on; he never thought to look through the grate between the front and the prison compartment to see Freddie Gray killing himself.

Why did they tell the people that? Because we will believe anything. After all, Black people are superhuman, you know. There are many cases of their superhuman strength recorded in the annals of police folklore. Rodney King was one of the “Gorillas in the Mist” they had to subdue by a continuous beating by five or six cops. Rodney was so strong and imposing, you know.

Victor White III, 22, and Chavis Carter, 21, were superhuman too. Both of them were arrested, handcuffed behind their backs, searched, and put into the backseat of police cars, in Louisiana and Arkansas, respectively. Both ended up pulling out guns from wherever they had concealed them from the cops, despite the searches performed by the officers, and shot themselves in the head. Of course, they died.

Those two superhuman contortionists and sleight of hand artists were at the top of their game when they were arrested. It must have something to do with skin color or something though, because there was another case of the same trick being pulled off by Jesus Huerta, 17, in Durham, North Carolina. A recording system inside the cruiser that could have captured video and audio from the event was not on at the time of the shooting, according to the police. As another character in SNL used to say, “Isn’t that special.”

By the way, no one was charged with those killings, because the perpetrators were already dead; they killed themselves, just like Freddie Gray did.

Why did they tell us this? Because we will believe anything.



Shocked—Again — April 2015

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman April 28th, 2015

“America leads the world in shocks.” Those immortal words were spoken by the late Gil Scott-Heron Heronduring the Nixon “H2O Gate” era. Forty years later, Black people lead the world in shocks. We are shocked every time a Black person gets killed or abused by a police officer; we are shocked at the absence of indictments and convictions for those acts; we are shocked that our government will only give these acts lip-service; and we are shocked by the endless rhetoric, excuse-making, and rationales put forth as a response to Black lives being treated like they don’t matter.

We are so shocked that we continue to roll out the same old tactics, chant the same phrases, and make idle threats that we know we will not fulfill. We are shocked that society will not change this endless parade to the graveyard for Black men especially. We are also shocked at the rate of our deaths and the nonchalant attitudes of those who kill us. And we are shocked by the fact that even though these killings are caught on cameras, there is still no punishment for the perpetrator.

Rodney King’s butt-whuppin’ was caught on camera in 1992, Rodney2and so was Nathaniel Jones killing in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2003.JOnes killing Heck, White folks photographed the lynching and burning of many Blacks over 100 years ago.Lynching Why are we so shocked now? I have come to the conclusion that we just like to be shocked. It’s like the old tale of a boy constantly hitting himself in the head with a hammer. When asked why he did that, he replied, “Because it feels so good when I stop.”

Do we really want this lunacy, this evil, this abuse to stop just so we can catch our breath for a little while, and then return to business as usual? One thing for sure is that it will not stop simply because it ought to, as folks always imply when the news reporter poses the question, “What you think about the latest incident of police abuse?” Inevitably, as was the case in the latest abuse in Baltimore, Maryland, a sister said, “It’s got to stop.” Others chimed in and said the same thing, as was said in the case of Eric Garner, John Crawford, Ezell Ford, Oscar Grant, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and many of the others I could name.

Let me try this again, after so many years of saying the same thing. The vast majority of the problems Black people face in this nation can be solved through the utilization of economic power. That’s what runs this country and, therefore, that’s what gets desired outcomes. The lack of economic power results in a perverse weakness and subordination of any group of people. Thus, Black folks are always shocked at our position, our mistreatment, and our dependency on the very political entities that care very little, if at all, about us. That’s backward and wrong-headed thinking.

If Black folks in Baltimore or anywhere else want to be empowered to the degree that politicians finally move beyond merely saying what they think we want to hear, to doing what we need done for our security and progress, we must make drastic changes in our behavior. Our reactions to all the killings and beat-downs have been so predictable, so much so that the authorities know they just need to wait us out for a while, like the Eric Garner case, and we will go away. They know the shock value of their actions is impotent and only temporary.

The Fraser Institute released an article titled, External shocks and political parties’ attempts to ‘buy’ votes can affect levels of economic freedom, that noted, “Economic freedom is one of the main drivers of prosperity, resulting in improved wealth, health, and education for individuals and their families.” said Herbert Grubel.

“…external shocks (think wars and revolutions, economic depressions or recessions) prompt the public to gravitate to political parties promising change and dramatic new directions… Changing public views allow progressive politicians to buy votes by creating a narrative that government is better at looking after citizens than citizens are at looking after themselves. That inevitably leads to larger government, more regulation, higher taxes, and crony capitalism,” Grubel said.

Extrapolating from that article, I would say that Black folks have come to depend on politicians for so long now that even when our people are killed by police, we run to them to solve the problem. It’s not going to happen until we wield power with our dollars and our votes. The “external shock” necessary to prompt political parties to appropriately respond to our needs must be felt by them rather than by us. That shock must be one that reverberates throughout the corporate board rooms, the halls of Congress, and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: NO MORE BUSINESS AS USUAL!