Archive for November, 2015

Latest Outrage: NAACP Charges Poll Tax — November 2015

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman November 27th, 2015

In November 2014 the Cincinnati Branch of the NAACP was scheduled to hold its election; National Representative, Gill Ford and a few corrupt local individuals attempted to suppress members’ votes in order to assure their guy would win, and a local judge issued a Temporary Restraining Order against them to stop the election. That’s right; the NAACP was attempting to suppress members’ votes while at the same time railing against Ohio’s voting rights laws. To deflect attention from their evil practices, the National NAACP filed a federal complaint accusing local officers of fraud and malfeasance, all of which was totally false.

After several court hearings a settlement was reached. In reference to a new election, the agreement states: “Only members of the NAACP who were eligible to vote in the Cincinnati Branch election as of October 24, 2014, will be eligible to vote in the special election.” Despite no mention of fees for this retroactive election, the NAACP is charging some of its branch members a $30.00 “Poll Tax” to cast their votes.

To add insult to injury, the national office suspended the current President, allowing Rob Richardson, the candidate in cahoots with Gill Ford, to run unopposed for the top position; and his son, Rob Jr., is in charge of the election committee! Election or “selection”? Additionally, members were supposed to get a 15-day advance notice of the election, to be held on December 2, 2015. As of November 20, 2015 only some had received it, and that’s only 12 days’ notice. NAACP officials even violate their own rules!

The NAACP is immersed in a disgusting, embarrassing, and troubling environment that has the stench of corruption, collusion, and greed in many cities across this nation. The venerable organization is embroiled in what seems to be a pervasive evil that has emanated from being what many call “the Big Dog,” and having the ability to commit its malicious acts with impunity. The national office of the NAACP treats its members like peons whose only purpose and worth are couched in how much money they can send to the “Big Dog.” After all, big dogs have big appetites.

NAACP “Dirty tricks,” aided by crooked state officers, are taking place in other Ohio cities as well as across the country. Like Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus have either been in court, in chaos, and/or in a state of confusion due to corrupt elections. In full blown hypocrisy, the NAACP uses elections to keep its proletariat class in check. That’s right. The inviolable, sacred, put-on-your-marching-shoes, “Let’s get ready to rumble,” precious vote is used and misused by the NAACP to maintain their fiefdom in Baltimore and their mini-fiefdoms in various states.

In two consecutive Ohio state elections, Jocelyn Travis defeated Sybil McNabb (2013 and 2015). Both elections were overturned by national officials. McNabb, the national’s chosen candidate (Or should I say lackey?) challenged each election and was reinstalled as President. Travis filed complaints and sent inquiries to the national office but never received information on the nature of those challenges.

Here’s the worst part: After Travis won the 2013 race, a new election was called and presided over by Gill Ford (He has the nerve to call himself “Reverend”), during which children were recruited and coached by McNabb, and then allowed to cast votes. Of course, McNabb “won.” After winning the November 2015 state election, Travis received a letter from national officials saying McNabb had challenged the election (No explanation given); Travis was ordered to “turn everything back over” to former President, Sybil McNabb. What a sham and a scam!

The Circuit Court Judge in the Crittenden Arkansas decision said it best, “. . .the intervenor (National NAACP) seems to regard itself as a feudal liege, the member branches, in general its fiefdom . . .If the court had the least doubt about the utter disdain that its orders are held by the intervenor (National NAACP), the testimony of its principals (National NAACP Staff) has put that doubt to rest.”

Even while it is entangled in court battles, even as it was ordered to pay the West Memphis, Arkansas branch $120,000 for its malpractices, even as it is scheduled to hold its national convention in Cincinnati, the city where they have initiated a presidential “selection” of Rob Richardson, who is being investigated by the Ohio Election Commission, the NAACP flaunts its corruption for all to see. It is perplexing that rank and file members allow corrupt national and state NAACP personnel to treat them like slaves rather than respected and dedicated volunteers.

Prompting and allowing children to vote is a terrible example of how to conduct fair elections; as future members those youth will do the same thing. Overturning elections without explaining why and ignoring reciprocal complaints and requests for clarity are hypocritical acts by an organization known for fighting against such practices. Violating their own rules is an arrogant act of disdain for NAACP bedrock foundational principles. And charging what is tantamount to a poll tax is outrageous and beneath what little dignity the national NAACP has left.

Local members must stand up and speak out against this corruption and withhold their money from the national NAACP until it changes its awful practices. More to come.

 

 

Beyond T-Shirts and Hoodies — November 2015

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman November 13th, 2015

Missouri
Recollections of my 1995 article on the business of college athletics danced in my head when I heard the news about the University of Missouri football team’s refusal to play until the President of that University, Tim Wolfe, resigns or is dismissed. The players said, “due to his negligence toward marginalized students’ experience” and his lax attitude regarding racial issues on campus, they would no longer participate in football activities. (Prior to the publishing date for this article, Tim Wolfe resigned.)

As I noted in 1995, and in several articles on college athletics and the billions of dollars they generate, money is the name of the game. When coaches of college teams earn several million dollars per year and half-billion dollar stadiums are being built, the actual laborers, the players, get lost in the shuffle.

Well, the players on the University of Missouri football team are far from being invisible as they are making a statement that has divulged an economic vulnerability. By the time you read this the situation may have been resolved, but even if it is there are lessons to be learned and actions to be replicated from this case.

According to an article on CBS Sports, “Canceling game with BYU would cost Mizzou $1,000,000.” Everything boils down to dollars, if you look deeply enough, and the young men on Missouri’s team are illuminating that reality by their actions. The same thing could be done in professional athletics as well, in an effort to change the business as usual approach to racial inequities and mistreatment in the general society. It would be much more effective than t-shirts and hoodies.

Instead of wearing shirts with a nice-sounding slogan on them, or hoodies that connote illegal killings of Black folks, black armbands, or writing something on their shoes, Missouri football players chose the “nuclear option,” as some in Congress would call it. They put their prospective livelihoods on the line, and they put their scholarships on the line by actually doing something substantive rather than symbolic in response to their legitimate concerns about the conditions on their campus.

The sacrifice these young people are making cannot be overstated, and I commend them for being strong and committed enough to put core values before fame. I also hope the issue is resolved before this article goes to press; while they deserve our support and accolades, they should not have to suffer a loss of individual scholarships and their chances to make it to the professional ranks simply because they took a principled stand against racism. Other athletes have already fought that battle and some are still paying the price decades later.

Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Muhammad Ali, Curt Flood, and Craig Hodges, just to name a few, took their stands against the system and took the blows that their peers were unwilling to take. They paid a hefty price for having the temerity to stand up and speak out. The Missouri football players now find themselves in a crucible of consciousness, and we should stand with them and assure that they do not suffer the same fate as their forerunners. If they are “blacklisted” by the NFL, Black people—and other sympathizers should boycott NFL games.

I pray that someone other than the usual suspects, who are simply looking for the nearest camera, microphone, and a big check to boot, will come to the students’ aide and help them work out their situation in the long term. They have done their part by exposing the underbelly of racial mistreatment at the University, and they have also exposed the school to a financial liability that more than likely does not end with Brigham Young University. How many more games are on Missouri’s schedule?

The economic lesson from the players’ threatened “work stoppage,” juxtaposed against Jonathan Butler’s life-threatening hunger strike, is quite revealing. Missouri2 Butler’s life was virtually ignored, but when the dollars came into play things changed right away. The message: A Black life does not matter, but Black dollars do matter. Considering all the critical issues facing Black people in this country, we would do well to use economic power instead of relying on political influence to make appropriate changes to our overall condition.

We should celebrate the Missouri players for taking the “road less traveled” as they fight for their rights on their campus; they chose substance over symbolism, action over passivity. Rather than merely wearing their complaints on their chests or their shoes, they chose to wear their concerns on their hearts by letting the world know they are quite serious; they took their protest to the only level that gets results—the economic level. Much respect to those young men and their supporters at Missouri University.

 

 

Can I get an Amen? — November 2015

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman November 7th, 2015

On December 3, 2015 the Collective Empowerment Group (CEG), formerly known as the Collective Banking Group (CBG) of Prince George’s County and Vicinity, will celebrate a milestone achievement: Its 20th Anniversary. The CEG was established in 1995 by twenty-one churches, in response to discrimination and mistreatment by banks, some of which had financed church buildings but refused to make loans thereafter for renovations and business development.

Instead of wringing their hands, whining, and begging the banks to change, Jonathan Weaver, Pastor of Greater Mt. Nebo A.M.E. Church, rallied a few of his fellow ministers to respond appropriately to those banks. They used their collective leverage, via the members’ of their respective congregations, to obtain reciprocity from the banks that they chose to be “in covenant” with. Banks began to “compete” for the churches’ business by coming to the leaders of the CEG to make their presentations. In other words the banks did not interview the churches; rather, the churches interviewed the banks.

Important to note are the reciprocal relationships that evolved from the initiative of the churches and their refusal to continue doing business as usual. Both sides won. The banks understood the value of being in what was called a “covenant relationship” with this newly formed dynamic group, and the churches understood the leverage they had by working collectively and cooperatively, across theological persuasions, toward business solutions for their members.

The CBG became the CEG as a result of its growth from 21 churches to nearly 150 churches comprising 175,000 members and its desire to involve itself in other business relationships. The CEG’s aim was to be more holistic in its approach to the myriad of issues affecting the daily lives of Black people. Thus, as a result of CBG leadership recognizing the possibilities of doing even more business with other retailers, i.e. furniture stores, carpet outlets, and organizations involved in health, politics, insurance, professional services, and supplies, the name was changed along with the organization’s scope of service. Not-for-profit entities were also invited to work with the CEG, again creating mutually beneficial relationships and opportunities not ordinarily available.

The CEG Strategic Partners, usually small business owners and service providers, not only gain access to the individual members of the CEG with whom they can do business; they respond by offering discounts and other special considerations to the CEG members. Having helped start a chapter of the CEG in Cincinnati, Ohio, I can personally attest to the benefits offered by CEG Strategic Partner businesses.

Innovative, practical, bold, and beneficial are just a few words that describe the CEG, its leadership, and individual members and partners. CEG churches do not continue to complain about how they are mistreated despite spending significant amounts with businesses and depositing large sums of money into banks that do not reciprocate. CEG churches take the issue into their own hands, first by understanding the power of leverage and then by being willing to address any inequities that exist in their business relationships via their collective clout.

Just imagine the economic progress we would make if hundreds and even thousands more Black churches throughout this country would form CEG chapters and replicate what has been done in the original chapter and now in other local chapters. After all, as Willie Sutton once said, “That’s where the [Black] money is.”

Although I have written several newspaper columns about the CEG, I never tire of doing so because it has done such great work in the area of economic empowerment. And because I hear so many of our brothers and sisters asking, “What are the churches doing?” I am compelled to share CEG with any and all who will listen. Many churches across the country are doing some fantastic things on an individual basis; that cannot be denied. The CEG demonstrates what can be done collectively, and it graphically illustrates that there is, indeed, power in numbers. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to write about this outstanding organization, and I will continue to sing its praises for spreading the gospel of economic empowerment.

You can celebrate with the CEG and learn more about how it began and what it is doing now by attending their 20th Anniversary Gala in Bowie, Maryland. For more information just go to www.collectiveempowermentgroup.org or call 301 699 8449.

Kudos, Congrats, and Bravos to the CEG, its visionary, Pastor Jonathan Weaver, and its current leadership, President Anthony G. Maclin and Executive Director, Dr. Diane H. Johnson. Just as important are all of those who followed their lead, locally and nationally, to establish what has now become a two decades-old successful organization.

Can I get an Amen?

 

 

Just how blind are we? — November 2015

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman November 1st, 2015

Gil Scott-Heron once asked: “Just how blind will America be? The world is on the edge of its seat; defeat on the horizon, very surprisin’, that we all can see the plot and claim that we cannot. Just how blind America?”

Heron

Today, forty years later, we ask, “Just how blind will Black America be?” We should be able to see the plot, but many claim they cannot. We are heading down the same political road that got us into our current condition of political impotence and irrelevance. The next election and all of its current hoopla exposes the continuous game being played not only on Black America but on America in general. Any discerning person can see it. Unfortunately, much of our discernment is invested in “The lives of …,” “The Housewives of …” and all the other nonsense many of our people watch religiously.

We are too busy living vicariously through the TV lives of other folks who are paid to carry on a bunch of foolishness, to curse one another out, to threaten one another, and to insult one another. We are blind to our own demise right now; but when October 2016 rolls around we will be in a frenzy of registering to vote, albeit uninformed and ill-prepared to face the ensuing four years of the same mistreatment and neglect we have suffered under previous political administrations.

Political candidates said, “Game on!” months ago, and the best we are able to muster are a few demonstrations, disruptions, and discussions about whether or not our lives matter to them. We have asked candidates what they are going do in response to our plight, but we have not made appropriate and commensurate demands in that regard. In other words, we have a lot of rhetoric but no substantive reciprocal relationships with any of the candidates.

In all the debates thus far there was one question pertaining to Black folks; it came from a Black man, CNN’s Don Lemon, who selected the ridiculous question, “Do Black lives matter ‘or’ do all lives matter? The question was silly and meaningless; the candidates’ answer was to ignore the question.
Nigerians killed
Political candidates know that Black lives did not matter when 2000 Nigerians were slaughtered in the Baga Massacre in Nigeria, which took place the same time as the twelve Charlie Hebdo murders. They know that the 147 students killed at Kenya’s Garissa University in April 2015 did not matter, Kenyan attackbut the 132 killed in Paris do matter. Want more? They knew that the lives of 985,000 Tutsis in Rwanda did not matter during that massacre in 1994-1995. They know, and we know as well, that Black lives do not matter in “Chiraq” and other cities where we are killing one another. So why ask that dumb question?

Just how blind will Black America be? As we are led down the primrose path by the likes of “pleaders” rather than real leaders, as we buy-in to their sell-out of Black people in exchange for a few crumbs from their master’s table, the speed of our headlong plunge to the bottom increases exponentially.

Can’t you see, Black America? It matters not who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue; you have been and are being played. You are being duped with your eyes wide open. Right now many Black folks are arguing about Hillary, Carson, and Trump, as though we have some power to determine our own political destiny rather than one of them being in charge of it.

Here’s the point. As Brother Gil Scott-Heron suggested, even though it’s obvious that our elected officials will do whatever they want to do, legal or illegal, on our behalf or not, we turn a blind eye to it rather than changing the political game and playing it to win. If you would listen to The Watergate Blues, The Bicentennial Blues, The New Deal, and We Beg Your pardon, you will see that forty years ago he told us what the political deal was; we would not listen then and we are still blind to the realities of political chicanery.

Just how blind will Black America remain, y’all? Our political engagement must be pragmatic; it must be for real, not some childish game where candidates are free to simply ignore us as they seek our so-called “precious” votes.

Our political dilemma has never been the lack of a “Black” President, no more than it was in the 60’s and 70’s when we thought it was a lack of Black politicians. Our problem was and is our lack of political involvement beyond voting, our failure to build political power based on an economic power base, and our reliance on political symbolism over political substance.

“How much more evidence do the citizens need; that the election was sabotaged by trickery and greed?” The Watergate Blues