Archive for December, 2015

Black Consciousness vs Christianity – Part One — December 2015

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman December 28th, 2015

Is it possible to have a Black consciousness and be a Christian? Are the terms contradictory? Is “Conscious Christian” an oxymoron? I can hear some of you now, saying, “Uh oh, Jim, you are in deep water with this topic.” That’s fine; this column has not survived for nearly twenty-three years without some controversy or my being afraid to walk on thin ice every now and then. Don’t worry; I can swim.

After hearing an interesting conversation on the Carl Nelson radio show (1450 AM in the DC area or woldcnews.com) regarding the question of “Conscious Christianity,” and after giving it a lot of thought, I decided to dive into the deep end of the pool. A very touchy topic for sure, but no matter which side you may support, it is an important subject and just might clear up a few issues in our minds. Additionally, as our knowledge increases, I trust it will bring us closer together and cause us to organize around practical economic principles. The fewer schisms that exist among Black folks, the better things will be.

This missive is couched in 20th century parlance and the actions of folks most of us can relate to or have read about, some of who are still alive today. It is also based on the contention by some in the conscious community that many Black Christians worship a “White Jesus;” therefore, they cannot really have a “Black consciousness.” Hmmm.

A working definition of “consciousness” is appropriate here. There are several from which we could choose, but let’s use Stephen Biko’s definition, which emanated from W.E.B. DuBois’ “Double Consciousness” treatise. Biko was the founder of the Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa and was brutally tortured and killed by White police officers for advocating Black consciousness. Biko didn’t just “rap” about Black consciousness; he lived and died for it.

Black Consciousness

“Black Consciousness is in essence the realization by the Black man of the need to rally together with his brothers around the cause of their oppression – the Blackness of their skin – and to operate as a group in order to rid themselves of the shackles that bind them to perpetual servitude…It is a manifestation of a new realization that by seeking to run away from [ourselves] and to emulate the white man, Blacks are insulting the intelligence of whoever created [us] Black. Black Consciousness therefore takes cognizance of the deliberateness of ‘God’s plan’ in creating Black people Black.” Source: South African History Online

“Black Consciousness had a great impact on South African society and the churches were no exception. ‘Its origins were deeply rooted in Christianity.’ In 1966, the Anglican Church under the incumbent, Archbishop Robert Selby Taylor, convened a meeting which later led to the foundation of the University Christian Movement (UCM). This was to become the vehicle for Black Consciousness.” George Sombe Mukuka

The above paragraphs strongly illustrate the connection between Christianity and Black consciousness in South Africa, but where do Black consciousness and Christianity intersect for Blacks in the U.S.? The man whom we conscious folks hold in highest esteem, Marcus Garvey, often referred to his Christian beliefs and Biblical scriptures to make his points about liberation and Black consciousness. One of his famous quotes is, “I shall never hold Christ responsible for the commercialization of Christianity by the heartless men who adopt it as the easiest means of fooling and robbing other people out of their land and country.”
Garvey
Garvey said, “Anything that is not righteous we have no respect for, because God Almighty is our leader and Jesus Christ is our standard bearer.” He also said, “Radical is a label that is always applied to people who are endeavoring to get freedom. Jesus Christ was the greatest radical the world ever saw. He came and saw a world of sin and His program was to inspire it with His spiritual redemption.”

Was MLK a conscious Christian? It is obvious that if he was not conscious in 1963, he certainly became conscious prior to his assassination five years later, which was exemplified in his speech the night before he was killed.
MLK Last Speech
“King was clear that the struggle for Black liberation required coordination, discipline, and sacrifice with respect to economics…In Dr. King’s final words to his people on April 3, 1968 he said so many things that audiences listening to fiery Black nationalist orators of the 19th century would have heard…The Dreamer of 1963 was gone…Dr. King should not be remembered merely as a naive political dreamer, but as a centered, crystal clear advocate for the liberation of his people.” Source: Sirius Bark, by Temple3.

Next week we will look at more facts and more folks in an effort to see if it’s really possible to be both “Conscious” and “Christian.”

 

 

Looking for what we already have. — December 2015

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman December 20th, 2015

Our seemingly endless conversations about what Black people “need to have” and “need to do” are nothing short of astounding—and confounding as well. Some of our people call radio talk shows and decry, lament, and complain about the lack of resources among Black folks. Others ask “how to” and “when” questions about issues, initiatives, and strategies “we need” to implement and champion; even when the host or the guest gives the answer some callers ignore it and go on another tirade about another issue, another deficiency, or another “Black people problem” and what “we need” in order to change our situation.

Seeking internal instead of external relief, and relying on our own resources, is the practical way to solve most of our problems. The following quote illustrates my point.

“Myopia is a deficiency of the eye, the inability to see clearly at a distance, or in this case, the lack of foresight. During the Harlem Renaissance many of the leading Black writers protested vigorously and complained without end that white publishing concerns would not, solely based on racial discrimination (today’s profiling) publish or even review their works. This of course was true and in many cases remains so. But what these august champions of race pride seemed to have overlooked, or could not see through their obsequious begging, was the UNIA’s publishing house, run by the African Communities League, located squarely in the heart of 135th Street, Harlem. At the time, books, pamphlets, newspapers and other materials were typeset, printed, bound and shipped to distant places on the globe through the UNIA’s book department. With over six million card-carrying members of the UNIA, the literary lights surely would have found a ready market for their products, without having to depend on white largess.” Amos Wilson, Afrikan Centered Consciousness vs the New World Order.
Wilson book
Looking for rather than using what we already have has pushed us further down the economic ladder. Many of our “leaders” have come to depend on others to fund their organizations and their causes, thus causing them to be nothing more than little children who can be patted on the head and made to sit down, stand down, and shut up any time it fits the patriarch’s agenda.

Black people have a tremendous amount of resources at our disposal, but so many of us continue that sad refrain of “we need” this and that, without utilizing what we already have. That’s a prescription for failure, brothers and sisters. Aren’t you tired of failing? Don’t you want to chalk up a few wins?

This country and this world respect power; that’s why you hear the terms “Buying Power” and “Voting Power.” These terms, however, are just euphemisms when applied to Black people. If that was not true Black folks would be well beyond the economic and political position we are in today. Power is not power unless it is utilized. Otherwise, how would any group ever know it had power?

“Power is the ability to define reality and to have others respond to it as their [own] reality.” Dr. Wade Nobles

Nobles

As we refuse to use what we already have we deny ourselves the power to be self-reliant, self-determined, and self-directed. Just look back at examples of the economic resources we used to empower ourselves. Unfortunately we let it all slip away when we fell for the political game. We dropped everything and ran at warp speed toward getting Black people elected to public office, abandoning our economic base and abdicating our economic responsibility to future generations.

Today, we hear the cry for more Black owned hotels, when we had a vehicle, Visions 2000, founded by Ernestine Henning and the Richard Allen Foundation, through which we could have built and owned more hotels, collectively.

We say we need more Black banks, but fail to support the ones we already have. We should be growing our banks with our own deposits, thereby creating more opportunities for more of our people. How much of the millions held by Black organizations is in Black banks? Members of those organizations should insist on nothing less. For example, how much NAACP money is on account at Harbor Bank in Baltimore, Maryland, where the NAACP is domiciled? Same with other Black organizations.

What about municipal funds and employee pension money? How much of that money resides in Black banks and Black owned financial management firms. We complain about Black churches and ignore what we already have in the Collective Empowerment Group. And last but certainly not our least resource is the One Million Conscious Black Voters and Contributors, www.iamoneofthemillion.com which addresses most of the problems Black people face today. What “we need” is available now; so stop looking for what we already have. one million2

 

 

Compro Tax: Where dollars make sense. — December 2015

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman December 14th, 2015

As we talk about what to do and not do with our dollars during the holiday season, retailers are eagerly awaiting and preparing for another way to get your money. After the “after Christmas” sales, furniture stores, electronics outlets, car dealers, and anyone else with something to sell will be licking their lips about yet another high-spending season. It is a time of the year when consumers are quite vulnerable because many of us feel like we have “extra” money to spend. That extra money is called “tax refunds.”

Other than folks who get the earned income credit, most people do not view tax refunds as their own money that has IRS has held for a year or more. Many treat it like found money, which makes it very easy for us to go out and spend it on “Tax Refund Sales.” Truth is, it’s already your money; you earned it and the IRS is just giving it back to you. Irrespective of that reality, each year consumers splurge and go on buying binges with their “windfall” refunds.

This is not an effort to tell you how to spend your refund; that’s your decision. This is an effort to inform my readers about Compro Tax, a national Black owned and operated tax preparation and financial services firm. As I have done virtually every year via this column and in the five books I have written, I continue to write about Compro Tax, especially around this time of the year because if we have to hire someone to prepare our taxes, at least let it be a Black owned company.

According to Franchise Help.com, “The tax preparation industry is big business – 38,287 firms operated in the field last year, generating 7.7 billion in annual revenue. Because it is required, tax preparation tends to be recession resistant.”

Compro Tax, started more than thirty years ago, comprises over 200 affiliates throughout the country, was founded by Jackie Mayfield, and is domiciled in Beaumont, Texas. Mayfield Mayfield and his partners, associates, and staff are dedicated not only to being the best of the best in the tax industry but being great corporate citizens in the communities in which they reside. In addition, Compro Tax offices are open and active all year long rather than just moving in for the tax season and disappearing after April 15th.

Further, prospective Compro Tax affiliates are offered across-the-board assistance with start-up and continuous training in an effort to stay up to date on all tax policies and other financial issues and benefits of which customers can take advantage.

If you hire someone to prepare your tax return, even if you do not use Compro Tax, please hire a Black owned company. It makes no sense for us to be so ensconced in demonstrations and protests around Black dollars while not making every effort to spend some of those dollars with a Black owned tax firm—and other Black companies, not just because they are Black but also because they provide excellent service.

Compro Tax is committed to improving communities and affording business opportunities to prospective entrepreneurs. As a glowing example of community involvement and “giving back,” Compro Tax built, owns, and operates a convention/event center in Beaumont, Texas to serve the needs of residents for a top-notch, first-class meeting facility, managed by Fred Zeno.Zeno Compro Center

Compro center2

Eighty-two million tax returns are filed by paid preparers. Don’t you think that in light of our rhetoric about supporting Black businesses we should support Compro Tax? Franchise Help.com also wrote, “The vast, vast majority of tax preparers are small – 37% were run by a single person, while 53% were operated by less than ten. There were128,393 total employees in the field last year. There were plenty of tax returns to go around.”

Unlike other tax firms, Compro Tax does not hire folks in clown suits to wave placards in front of their offices to attract customers; Compro Tax gets its business simply by providing outstanding customer service from industry experts.

Finally, for those who believe that advocating for support of Black businesses is separatist, divisive, or unfair, as some Black folks in Detroit voiced back in 2005 when Dr. Claud Anderson attempted to develop a Black business enclave in that city, I offer one more quote from the article on Franchise Help.com: “One approach some tax preparation businesses take to avoid the stark seasonality of the tax preparation business is to diversify and enter other related fields. Others, like Siempre Tax+ are focused on specific markets, like the ‘Hispanic’ population.”
I rest my case.

To find the Compro Tax office nearest you or if you are interested in starting your own Compro Tax office, go to their website: www.comprotax.net or call 409 882 9893; toll free, 1-888 884 2829. And don’t spend all of your tax return in one place.

 

 

The NAACP is broken; members must fix it. — December 2015

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman December 5th, 2015

“Everyone is created equal but some are more equal than others.” George Orwell
“Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Lord Acton

Having served the NAACP for ten years in several capacities, including branch president, and having donated money to its causes, I take no pleasure in writing this exposé. But it is our responsibility to clean up our own organizations. For example, President Cornell Brooks sends missives on a regular basis, asking for money of course but also complaining about “voter suppression” by various states. Yet Brooks and Chairman of the Board, Roslyn Brock, accept voter suppression in their own ranks in various branches across the country. My grandmother would call that hypocrisy.
Brock and Brooks
Accepting dysfunction within our organizations only diminishes our capacity to achieve meaningful economic progress. If all they do are 1000-mile marches, pledge allegiance to the Democrat Party, and beg for money, the perception of our organizations will continue to be that of dependence, irrelevance, and impotence. We will be relegated to an afterthought—a nonthreatening group of Black folks who can be bought-off for a pittance.

The National NAACP has become a sham and a national disgrace to Black people. President Brooks’ latest request states, “…we need to raise at least $300,000 in December to continue our fight for voting rights, justice, and educational and economic opportunity for all.” In addition to that request, there are the ongoing solicitations for $30.00 memberships.

Of those $30.00 local membership fees, $18.00 goes to the national office, as well as 25% of funds raised by local branches from their annual Freedom Fund Banquets. Here’s the rub: The Columbus Dispatch (September 2013) pointed out, “The NAACP’s most recent filings with the IRS showed the organization ended 2013 with a $5.7 million operating deficit with $36.7 million in expenditures and $30 million in revenue.”

JealousYet, according to outgoing President, Ben Jealous, the NAACP doubled its funds from $23 million in 2007 to $46 million in 2012. “In the last five years, we’ve had double-digit revenue growth, we’ve spent five years in the black,” Jealous told USA Today in September 2013. What happened to all that money?

Former President of the Columbus, Ohio branch, Noel Williams, who was also a victim of national NAACP corruption, says, “Today’s NAACP represents only the ‘entitled’ few, comprising representatives of the National Board, special contributors, and connected State Conference Presidents. Local members suffer victimization by the National NAACP personnel who rake in millions of dollars from corporate America but very little, if any, goes to the local units. Our branches are left to scrimp, beg, borrow or use any means necessary to accomplish our work, many operating on $2,000 or less per month.”

Williams continued, “The National NAACP is abusive toward its units. The Circuit Court Judge in the West Memphis, Arkansas said it best, ‘The intervenor (National NAACP) seems to regard itself as a feudal liege, the member branches, in general its fiefdom’. The National NAACP considers itself master and the local members their servants. The animus displayed by the National NAACP towards its units, and even a court of law, is evident in the Arkansas case in which the Judge wrote, before issuing a judgement against the National NAACP of a $120,000, ‘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.’”

“The National NAACP has an internal cancer that was benign, but now the malignancy has spread to once healthy parts of the organization. Units in Ohio, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Florida, to name a few, have all been metastasized and now find themselves in the stream of suspended memberships, manipulated elections, character defamation, and a host of other non-judicious offenses,” Williams stated.

Money and perks are at the root of this cancerous corruption. Roslyn Brock has a milquetoast malleable President in Cornell Brooks, who is just what the doctor ordered for an egotistical self-centered Chairman only interested in individual acclaim.

In September 2005, Black Enterprise Magazine interviewed new NAACP President, Bruce Gordon. Speaking about New Orleans, Gordon said, “Most recently there are a lot of concerns about the way African Americans are treated in the French Quarter. I would say in addition to [marching], we should take our dollars elsewhere…That, to me, is a more significant message than a protest because it has an economic impact on the offenders.”

Bruce

In March of 2007 The Washington Post, in response to Gordon quitting the NAACP, wrote “In choosing Gordon, the NAACP veered from its tradition of selecting ministers, politicians, and civil rights figures. Gordon’s strong management skills as a former Verizon executive factored into why he was selected to run the 500,000-member NAACP.”

Gordon would not be micromanaged. Maybe that’s why he is no longer President of the NAACP. Members, the NAACP is broken; hold on to your money, and fix it.