Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

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



Preaching to Myself-Learning from and living my own lessons

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman May 16th, 2018

I donated the publishing rights and 100% of the proceeds from this book to the Graceview Church of Christ Tabernacle Fund (Anderson, SC). Order directly through me by emailing saying how many you want, or go to the church website:




Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman March 5th, 2018



The Last Dance — September 2017

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman September 25th, 2017

Those of you who are my age will remember the house parties in our parents’ basements with the blue and red lights. Whether boy or girl, although you were reluctant to ask or too shy to accept that slow dance with someone you considered special, when the moment finally came and the two of you embraced each other, that dance was the most you could ask for in your teen aged years. Unfortunately, that dance was usually at the bewitching hour when your parents said everyone had to go home. You finally got the nerve to do it, and then it had to end—you had to let go. That’s what I feel as I work my way through this final Blackonomics article.

Since the age of 24 or so, after I visited the Topographical Center in Chicago during the late 1960’s, I finally found the consciousness I needed to do something in response to what was happening in this nation vis-à-vis Black people. I began to speak out and do whatever I could to ameliorate our problems on a local level.

From 1972 until 2012, I earned my living by working for Black administrators and business owners, on behalf of Black people, in the public and private sectors. My much-anticipated dance began forty-five years ago, and I have embraced my dance partner, the uplift of Black people, ever since.

In 1993, after writing a letter to the Editor of the Cincinnati Herald, I started this particular dance by embracing the opportunity to write on a weekly basis. Now, nearly 25 years later, the houselights have been turned on, drowning out the blue lights, and it’s time to let go of my dance partner. But she was never mine to keep anyway; someone danced with her before me and someone will dance with her after me.

Yes, after authoring some 1500 articles, editorials, and essays, and writing nine books, five of which on economic empowerment, giving hundreds of speeches and teaching numerous classes across this country, there is probably not much more I can say on empowerment. Moreover, as I suggested, the message was never my own—it was just in a different form, relative to my time and experiences.

The economic empowerment message belongs to no one person; it is not new and it certainly is not unique or proprietary to anyone of us who chose to spread that particular “gospel.” It was touted by the likes of Maria Stewart and Frederick Douglass, Mary McLeod Bethune and Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells and Marcus Garvey, Maggie Lena Walker and Malcolm X, Amos Wilson, Carter G. Woodson, Kenneth Bridges, and Maynard Jackson. Contemporaries, along with myself, are now the messengers for economic empowerment. Same message, different griots. No one has all the answers and no one alone can take us where we must go; a critical mass of us must go together, based on collective leverage, cooperation, and strength.

Like those before me, I am leaving a compendium of writings on economic empowerment that will be catalogued and available, via streaming, for study groups and individuals to read and use in building a solid foundation for future generations. Like others before me, the lessons I have learned will be there for developing and executing solution-based strategies. The question is: “Will they be followed, or merely discussed, ad nauseam, by the folks who believe that by talking about our problems they have actually ‘done’ something to solve them?” Based on our errant history since 1964, I pray we will act appropriately by using the knowledge left to us by our progenitors.

Here are a few ways to do that:
Raise our consciousness to a level of “unconscious competency”
Leverage our dollars and our votes against injustice and inequity by withdrawing them
Use our consumer dollars to create conscious Black millionaires
Establish more viable, professional, well-managed businesses, and support them
Establish trusts, equity funds, revolving loan programs, and endowments
Form strategic business alliances and partnerships that can take on larger projects
Scale up our businesses to provide more jobs for Black people
Teach our youth the history of Black business in this country
Teach our young people to think entrepreneurially
Demand reciprocity from politicians and the marketplace, from a position of economic strength
Vote for those who publicly state and commit in writing their support for our interests
Withhold our votes from anyone and any party that will not support our interests
Hold ourselves accountable for our own economic freedom
Organize ourselves around practical economic and political solutions that benefit US
Commit some of our time, talent, and treasure to the uplift of our people

Always remember: “Well done beats well said every time, and if people put you on a pedestal, don’t take up residence there.” Peace and Love to all. What a dance, huh? What a dance!