Winston-Salem chronicle. (Winston-Salem, N.C.) 1974-current, June 04, 2015, Page A7, Image 7
FORUM Time to Throw Some Political Punches A (James Clingman | Guest | Columnist For the past 50 years, most of our conversations and efforts have been centered on politics. ? Reminiscent of the Reconstruction Era, when Blacks occu pied political office for the first time, many of our politicians are just figureheads, toothless tigers and lackeys for the estab lishment. Many of them are simply "employed" and are only concerned about keeping their "jobs." Many Black politicians actu ally work harder on behalf of others than they do for their own brothers and sisters. We must change our conversation from politics to economics. Before you political hacks get angry, let me say that we must continue to be involved in politics. We must run for office and we must leverage our votes, by all means. But we cannot afford to stop there. We saw what happened in 2008 and 2012; both times Black folks were told to "go out and vote." We were told we must vote in even greater numbers in 2012 than we did in 2008. We did it, and we still cannot even get a hearing on reparations. A few years ago, P Diddy told the young people to, "Vote or die." They voted and yet, when it comes to economic empowerment, they, and we, are nearly dead. Like I said in a previous article, where is the "Start a busi ness or die" campaign, the "Pool our money or die" campaign? **v Black people must realize that winle our relatives fought and died for voting, rights, those folks didn't die so we couldX spend the majority of our time "playing" politics. They wanted us to take our partic ipation to the next level. Similarly, Black folks, your relatives and mine, also lost their lives because they chose to go into business. Where is the rallying cry today ciple: Quid pro quo. We should be leverag ing our votes; otherwise, why participate at aliylt really doesn't matter what color ^Jhe politician is. What matters most is wftm Black folks are getting from the sys tem, and Black folks are getting the shaft from most of our politicians. You know it, I know it, and they know it. It's bad enough that the leadership in the two major parties really doesn't care about us. "The old game of Black folks being all or nothing to either party has proven to be our political demise." -James Clingman for entrepreneurship? Black politicians who do absolutely nothing for Black folks come out every couple of years to tell us how good they have been and what they support on our behalf. What a load of fertilizer that is. Even stranger is the fact that Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conserva tives do the same things. We may duck the "right" cross, but we still get hit by the "left" hook. In other words, we have noth ing coming from either political party, and they have proven that to us time and time again. Since our vaunted voting "power" is so important to the two major political par ties, we should be using it in ways that support the most important political prin One is throwing Mike Tyson right crosses and the other is throwing Joe Frazier left hooks at us, causing us to be off-balance, out of sync, and off-kilter, as we try to avoid their vicious haymakers. The political "leaders" who continue to tell us that all we have to do is vote to change things should be voted out of office. This voting for all Democrats or all Republicans by Black folks is nothing short of political suicide. Carter G. Woodson said, "Any people who would vote the same way for three generations without thereby obtaining results ought to be ignored and disenfranchised." The old game of Black folks being all or nothing to either party has proven to be our political demise. We give our all and Ron Rogers Illustration for The Chronicle get nothing in return. Eighty years ago, nearly all Blacks voted Republican. Now, it's just the opposite. Neither scenario has worked, so why do we continue that insan ity? Black folte have been getting hit with right crosses and left hooks since we got into this political game, and now we need to start throwing some punches of our own. The hardest punches we can throw are economic punches. We must be willing to take off the gloves and go with bare knuckles into the marketplace and let our presence be known by withholding and redirecting our dollars. We must put our money where our mouth is and contribute to politicians who speak and act on our behalf. The only things that count with politicians are dollars and votes - in that order. We must leverage both to get what we need from either the "Demopublic^js" or the "Republicrats." As the right crosses and left hooks con tinue to be thrown by crooked, immoral, and unethical politicians, both White and Black, let's get busy economically and start punching back, before we get knocked out. Jim Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the nation's most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He can be reached through his website, blackonomics.com. He is the author of Black Dollars Matter: Teach Your Dollars How to Make More Sense, which is available through his website: professionalpublishinghouse.com and Lee Daniels Guest |<Columnist Question: When men (and a few women) belong ing to gangs known to law enforcement agencies for criminal behavior explode in a rampage - using guns, knives, clubs, and chains in trying to kill each other, and police officers, too, that leaves nine dead, near ly 200 injured and hun dreds arrested, is that a "riot?" Answer: Apparently not if the overwhelming major ity of the gang members are White. America's present-day "racial divide," has never been more strikingly dis played than in the refusal of much of the mainstream and conservative media to describe the May 17 biker The Waco biker riot reveals the lexicon of racism ( riot in Waco, Texas as a riot. The riot, which occurred at a popular restaurant amid dozens of innocent bystanders and, according to police, involved members of five different gangs, was one of the most extraordinary out bursts of mass criminal vio lence in recent memory. Further, almost immediate ly after Waco police arrest ed the bikers, rumors swirled that other members of the gangs were heading toward the city to both con tinue the battle against their rivals and carry out death threats made against Waco police officials. Yet, scanning the news papers, the universe of online publications, and the network and cable televi sion news programs, you'd have scarcely come across any description of what occurred in Waco as a "riot." Nor would you have likely found any reference to the bikers, clad in their distinctively grungy biker garb, as "thugs" - or, as one newspaper reader put it: "murdering thuggish riot ers." MediaMatters, the watchdog group, pointed out the contrast in how Fox News, for example, cov ered ' Waco versus Baltimore and Ferguson. It noted, "After African American communities in Baltimore and Ferguson, Mo. came together to demonstrate against the deadly and racially dis parate policies of law enforcement. Fox News branded the protests a 'war on cops.' But when the story became a mostly white Texas biker gang plotting to kill police with grenades and car bombs, the network took a decid edly less sensationalist approach in its reporting." CNN Political Commentator Sally Kohn wrote, "In fact, in much of the coverage of the Waco shootings, the race of the gang members isn't even mentioned. By comparison, the day after Freddie Gray died in the custody of police officers in Baltimore, not only did most coverage mention that Gray was black, but also included a quote ffom the deputy police commission er noting Gray was arrested in 'a high-crime area known to have high narcot ic incidents,' implicitly smearing Gray and the entire community." The disparity in cover age did not go unremarked upon on Black social media, in a host of progres sive publications, and in numerous online reader I responses to mainstream publication stories. (Many also noted the Waco police responded to the deadly shootout with none of the heavily militarized equip ment and body armor that immediately marked police responses to peaceful protests in Ferguson and Baltimore.) Indeed, the differences in the language used under score that the way words and phrases are used to talk about race and racial events has its own meaning. In this instance, it's that such words as "riot" and "thug" are part of the lexicon of America's continuing racial divide that, among other things, individualizes White crime and White flaws while it indicts all Black Americans for the flaws and crimes of indi vidual Blacks. Some years ago a journalist friend of mine described this dynam ic as "the chains of collec tive guilt." The phenomenon isn't new, of course. Once, the lexicon of anti-Black col lective guilt helped justify the actual chains of Negro slavery and the legalized racism that followed. Now, it's usually employed in more subtle ways. Except when it's not: As in the revealing discov eries over the past two months of racist, sexist and homophobic tweets and e mails by cops in the police departments of San Francisco, Miami Beach, and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. In each case ? all are still in early stages of inves tigation - police officers, some with long years on their force, were found to have exchanged from dozens to hundreds of social-media messages dis paraging with vile slurs against Blacks, Hispanic Americans, women, gays and lesbians, Muslim Americans - and, of course. President Obama. Law enforcement co-work ers and innocent civilians alike were denigrated along with Black criminal sus pects. The bulk of the mes sages in all these instances, which cover ffom 2010 to the present, focused on Black Americans. The discoveries have led to the resignations of some of the officers, and disciplinary actions, including firing, against the others. Even more impor tant, prosecutors and police officials in the three cities are reviewing cases of defendants in which the officers were involved either as arresting officers or witnesses at trial. In San Francisco, prosecutors have already dropped eight White cases connected to some of the officers there. One Miami Beach cop tried to excuse his behavior by describing it as just part of the police department's longstanding "culture." Unfortunately, the same could be said for the main stream and conservative media's refusal to use the most accurate descriptions for the Waco biker riot. It's those similarities that are worrisome. Lee A. Daniels is a longtime journalist based in New York City. His essay, "Martin Luther King, Jr.: The Great Provocateur," appears in "Africa's Peacemakers: Nobel Peace Laureates of African Descent" (2014), published by Zed Books. His new collection of columns, "Race Forward: Facing America's Racial Divide in 2014," is avail able at www amazon com.