Reality Check: Professor Clingman warns Black folks to stop being ‘putty’

 by A. Peter Bailey

 (—One of the most knowledge-expanding, challenging columnists, especially in the arena of collective economics, is Prof. James Clingman. Though illness has prevented him from continuing his valuable column, Blackonomics, one can still learn much from reading his past columns, many of which are included in his must-read book, “Black Money Matters.”

I recently reread one of them entitled, “Blacks are Today’s Putty People,” which was first published in 2015. It includes the following: “We are such a pliable people and the dominate society knows that all to well. We will jump on any superfluous issue the media presents to us and neglect the substantive ones. We are like putty in the hands of folks about whom we complain….” Those he noted includes “…disingenuous politicians, greedy retailers, pompous preachers posing as everything but real preachers and surreptitious interlopers….”

James Clingman

Professor Clingman also warns that “As we continue to major in the minor, constantly allowing ourselves to be dragged down into nonsensical and nonproductive discussions and held hostage by talking head puppets on TV, the world is moving forward at a very fast pace. Our people are being killed at an alarming rate, not only by cops and fanatics but also by other Black folks.” Many, if not most, may believe that Professor Clingman is overstating his position, but it cannot be denied that we as a people are not nearly focused enough on the most effective and productive ways to promote and protect our group interests in the arenas of health, economics, culture, education, technology, politics and communications. In each of those arenas we should have talented and committed Black folks who will keep us on top of things in his or her arena. And it should be national. There is a sizeable number of Black folks working in these arenas in local areas. They should be thanked for their vision and much needed efforts but our need in 2021 is a national organization that oversees the activities in the aforementioned arenas.

If we do this we will definitely avoid being putty in the hands of others. There is absolutely no reason for a group of people who have tenaciously dealt with what we and our ancestors have had to deal with in this country to be putty in anyone’s hands. That’s why we should pay close attention and act on the warning given to us by Professor Clingman.

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