Op/Ed By James Clingman
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Black people talk a lot about accountability, especially as it relates to politicians. How do we do that? How can you hold someone accountable who is not accountable to you? Most politicians, Black ones included, couldn’t care less about what we think or what we do, so where is the incentive for them to be accountable to us? Throughout the Obama terms certain Black folks have met with him, supposedly to let him know what to do for Black people, but nearly eight years of that has resulted in nothing specific for Black people—even with the highest percentage of votes cast among all voter segments.
It’s all about power, as we know too well, yet we settle for lip service from political lackeys and the politicians themselves. How can Black people hold anyone accountable if we have no real power over them? Our power resides in holding Black dollars accountable.
What power does the NAACP hold over politicians? This so-called “Black” organization flaunts itself before the world as the “biggest and baddest” Black organization in this nation, yet its national leaders have proven to be corrupt, money-grubbing, hypocrites who hide behind the transparent veil of “nonpartisanship.” What a joke; but the joke is on us because we give them our money, which allows them to continue living their lavish lifestyle while pretending to have real sway over the political system on behalf of Black folks.
You would think that a 100 year-old Black organization would be able to make a couple of phone calls and get some appropriate results for those who have supported and sustained it for a century. You would think they would be able to hold politicians accountable; but they cannot.
The corporations across this country, while they do have the power to hold politicians accountable, even to the point of forcing them to change legislation by threatening to move their companies and boycott various cities and athletic events, do not exercise their power on behalf of Black people. Eric Garner was killed before our eyes and no corporation said it would move out of New York because of it. Tamir Rice was executed and no corporation stood up against that heinous act. Look back at how they responded to Michael Vick and the dog fighting, or Ray Rice, or Adrian Peterson.
As Bob Law has stated so appropriately, these corporations, many of which earn their profit margins from Black consumers, have a “depraved indifference” to the plight of Black people in this country. Corporate execs know they only have to pay off a couple of selected lackeys and things will soon cool down; Black folks will fall back in line and continue to buy their products and services as if nothing ever happened.
Facing that sad reality, where do Black folks go and what do we do in order to hold accountable those whom we support? Back in 1951, then President of the National Negro Business League, Horace Sudduth, said, “Economic freedom is the greatest cause before the Negro today.” In the early 1960’s Elijah Muhammad called on Black folks to “do for self,” and Malcolm X continued that refrain. Then in 1968 MLK said, “The emergency we now face is economic.” In the 1980’s and 1990’s it was Tony Brown, Claud Anderson, Bob Law, Brooke Stephens, Robert Wallace, Kelvin Boston, Julianne Malveaux, the very astute and dedicated Kenneth Bridges of the MATAH Network, and yours truly, sounding that same alarm and giving economic prescriptions for empowerment.
With all of those and others like them, Black people continued to follow the empty path of no-win politics, abandoning our economic base along the way and seeking the largess of politicians who either ignored us or took us for granted. Amateurish? Child-like? Naïve? Uniformed? Misinformed? Apathetic? Call it what you will; we blew it, brothers and sisters. We really blew it.
But that was then and this is now, as the saying goes. The Calvary has arrived. It’s called the One Million Conscious Black Voters and Contributors. This movement encompasses and melds together all of the basic principles espoused by those Black champions mentioned above.
The One Million focuses on three primary factors that must be done in order to meet the goals promoted by our true economic empowerment leaders. First, we must “Organize.” The One Million has done that. Second, we must have a vehicle through which our problems can be solved; the One Million is that vehicle. Third, we must make Black dollars accountable to Black people. By pooling and leveraging our dollars, creating more conscious Black millionaires by supporting their businesses en masse, and by using our own dollars to help one another. The One Million is leading the way to economic empowerment for Black people. To join the movement go to: iamoneofthemillion.com