By James Clingman
Here’s an intriguing concept: Arrest the Black dollar. Say what, Jim? You read it correctly. We should arrest our dollars and charge them with neglect. Put them on trial, call the witnesses to testify against them, and convict them of crimes against Black people. Sentence them to a minimum of five years hard labor with no possibility of parole. That’s right, lock them up and make them work for their keep by producing distribution companies, supermarkets, financial institutions, and entrepreneurs.
Since our dollars are not making sense, we should discipline and punish them by keeping them locked up and making them work until they do start making more sense. Right now our dollars are “wilding out” in the marketplace, making everyone happy and secure except us. They are “raining down” at strip clubs; they are beating a path to jewelry stores and exchanging themselves for gaudy trinkets and ornaments; they are hangin’ out at “da club” to pay for expensive vodka, champagne, and other top-shelf liquors. They definitely need to be disciplined.
Our dollars are filling the coffers of profiteers who know that all they have to do is make the most ridiculous item in return for them. Black dollars are strewn at the feet of shyster preachers who “anoint” them by running back and forth on top of them, as they shout, “Money cometh to me!” At least they are telling the truth about that part.
Black dollars are running wild, out of control, in our neighborhoods. They run as fast as they can to the businesses of everyone other than Black people. They are jealous as well and are always trying to outspend one another by purchasing a bigger car, a bigger house, the latest gym shoes, clothing, and all the accoutrements of what they believe to be the “good life.”
More than 1 trillion Black dollars are acting inappropriately, committing economic crimes against Black people. They really need to be controlled and contained before they destroy us. Our dollars are weak, and are vulnerable to the constant lure of trivial things and dishonest people who are waiting to trap them with their platitudes and false doctrines. If we put our dollars in labor camps where they could work for us all day long, imagine how quickly we could revive our economic power.
Keep in mind though, when we charge our dollars and put them on trial for neglect, we will be charged as willing accomplices and co-conspirators in their criminal acts. Yes, we are guilty, too; even more guilty than they are. Slothfulness is a crime; poor stewardship is a crime; waste is a crime; and failure on our part to multiply the dollars we have is indeed a crime that carries the penalty of being “cast into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” because, “To whom much ($1 trillion) is given, much is required.”
The rich man in Luke 12 who had so much “stuff” that, when he asked himself what to do about it, said, “I will build bigger barns” in which to store my stuff, well, he was called a fool and his life was “required” of him because his dollars made no sense.
This graphic illustration of the crimes we commit with and through our undisciplined dollars is played out every day in our homes and neighborhoods, and we deserve the punishment we have received for decades now. We must now punish our dollars by first arresting them and then making them work for us.
Why don’t you start an “Arrest the Black Dollar” campaign? Look around; they are everywhere. Arrest your own first, and get others to arrest and charge theirs. Let’s give our dollars the charge to be responsible for taking better care of our children. Give them the charge to be more accountable to us and our families. Give them the charge to work harder for us. Give them the charge to act appropriately. Give them the charge to make some sense for a change.
Instead of allowing our dollars to run wild, let’s circulate and recycle them among ourselves as much as possible before they leave us. Instead of handing them over willy-nilly to others for their fried chicken and fish, let’s just grow and cook our own, and sell it to one another and to everyone else. Instead of whining every time a supermarket closes, let’s buy our own, bring in the best managers and support it with our consumer dollars. Rather than decrying what others are doing to us, let’s start doing more for ourselves. As we charge our dollars with being more responsible, let’s make sure we are taking responsibility in this matter as well.
Arrest the Black dollar; it’s wreaking havoc among Black folks.
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 is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati and can be reached through his Web site, Blackonomics.com.