Thursday, September 28, 2023

Yes, Economic Crime and Punishment.

September 24, 2013 by  
Filed under Business, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( We talk a lot about criminal justice and crime in the streets, especially among Black people. Mass incarceration of Black men, disparate sentencing, private prisons, legal slavery inside prisons based on the 13th Amendment, and all the other plagues that beset us vis-à-vis our criminal justice system and prison industrial complex, dominate our conversations regarding crime and punishment. But, there is another take on crime that we often overlook or simply ignore; it’s the economic crimes we commit against ourselves.

Amos Wilson posed two questions in his book, Black on Black Violence: “Does the African American community, by continuing to permit itself to be ‘legitimately’ economically exploited by non-African American communities thereby de-legitimize itself and permit itself to be criminalized while de-criminalizing its exploiters? Has the African American community – addicted to wasteful and nonsensical consumerism, with its unwillingness to invest itsBroAmosWilsonII wealth and human resources in itself, in America, and uncommitted to controlling its own internal markets – contributed in no small way to the criminalization of its sons, to the increasing impoverishment of its children, to the violence which prevails within its households and neighborhoods?

If you are familiar with Amos Wilson’s work, you know he wrote very long sentences, but I believe it was because he had so much to say (See the volume of work he compiled in Blueprint for Black Power), and he knew the urgency with which he had to say it.

Wilson’s questions are not only interrogatory, they are declarative as well. They paint a dismal picture of who we are and what we are about when it comes to crime and punishment. They suggest, of course, that Black folks are not taking care of our business economically, thus, actually causing much of the crime we lament in our neighborhoods.

It is indeed a crime to “allow” ourselves to be economically exploited, and we can be considered sick if we simply consume the products made by others but never invest in producing and purchasing products of our own. We commit economic crimes against ourselves; our children commit violent crimes against one another; and we are collectively punished as a result of such crimes. Are we able to break this vicious cycle of self-annihilation?

Our being both the perpetrator and the victim of the same economic crimes is totally unreasonable and just downright stupid. We commit the crimes of waste and conspicuous consumption, and then we are punished because of it. We refuse to develop, grow, and support our own businesses, and then we are punished by having to depend on someone else to fill our basic needs. We fail to help provide jobs for our youth, and they end up committing crimes against us and one another, while their unemployment rate nears 50%. Economically, our own actions accuse us, indict us, convict us, and punish us. How can we demand respect when we are begging others to fill needs that we can fill for ourselves? What must our children think of us, as we show them we can’t take care of them? Some of us don’t even know how to grow a tomato for our families, and we want “respect.”

There is no denying that many of us are doing well and “doing good” at the same time. There are many conscious Black business owners across the country that are carrying probably 90% of the load for us by doing the right thing; they get up each day determined to help empower us in some way. Hats off to them! They certainly deserve our kudos. But it’s the rest of our people, the vast majority of us, who are in jeopardy of falling off the economic cliff.

These are trying times. We are in serious trouble, and far be from me to downplay that reality. And it’s not about whether the glass is half full or half empty; this is about survival. It’s not about what certain celebrities say, if that’s all they’re doing is talking. It’s not about whose camp you are in when it comes to the President and his critics. It’s not about hair weaves, gym shoes, soft drinks, the wives of whatever, the names of celebrities’ babies, conspiracies, corruption, the best singer, wall street bankers, al Qaeda, Syria, Iran, influential Blacks, leading Blacks, touchdowns, slam dunks, homeruns, games, sets, and matches. This is about economic crimes and the resulting punishment that ensues to Black people because of our inappropriate behavior and the inordinate amount of time we spend on “nonsense, as Maria Stewart once said.

The situation we are facing is an ever widening gap between those who have a lot and are self-reliant, and those of us who are dependent upon and beholding to them. Much of the information we allow to permeate our brains is meaningless, useless, non-recyclable trash. The vicarious nature of many of our lives will profit us little. My suggestion is that, first, we drop down and send up some serious “knee mail,” and then get up and get to work to stop our own crimes and punishment.

Amos Wilson also said, “When the Black community squanders the economic inheritance of its own children while it fills to overflowing the coffers of the children of other communities…it gets the crime it deserves.”

Written By James E. Clingman

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12 Responses to “Yes, Economic Crime and Punishment.”
  1. toomanygrandkids says:

    Dr. Amos Wilson’s death at the age of 54 is a mystery.

  2. Well said Brother satchel.

    Black Unity means financial independence and happiness

  3. Satchel says:

    “We just need to come together.” That’s a true statement and nobody will disagree. But, we have been saying that for, I don’t know how long. Until we do come together, we can easily gain some financial power by personally spending our money wisely and focused. I once lived in a suburb of Los Angeles. I noticed that a lot of Japanese people drove Oldsmobiles (GM car GM no longer makes)this made me curious, So, I ask a co-worker, who rode a bike to work, what make of car he owned, he said Oldsmobile so I asked him why and he answered “I never thought about it, that’s was what my parents drove, I guess”. There was one new car dealer in town and it was a Oldsmobile dealer owned by Japanese. Connect the dots. If you can’t find a black business owner you can look for a black man who works on commission.

  4. @ toomanygrandkids

    It’s never too late to do the right thing. We can still build a strong economic base. We just need to come together like we used to and have a strong economic plan, which I have. Coming soon to a theater near you. Just joking, but it is coming.

    Black Unity means financial independence and happiness

  5. toomanygrandkids says:

    Great article. It definitely proves that black people are the real reason for their condition. By following and listening to others, black people didn’t really get a chance to build an economic foundation. Seems as though blacks were bambozzled(sp) into thinking we weren’t really capable of doing for ourselves.

    Mr. Wilson is one of those brothers who speaks the truth. I’ve never heard of him before so I wanna thank James E. Clingman for bringing him to my (our) attention. Just think how much of our own economics could’ve been saved had we used his ideas as a blueprint to gaining empowerment.

  6. James Davis says:

    Hello Everyone;

    I have attempted to find out how Dr Amos Wilson died. What was his cause of death? It appears he died at the age of 54, but that about all I can find. If someone has more info, I would like to know how this brother died. .


  7. @ Satchel

    Dr. Amos Wilson was a psychologist, professor, Black Nationalist, and probably many other things that I don’t know. I just recently heard about him myself. He was a very powerful Brother, whose goals I’m trying to fulfill. He has some amazing videos on youtube. They’re all good.

    Black Unity means financial independence and happiness

  8. Satchel says:

    Thanks to the writer for sharing the works of Dr. Amos Wilson. I for one have never heard of Dr. Wilson. This article pulls no punches and gets right to the point of what’s wrong with our mentality. This is serious business. Who Is Dr. Amos Wilson.

  9. NorthernMagnolia says:

    Wow. Great article with stunning truth.

    Quietly, there are some Black people out there that do get this… quietly, because Black people who are about business can get attacked more by their own than they do by most white people. Those who profit from us being criminalized are not just in the white community — and in that community, there are only a relative few that profit. But there are a lot of Black talking heads that would disappear if we were united and strong and could employ our own young people, or even if we could work effectively (since integration is a fact, more or less) in business with others by focusing less on consuming and more on creating value. There are also a lot of Black people who, having become content with a mediocre existence, do not care to be reminded by example that they have failed to step up to what is available in terms of success.

    But, there are Black folks that are quietly working on these issues… all is not lost yet. Thank you again for the article.

  10. This is one of the best articles I’ve ever read on the problems we continue to allow in our community. But as usual, very few people comment. I don’t know how many people read it and didn’t comment, but they didn’t add likes to it.

    It seems like the sillier or entertaining the article is, the more people like and make comments on it. No wonder we’re in the situation we’re in. It seems we only care about each other when a major travesty has occurred in our community, or when it concerns us personally. It’s time to come together Brothers and Sisters.

    Black Unity means financial independence and happiness

  11. Excellent article. Our people are falling into economic irrelevancy. Our wealthy squander their money, don’t build foundations for their people, senseless consumerism. We are Not represented in Technology startups, our males got this sick gangsterism mentality. Our church leaders exploit their congregations. Literally it’ll be another century, Maybe, before things change.

  12. James Davis says:

    What an Insightful and Penetrating Piece!

    This was a pleasing article full of good common sense. However, I tend to be of the camp that black people are no worst or better than any other folk. We are in the toughest neo-colonial system on the planet and it takes time to overcome such a sophisticated system, because it has many confusing faces. But,overcome we will! I feel our black brothers and sisters around the world are facing some of the same economic challenges and conditions we are. Up to this point we have survived. However, we all recognize survival is not an end. We will succeed for the same reasons others who have come before us have succeed. Belief in God, hard work, common sense, and the ability to recognize when our time has come.

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