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CLINGMAN: Common Sense Leads to Common Cents

James Clingman | 5/29/2013, 9 p.m.
Some people say "common sense is not common," which may be the main reason Black people are not as far ...
James Clingman

Looking back on our progress for the past 50 years, common sense shows us how far we have come relative to the strategies we chose to pursue and the leadership we decided to follow. Common sense says several of our leaders have done marvelously well, but as a whole Black people are still stuck at the bottom of the economic ladder, a ladder with rungs that begin at the halfway point. We must figure out how to get to the halfway point by adding our own rungs to the ladder.

Utilizing our common sense would move us away from individualistic thinking and toward common cents strategies. We must change our minds, raise our level of consciousness, and put positive action behind our rhetoric.

We must be willing to use our individual God-given gifts, to contribute to the uplift of a people who have suffered more horrendous treatment, both physical and psychological, than any people in this country. Common sense tells us that. How else are we going to prosper? How else will we achieve economic empowerment? How else will we be able to positively impact the futures of our children?

If common sense is not common then I guess I can understand the paucity, or lack of common cents initiatives among Black people. But I don’t believe Black people are short on common sense. How did we survive in this country? How did we progress in the face of adversity and even death? Why are we still here? How have we retained our sanity? How could there have been a Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma – and all the other Black economic enclaves across this country?

Our great-grandparents could not have done all they did without possessing a tremendous amount of common sense that, in turn, directed them to accumulate a great deal of common cents with which to take care of their business? So, what’s up with us?

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.