Selling out, buying in or buying into the sell-out’s mission

James Clingman | 11/11/2013, 9:41 a.m.
During the enslavement period of Africans in America, the Meritorious Manumission Act of 1710 was enacted in Virginia.
James Clingman

We will always be sold out if we keep buying into the empty rhetoric and promises of good times to come. We will continue to complain about the sell-outs, but we will also continue to be left out of the prosperity they enjoy. Carter G. Woodson said, “Negroes, choose their leaders but unfortunately they are too often of the wrong kind. Negroes do not readily follow persons with constructive programs. Almost any sort of exciting appeal or trivial matter presented to them may receive immediate attention and temporarily at least liberal support.” We choose and follow sell-outs with great zeal, so we should stop blaming them and start blaming ourselves.

The sell-out/buy-in game is most prevalent in political circles, or at least connected to politics in some way or another. Black people are divided over the most trivial political issues, unlike other groups that couldn’t care less – they care about economics. Blacks are also divided over personalities, and as Woodson said, we usually go with the misleading, do-nothing politicians, and the ones who are scared to make waves. You know the type: docile, non-threatening, scratching and grinning, and all talk but no action. But so what? They are gettin’ paid and lovin’ it.

We are the ones who are suffering because, even though we are holding fast and not selling out, we are buying into the sell-outs’ mission; so we may as well be selling out ourselves. The point is that we should stop concentrating so much on who is selling out and spend more time dealing with the fact that many of us are buying into what they say and do. We must be critical thinkers and let these manumission seekers know that while they may continue to sell-out, we will not continue to follow them. That’s on us, brothers and sisters, not them.

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 http://www.blackonomics.com.