Blackonomics: Beyond T-shirts and hoodies

11/19/2015, 8 a.m.
Recollections of my 1995 article on the business of college athletics danced in my head when I heard the news ...
James Clingman

— I pray that someone other than the usual suspects, who are simply looking for the nearest camera, microphone, and a big check to boot, will come to the students’ aide and help them work out their situation in the long term. They have done their part by exposing the underbelly of racial mistreatment at the University, and they have also exposed the school to a financial liability that more than likely does not end with Brigham Young University. How many more games are on Missouri’s schedule?

The economic lesson from the players’ threatened “work stoppage,” juxtaposed against Jonathan Butler’s life-threatening hunger strike, is quite revealing. Butler’s life was virtually ignored, but when the dollars came into play, things changed right away. The message: A Black life does not matter, but Black dollars do matter. Considering all the critical issues facing Black people in this country, we would do well to use economic power instead of relying on political influence to make appropriate changes to our overall condition.

We should celebrate the Missouri players for taking the “road less traveled” as they fight for their rights on their campus; they chose substance over symbolism, action over passivity. Rather than merely wearing their complaints on their chests or their shoes, they chose to wear their concerns on their hearts by letting the world know they are quite serious; they took their protest to the only level that gets results—the economic level. Much respect to those young men and their supporters at the university.

James Clingman is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. His latest book, Black Dollars Matter! Teach your dollars how to make more sense, is available on his website, Blackonomics.com.