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Black folks need to stop drinking the ‘fool-aid’

James Clingman | 12/16/2016, 6 a.m.
The term “Drinking the Kool-Aid” has been taken to a new level among many of our people.
Jim Clingman says that while black folks have always had to deal with “so-called black leaders” these scoundrels, have been reluctant to call them out and to expose them for what they really are. Courtesy Photo/NNPA

“Negroes…sometimes choose their own leaders but unfortunately they are too often 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 liberal support.” — Carter G. Woodson

The term “Drinking the Kool-Aid” has been taken to a new level among many of our people. In many circles we have become so intellectually lazy that we will believe just about anything from anyone, that is, as long as we don’t have to do anything except trumpet a utopian message, and if we never have to sacrifice for the collective benefit of one another. The Kool-Aid cliché, as far as I am concerned, has now become “fool-aid,” and black folks are gulping it down by the barrel.

There are so-called black leaders who, despite their unseemly tactics, their portrayals of themselves as “honest” brokers, and their shadowy deal-making and sellout prowess, seem to be exempt from exposure by our people. While black folks have always had to deal with these scoundrels, we have been reluctant to call them out and to expose them for what they really are.

On the other hand, we have leaders among us who are totally dedicated to the collective economic advancement of African Americans. These are the ones who are usually sacrificed by black people— thrown out because they are a threat to the establishment or because they are “too black.” That frightens some people and, sadly, we play into that fear by participating in the demise of the very people who would help pull us out of our economic problems.

We willingly drink the fool-aid of those whom are only interested in themselves, only to end up in the same place or even further behind than we were before we took the first sip. That must change. But it won’t change simply because it ought to change; it will only change when we change our behavior and our penchant for choosing the “wrong kind” of leader.

I have seen folks stroll through our communities and be held up as paragons of black liberation, all while filling their pockets with the ‘filthy lucre’ from their sell-out deals with the powers that be. They have their hands in every deal, every program, every transaction, and every scenario that involves black people, making certain that they will be the first in line to be paid. They rob the community and blame the same community for not moving forward. How can we move forward with crooks like these among us?

Many people, black, white and otherwise have drunk the Fool-Aid of folks like Jim Jones in Guyana; David Koresh in Waco, Texas; Marshall Applewhite in San Diego (Hale Bopp Comet); Warren Jeffs in Eldorado, Texas (Yearning for Zion Ranch); and many other cult figures. We have been mesmerized and captivated by individual preachers, politicians and leaders who have absolutely no interest in anything other than their own selfish interests and advancement— usually economic.