Joe Clark said controversial things. Here’s a list of 35 of them. | Paterson Times Paterson Times

Joe Clark said controversial things. Here’s a list of 35 of them.

By Paterson Times Staff
Published: January 2, 2021

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Joe Clark, the baseball bat and bullhorn-wielding principal of Eastside High School in the 1980s, said many controversial things. He courted controversy and took pride in saying things others thought about, as he claimed, but would not dare utter publicly.

Here are 35 controversial things Clark, dubbed by his critics “Crazy Joe,” said:

  1. “The quiet people have been thinking this all along. We’re all fed up. We’re all upset. We’re all sick of it. And I simply said it, and I got the applause of the entire nation.”
  2. “If you end up being nothing in this society, don’t blame it on the white man, don’t blame it on the Black man, don’t blame it on your mama, don’t blame it on your papa. Blame it on yourself. Because if you end up being nothing that’s just what you wanted to be a damn nothing.”
  3. “You go to New York, you say good morning to somebody, you might get shot.”
  4. “Let’s admit it, there are problems in our society. There are inequities in our society, still the greatest country in the world.”
  5. “I constantly tell the kids, Blacks and Hispanics. You have two strikes against you. You are Black that’s one. Number two, you’re poor. You only have one strike left and you can’t afford to strike out.”
  6. “Don’t you do for me what I should do for myself. You don’t owe me a job. You don’t owe me anything. You know what you owe me? An education. That’s my birth right. And with that education I am supposed to do for myself. That’s why I don’t like certain types of programs.”
  7. “I don’t like affirmative action. Why I do not like affirmative action? Because that’s a racist plot and ploy. You’re having certain standards for me, but you don’t have for other people. And I say that’s wrong. The only thing I want from you is an equal opportunity to that door of opportunity. If I go to that door, let me into that door, not based upon my color, not based upon my ethnicity, but upon my qualifications and my ability to do the job.”
  8. “No. I don’t believe in quota systems.”
  9. “Black and Hispanic students in our inner cities are academically inferior to whites and Asians.”
  10. “There’s no reason for Black kids or Spanish kids not to be able to compete intellectually with anyone.”
  11. “I resent these hoodlums and these thugs. I don’t care if they are Black, White, Polkadot, Chartreuse.”
  12. “It’s imperative that we in a society do for ourselves and stop acting like a bunch of leeches. I don’t believe in welfare; I believe in workfare. If you want something go out and work for it.”
  13. “There’s three or four things you can’t beat me doing. You can’t outwork me. You can’t out hustle me. You can’t out knowledge me. You just can’t beat me.”
  14. “I am not going to permit a handful of hoodlums, thugs, punks, and pathological deviants to contaminate a whole school.”
  15. “I have been called every name in the book. You name it, I claim it.”
  16. “I tell Black kids and Hispanic kids constantly. When you go and knock somebody in the head, when you rob somebody, you know who it’s bad on? It’s bad on a whole race. You know why? Because Blacks and Hispanics are visible people.”
  17. “People judge you by how they perceive you. Black people are being perceived as a bunch of hoodlums, thugs, deviants, welfare recipients, and all the other things that most of us are not.”
  18. “They [students] have a right to go to a drug free school, they should not have to be contaminated with the prevalence and the pervasiveness of a lethal drug, and we’re going to have to do something about.”
  19. “I’m concerned about the plight of Blacks in America.”
  20. “Liberals have destroyed the Black race by giving them everything. And now they’re trying to try to destroy the country. You can’t give them things. You got to make them work. They make excuses for Black people killing one another.”
  21. “Because you are poor does not make you knock somebody in the head.”
  22. “You go into the inner cities on a weekend and it’s like a war zone.”
  23. “You know, in the inner city, in the ghetto, crazy means you’re flamboyant, you’re dramatic, you’re fearless, you’re able to stand up to the vicissitude…”
  24. “Black women are tired, they’re tired. They are tired of trying to raise Black males. Because the fathers are not having input. And they can’t do it. As good as they are, as strong as they are, they can’t do it.”
  25. “Women are fierce fighters.”
  26. “I never forget the day when they asked me to become principal of Eastside High School. Oh my god, I saw the lightning flash, I heard the thunder roll. I felt as if somebody is trying to conquer my soul. I said, Lord, why hast thou forsaken me?”
  27. “We need more Black role models in Black communities. The Black role models now happen to be those hoodlums and thugs who are riding around in Mercedes with gold chains selling drugs.”
  28. “I found that Black youth, especially the Black male, have a basic propensity to get into situations that deviate from the norm.”
  29. “So, I told the white liberal, I’m gonna fix you up right. I’m gonna rent myself a bus. And I’m gonna bring every one of these hoodlums and thugs that you’re trying to protect to your neighborhood and leave them there for a month and tell me how you like them.”
  30. “Don’t you know, my dear brothers and sisters, thou fates are inexplicably bound together.”
  31. “I’m convinced that young people, the vast majority, deserve the right to an environment that’s conducive to learning.”
  32. “I am a benevolent dictator. And I don’t have any qualms about saying that.”
  33. “I am not going to permit a bunch of people to contaminate my community.”
  34. “I’m a controversial guy. I make controversial statements because I sincerely believe that a man in earnest should never be concerned about the consequences that might befall him as a result of statements or actions that he or she takes.”
  35. “I just love controversy.”

Clark died in his home in Florida on December 29, 2020. His quotes were collected from the various interviews and lectures he gave during his lifetime.


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