So far we have discussed the overarching ways in which we attack each other, the phenomenon of baby mama-baby daddy syndrome, and today we will roll out the fourth part that must be discussed in greater detail than I can from this medium. But at least we can get the ball rolling, so-to-speak.

I said a lot over the past three days. Hopefully none of my words injured anyone. Hopefully the tough love was felt as more love than tough. It’s difficult to peel back the layer on self, as it’s much easier to peel back the layer on someone else. When you’re hurt and angry it’s easier to point out the flaws in the other person, to point out what they did and said wrong—but it’s extremely difficult to self-reflect and “check” ourselves.

I started these conversations because it’s important that we realize that this toxic environment has been growing out-of-control for more than 60 years. The seeds were planted during slavery in the US, it grew roots after emancipation, it sprouted during the 1920s and by the 1950s we saw more and more trees forming. By the 1970s we had woods lining our nation. Now we’re in the 2000s and we have full blown forests.

The reason we must have a conversation about each other, amongst each other, is because we represent each other. No matter who we engage and interact with, we still represent the other half of this dynamic. We share cultural and social truths that are unique to our people.

The only way for others who are non-Black to understand us in whole or in part is through dialogue with and observation of us. What we say to each other, how we treat each other, is how non-Blacks learn to speak to and treat us. It’s human nature yet we’re offended when we experience it.

We have a hyper-sensitivity because of the hundreds of years of past and present abuse that we have suffered at the hands of civilian, corporate, and government oppressors.

There’s a saying that “you save your worst behavior for the one closest to you” and that is not merely the one that you are in a familial, dating or marital relationship with, but one that you share the same “roots” with. Black people have been taught, trained, molded, and brainwashed to hate ourselves and to hate other Black people.

We have been brainwashed to believe that certain skin tones, hair textures, lip sizes, body frames, eye colors, and hair lengths are better or worse than others.

The slave masters tactic of pitting light-skinned versus dark-skinned is still present today.

We’re still buying into those twisted beliefs.

The tactic of turning the Black man and woman against each other, using sex (often rape), breaking up the family (selling one of them), and other methods, is still present today.

But when will we individually and collectively say, “no more” and mean it? When will we stop subscribing to past lies masqueraded as truths? When will we stop buying into the stereotypes that were created as propaganda mechanisms to divide? When will we stop perpetuating the lies that even our elders told because they didn’t know what they didn’t know—but we now know the truth.

When will being sick and tired of being sick and tired turn into a radical change of healing, acceptance, growth, and love?

To Black Men and Women I Say…

Ladies and gentlemen, brothas and sistas, we need to cut each other some major slack. We need to heal and we need to find a place of solitude within each other to help with that healing. Or we will continue to self-destruct and the only people that will be left to blame is you and me.

Let’s take ownership for the roles that we have individually and collectively played in the slow destruction of our people, families, and relationships.

Yes, others manipulated many things.

Yes, others introduced elements of mass destruction (drugs and guns) but we made and make the decision to use these things against ourselves and against each other.

Just like on the plantation, our minds are still enslaved.

Today we pimp each other, we serve death by drugs, we take the liberty of ending each others lives through the pulling of the trigger, stabbing of a knife, stomping of a foot, punching of a fist.

We have some harsh realities that we must take ownership for…

Today, Black women are raped by Black men more than by any other ethnic group.

The vast majority of Black drug addicts get their poison from Black drug dealers.

There are more Black deaths by Black hands (and by weapons used by Black hands), than by anyone else. Before the 1950s this was not the case.

We can guesstimate the number of lives lost to the periods of slavery (including the Middle Passage) and if you compared those numbers to the death toll caused by our own efforts from the 1970s to 2018 alone (we could go back farther but we don’t need to) those numbers would be staggering.

It doesn’t negate or make light of the death toll of Black people caused by non-Blacks and law enforcement.

What I’m saying is, why are we not mortified by the lives taken by our own people?

We have gang members and drug dealers wiping out our people. We live next door to them and do and say nothing.

We must police ourselves.

We must protect our families and neighborhoods. Sometimes that means protecting them from our own family.

Mothers need to stop protecting their deviant and criminal child. If your child harmed someone they must face the punishment of their offense. Mothers should be escorting their children to the principal’s office, to the police station, etc. When you shield them you only enable the mania that is brewing and waiting to be unleashed.

Mothers, if dad isn’t around to be the rock of your family then you need to turn to the village to step into that gap. And then you must rise up with the strength and courage that God gave you and gives you, and you must declare and enforce the rules of your home. If by chance dad is available to help lead your children, don’t be a fool–don’t be that ignorant baby mama–let that man in and let him help you raise your children right.

Reclaim your family. Don’t let your child be the menace we all fear and grow to resent and hate.

We must end this ignorant belief that “I ain’t no snitch” and “snitches get stitches“.

So it’s okay for Black people to terrorize and kill us, but when someone else takes our lives then we want to protest and demand change.

Law enforcement can barely solve crimes in our communities because we refuse to cooperate with them, yet we’re quick to dial 9-1-1.

Why are we not picketing and protesting outside of the homes and buildings of drug dealers and gang members?

Honestly, we act like we have Stockholm Syndrome.

Sexism and Misogyny in Our Community

We say and do nothing about the Black women and girls who are kidnapped, raped, abused, pimped and trafficked.

Are they not valuable enough to fight for and defend?

We read and see news footage of Black male celebrities who victimize Black girls and women, and we side with the celebrity. We rationalize his actions because we’re a fan of what he does in his professional life.

Our lack of outrage is why there’s no outrage from non-Blacks. Now let’s be clear, the moment the victim is white, the outrage from non-Blacks will be never-ending. They see the value in their women and girls, even if not fully (but you can’t victimize them).

Are Black women and girls not valuable? Is that why we are not valued? We already know that society values females less than males, but we value Black females even less.

Why do we celebrate calling and being called “bitches” and “hoes”?

Men should cringe and stop any man, woman, or child who uses those words to describe a female. Women and girls should immediately stop, correct, and redirect any person who feels entitled to refer to them using those words. It’s not acceptable, by anyone—not even our friends and family.

None of my friends or family members can say “bitch” or “ho” in relation or reference to me. Not even in anger.

We need to stop this mentality of “well I will just make lemonade out of it” by taking words meant to harm and then trying to flip them to make them fit and feel right to us. That’s distorting the lemon-lemonade premise and guess what? This ain’t lemonade. It’s just lemon with a splash of water.

We do it with “nigger”. Because we say “nigga” (a switch of two letters) we have convinced ourselves that this version is better and more acceptable, but only when said by another Black person.

Okay. Okay. Okay.

Whatever coping mechanism that we want to use to take away the power of that word.

But it can’t be applied with “bitch” and “ho”.

Those are gender-specific terms that we have flipped to also apply and reference to men (which enrages men), to balance, and take the weight out of their meanings and inferences.

But women can’t then say, “we can use these words but men can’t use them“.

So that same coping skill switcheroo does not and will not ever apply. We live in a sexist world where women and girls are always only seen as receivers not doers.

If men don’t want to be called bitches and hoes then they need to stop using those words, and they need to speak up and speak out about other people using those words.

We must protect ourselves and each other, and that means that sometimes that means protecting us from us.

What Are We Going to do to Resolve This Problem?

How will we leverage these tools of destruction to be lessons of redemption? Yes, we are our brother’s and sister’s keeper.

We have proven right those who enslaved our ancestors that we can be easily manipulated and controlled, we can be taught to devalue ourselves and each other, we can be extinguished as a race, we will never be united, and we are not as wise and intelligent as we profess—for if we were then we would see clearly that the shackles aren’t actually locked…

Free yourselves. Free others. Lift yourself up. Lift up others. Love yourselves. Love each other. Take off those shackles!

Stop Limiting Love to Black Love. Let People Love Who They Want!

This one may cause some anger to spew at me, but please listen with your heart.

The vast majority of Black people, especially African Americans, are affiliated with a religion that is based on and teaches love, inclusion, forgiveness, repentance, and atonement. If you are Christian, you have been raised to believe that Jesus said love everyone as you would love yourself. Jesus did not discriminate or hate.

So why are we so bitter when we see a Black man with any other woman except a Black one?

Why are Black men bitter when they see a Black woman with a man who isn’t also Black?

It’s especially true if the other person is white. Why?

The hurt and anger caused by our enslavement and by the hundreds of years of being told “you ain’t nothing”, surfaces to the top. The more than 100 years after being emancipated to earn the right to vote as a citizen, to have the right to eat and drink next to the same people whose families not-far-removed enslaved our people—those memories and that pain surfaces to the top. Knowing the history of Black men being lynched for looking at white women, speaking to white women, touching a white woman, and having sex with a white woman—even 50 years ago—those feelings surface and sting. Knowing that white slave masters raped and oftentimes impregnated Black female slaves is something that churns in the stomachs of our men.

But…

Knowing all of this does not change the fact that God, no matter what name you call Him, commanded us to love. He didn’t say “only love people of your race” or “only love people of your religion“. No, He said that we’re to love.

That Black man who is dating or married to that non-Black woman is not less of a man or less Black because of who he loves. The same is true of the Black woman. I’m so tired of hearing people spew hate, sounding like the racists that enslaved you, and making absolutely no sense.

Stop the rhetoric of “watering down our race“. Most of you don’t even know where your ancestors came from before being shipped to the US.  Most of you haven’t even taken an ethnic DNA test to see your racial makeup. All of this talk about “watering down” will have many of you shell shocked when you realize how not “pure” you are.

Some of you are walking around with so many races in your DNA that you look more like a pot of gumbo.

If Blackness is merely skin tone, then we’re all in trouble. Some of us are the same skin complexion of Latinos, Asians, and other olive and brown-skinned people. You’re ignorantly obsessing over the color of someone’s skin. You’re anti-white, yet your DNA most likely ties you to white ancestors. Some of you have issues with Mexicans and Latinos, yet some of you probably have their blood running through your veins. You have issues with Asians and don’t even know why—-but would be shocked to find even a small percentage of Asian DNA in you.

You sound just like your slave masters. You sound just like those hate mongers of the Jim Crow era. You sound just like the racists of the 1960s. You’re filled with so much hate that it is killing you and destroying our people. It’s not our “race-mixing” that is destroying us, it’s your ignorance that divides, turns away—and ultimately destroys us.

It’s all just ignorance and it goes against everything you’re taught in religion.

Love sees no color, religion, gender, race, or nationality. Love has no limits.

Love freely. Love whomever you want. Stop judging people for who they love.

I can tell you one thing, if I’m attracted to someone I’m going to get to know them—I don’t care about the color of their skin or the country where they originated. I’m going to love who loves me.

To All Humans I Say…

Let’s all be mindful of the things that we do and say, the biases we possess, the beliefs that we hold to be indisputable truths, and the stereotypes and labels that we perpetuate—and the impact that all of our words and actions have on others.

We can divide or unite. It is our choice, individually and collectively.

I can say that it has never been a time that one group of people stood strong without others supporting them in some way. Even in religious texts you can read stories of people from other tribes, religions or ethnic groups being moved and inspired to lend a hand, to provide refuge or resources for another groups freedom, safety, etc. Free yourselves. Free others. Lift yourself up. Lift up others. Love yourselves. Love each other. Take off those shackles!

What do you want to talk about next? Comment below.

Love,

~Natasha

Copyright 2018. Natasha Foreman Bryant/Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

Yesterday was part one of this discussion. Hopefully not too many toes were stepped on. For those who felt offended or slighted in any way, look within to see why my observations bothered you so deeply.

Are they not accurate?

I would be interested in furthering our dialogue to examine any points that I made and why you disagree, in whole or in part. Feel free to post your comments below.

Today we begin with part two, which delves into the offspring and legacy of our male-female relationships. Today I will speak to and with the men. Ladies don’t get all high and mighty. Tomorrow, we will have a heart-to-heart.

To the men. To my brothers. I say…

black fathers matter

Stop Being Baby Daddies

Fellas, I understand that sometimes this is the title that you have been designated by a woman who is hurt and angry about something you did and did not do, and so now you’re just the “baby daddy” in her mind.

You can’t control her mind but you can control yours, and your words and actions, and how you interact with your child.

You have a choice to be a father or a baby daddy.

You make the choice to be involved in your child’s precious upbringing or to be a deadbeat.

Let’s “keep it real” Shall We?

You made the decision to have sex with this woman, understanding the potential consequences of your actions. She was good enough to risk conceiving a child with (and please don’t say you didn’t know the risks of having sex), so now you need to do whatever (positively, ethically, and legally) it takes to positively co-parent with her.

Don’t let her foolishness sidetrack and deter you. If you want to have a healthy relationship with your child then do your part to legally and ethically be there in every way possible for your child.

Don’t let her use sex to move the “pawn” (your child) on this “chess board” and don’t you do it either.

Don’t manipulate this relationship with money, through offering or withholding it.

What you do in these instances of using sex and money to see your child is create an environment where you both are participating in pimping and pandering.

It sounds sick doesn’t it? That’s because it is.

If after great effort a woman won’t let you see your child then take her to court and legally fight for your right. But whatever you do, don’t get ugly with her. Let the court see her trickery. When you lower yourself the eyes of the law grow to despise you. The law expects more from you because you are a man, so when you begin acting like a child, doing tit-for-tat with the mother of your child, the court punishes you. Why put yourself through that madness?

Get Your Money In Order For Your Child

If this has been an ongoing battle, make sure that you have already established an account with a bank or credit union where you have been saving money for your child. This money can be used to pay for their daily needs, future needs, or both. It also shows good faith to the judge that you can and are willing to financially provide for the wellbeing of your child and that you have funds designated especially for your child’s needs. It can also grow and expand to be an extracurricular or education fund for your child. It can be an emergency fund for them.

Whatever purpose it serves make sure it’s clearly defined. You’re not obligated to do it, but you should. Your child’s needs should be factored into your personal budget. No one needs to know how much you deposit in the account. A judge may inquire, but no one else needs to be privy. It’s your account for your child.

Create a Nurturing Environment For Your Child

You also need to show that you have a safe and healthy environment for your child to spend quality time with you. Where will your child be sleeping, playing, and learning at your home? Who else lives there? Who visits your home on a regular basis?

Don’t have your child around a bunch of people that don’t make up the village who are sworn to protect your child. So that includes the women you are casually dating, as well as any men you wouldn’t bring to your own mother’s or grandmother’s home. If you wouldn’t bring someone over to your mother’s or grandmother’s home then keep them away from your child. Why leave the wrong impressions on their minds?

It’s simple. Be the father and the man that you say that you are. I’m not saying that a judge will rule in your favor all or most of the time, or at any time—but it’s not about the judge. It’s about you and your child. It’s a pact that you formed the moment that you knew you were a dad, that even through the obstacles, you did what was necessary for your child.

That means child support shouldn’t be something that has to be dragged from your fingers.

No One Should Have to Force You to Be a Father and Provider

Before that even becomes a piece that your child’s mother moves on the chess board, you need to step up and already begin supplying diapers, formula, wipes and other supplies, clothing, furnishings, equipment, and other things that you know your child needs. If you have money for overpriced shoes, smart phones, tickets to your favorite event, to buy the newest video game, or whatever else tickles your fancy—then you have money to set aside to provide for your child. Provide as though the child lives under the same roof as you.

Don’t Punish Her

Don’t punish your child through its mother. Yes, that’s what you do when you withhold and ration money to the mother of your child. That’s what you do when you have women coming and going from your life like a parade, and each one has spent time leaving impressions on your child’s mind—and then you arrogantly throw your “conquests” in the face of your child’s mother.

Hurting her hurts your child. Don’t forget, your child was formed and nurtured inside of her for nine months (on average). They have a bond like nothing you can imagine.

So that also means, don’t try and be vindictive and sue for full custody of your child. Snatching your child away from their mother will have an impact that you never want to experience.

Hurting her hurts your child. Hurting them hurts you.

Control The Flow of Your Money in a Productive and Healthy Way

If you’re concerned with how she’s spending the money that you normally give her for diapers, clothes, etc. then invest the time and money in shopping online for everything your child needs, have it shipped to their home, and then any actual money that you provide to the mother will cover incidentals that you did not allocate for in your budget.

What do I mean by this?

That means if you spend $300 for incidentals online and have those items shipped to her and then you give her $200 in cash (with a signed receipt), is that still not $500 that you invested in your child’s wellbeing? You can even go so far as provide her with a gas card that has reloadable funds available, so she’s not spending money that can go towards rent and utilities on things like that.

Honestly, you should consider doing this even if you aren’t concerned with how she’s spending the money. You actually save her time trying to shop in-store or online with your child in-tow, who of course is constantly needing attention and care. By you shopping online you save both of you from a headache. Most online stores keep track of your previous orders so reordering is fairly easy; and some even have auto-ship options that allows you to schedule shipments to automatically be shipped at a specific period of time, and your card on file is charged once shipment is complete. This can be a great option, and it makes budgeting and bookkeeping easier because you have proof of where and how much money was spent, and on what items.

Why did I say to have it shipped rather than you delivering it personally?

It’s simple. It reduces possible conflict, especially if your relationship with mom is fueled by conflict rather than mutual respect. Additionally, shipping saves you time. You have a job and other responsibilities, it’s about time and money management—it’s about being efficient and effective.

The steps and ideas outlined above are some of the things you can do long before courts get involved. If you’re already financially, emotionally, and physically taking care of your child then any claims the mother has will carry less weight. But you can also implement these steps even after judicial intervention.

Your Primary Concern

What the judge and everyone else will see and know is that you are not a baby daddy, you are a father; you are not a deadbeat, you are a father. A father who is no longer in an intimate relationship with the mother, but is focused on doing his part to help raise a healthy well-rounded child.

Your primary concern and focus should be your child. To do so you must be respectful to the mother of your child, even if she’s being disrespectful to you. Don’t allow her foolishness to impact the relationship that you are trying to have with your child, your heir, the one who will carry on your legacy. Continue to do your job, keeping your word, making sure that you stay informed about your child’s health and wellness, and their education and social upbringing. At the same time, making sure that you respect the mother of your child and her home.

Yeah let’s talk about that real quick, shall we?

What Co-Parenting is. And What It is Not.

Fellas I need you. No. Correction. You need for you to stop thinking that you are still a couple and that you “run things” as it relates and pertains to this woman who is no longer your girlfriend or wife.

Just like she shouldn’t be dictating to you who you date or marry you shouldn’t try to dictate, control, and determine who she dates or marries. The two of you should respectfully discuss how starting and blending these relationships should take place, when your child should be introduced to a potential mate, and how their parents (you and her) will address concerns such as disciplining, caregiving (babysitting), emergency situations (where one or both parent is not available), and other things that you agree are of importance.

This is a conversation that needs to happen early and frequently throughout the growth stages of your child. Not once one of you becomes involved in a relationship. No. No. No. That’s when fireworks start flying everywhere and tempers flare. That’s when the hurt person hurts the other person, and your child is ultimately hurt.

Remember, the number one priority is the health and wellbeing of your child.

I Know She Can Be “Crazy”

Now I know about the belligerent, out-of-control “baby mama” who flaps her gums and bad mouths you as though you’re the seed of satan. I’ve seen them. I’ve heard them. She’s so mad at you for whatever you did to her, real or imagined, and now all she sees is red, and all she wants to do is hurt you in every possible way that she can. The fastest and deepest way to hurt you is through your child and the second way is through your wallet.

Now hopefully some of the suggestions that I mentioned above help to resolve the “through your wallet” dilemma that you hyperventilate over. As far as “through your child” goes—I know that pain. I’ve witnessed and consoled the father who painfully watches as the mother of his child works tirelessly to turn that child against him. It tears at your heart and soul, it bashes in your spirit and your hope.

I know that what I’m about to say you have probably already heard countless times, but I’m going to say it again because I’ve seen this play out full-circle numerous times. I’ve seen what happens when you trust in God, in the Universe to handle those things that you can’t. I’ve seen how by doing what is right as a man and father, by doing all that you can to provide for your child, that child eventually sees the truth and they ultimately cling to you.

Something Your Child Will Cherish Forever

Start writing your child letters now, make a copy of the letter (I would even make a copy of the stamped envelope), and mail the original to your child. I don’t care how old they are. Send those letters. Keep the copies in a folder, envelope, box or whatever. It doesn’t matter how long or how short the letters are. It doesn’t matter what you say in them. Speak to your child through a letter, as though you’re only apart because you’re away on an extended business trip. Tell them how much you love them. Tell them how proud you are. Tell them about how excited you were to see their achievements.

When they are older and you’re given the opportunity, hand them the letters. If their mother is a true mother (and hasn’t transformed to “Mamazilla”), then she shared these letters with your child. If not, you now have the time to share months and years of letters with your child.

Don’t scoff or roll your eyes when you read this. Nothing is more powerful than the expression of love.

It doesn’t matter what the mother says and does, your child will grow up to learn and know the truth and when that time comes your child will cherish everything that you did for them, and will learn from your actions on how to be the best parent they can be with the hand that is dealt to them.

You Are The Example. Set It.

Let them see from you what it means to be a man, father, dad, and parent.

No, you didn’t stay with their mom. You didn’t keep the three of you together as one family unit. But you did everything that you could to make sure that they had all that you could provide, with the resources that you had at your disposal.

Don’t listen to your “boys” and others who would convince you to lower yourself to baby daddy or deadbeat status. None of those people have a legacy to consider tied to that child you helped to conceive. Your child could grow up to be a successful entrepreneur, scientist, engineer, educator, author, chef, architect, designer, mogul, entertainer, athlete, or politician.

All of those people who tried to convince you to do the bare minimum or nothing at all for your child, will be the first lining up with their hands of expectation stretched outward—looking for the “hook up” from your now-successful child. But your child will look at them and look at you, and based on your role in their upbringing they will determine how best to treat you now that they have reached a level of success.

You determine the kind (and quality) of relationship that you will have with your child.

I love you my brothers.

~Natasha

Copyright 2018. Natasha Foreman Bryant/Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

 

I wanted to share my thoughts regarding John Hope Bryant’s brilliant article that was posted on and by Bloomberg BusinessWeek today. I also wanted to have a healthy dialogue with those individuals who showed their lack of critical thinking skills before they reacted, and quickly responded in the negative, to the article.

It is my opinion that the moment many of us don’t understand something or it rubs us the wrong the way, the remaining of what we read or hear turns more into an episode of Charlie Brown, just a bunch of whah whah whah blah blah blah…and we don’t hear or interpret anything else. We are then too focused on a counter argument, but never on seeking clarification. Here is the link to John Hope Bryant’s article: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-04-04/if-bill-gates-were-black-dot-dot-dot

Below is my comment that I submitted to Bloomberg, that they will hopefully post in their comments section below the article. After you read John’s article and the comments made by other readers, please share your thoughts about the article and comments (inclusive of mine). Let’s have some healthy dialogue and if possible, some positive solutions to issues facing the Black community specifically, and all underserved communities in general. Here you go:

Economic empowerment and the eradication of poverty first begins with understanding the history of how this country was built, how we rebuild during economic downfalls, and how the least of God’s children are impacted. It requires us to look at the missing piece between the have’s and have not’s. So yes, possessing a bank account versus being robbed blind at check cashing centers is a bonus. Yes, having a credit score around or higher than 700, instead of 550 and lower, is a huge predictor of a community’s growth and prosperity—as well as an individual’s ability to thrive not just merely survive. Yes, being financially literate is imperative, because if you aren’t then you run the risk of falling prey to predatory lenders who can smell your desperation miles away.

If you don’t have a bank account then how are you depositing or cashing checks? Are you going to check cashing centers and giving them a portion of YOUR money to gain access to YOUR money? That doesn’t sound like the wisest of choices when you have a choice. Show me one millionaire or billionaire who doesn’t have a bank account. Show me one entrepreneur without a bank account. Show me. I’m sure you can’t.

The banking system isn’t corrupt, there are corrupt INDIVIDUALS in the banking system; just like there are corrupt individuals in countless other systems including government, religious organizations, educational institutions, charities, etc. You can’t blame a crisis caused by unethical behavior on an entire system, because just as there were predatory lenders who knew customers were potentially high risk for loan defaults, there are some ‘victims’ of this economic downfall who knew they bought more house than they could afford, who knew that they didn’t have true job ‘security’ but gambled with the odds anyway, who claimed to earn more than they actually had (and eventually they had more month than money). So unethical decisions from individuals caused our country to suffer these past few years.

This is a brilliant post by John Hope Bryant, that clearly expresses the sentiment that if African Americans had a Bill Gates-type-entrepreneurial role model then the vision for the Black community would not be limited to a mindset of ‘only the lucky get out’, and the ‘victory’ would not be narrowed to simply having a ‘Black President”. 

Think about it, if Bill Gates was a Black man, the money he donates and invests would be injected within his community first and then worldwide. Don’t most of us consider taking care of ‘home’ before we take care of the rest of the world? Don’t we start local and then go global? Well if this were the case, then Black communities would be resuscitated through Gates community giving, and the country (and world) would see a different ‘picture’ of these communities. 

John Hope Bryant is NOT saying that Black people don’t have entrepreneurial role models; he is saying that we need MORE business owners who are employing thousands, not merely hundreds (or less). He’s saying we need more innovators, more businesses in technology, etc. that provide a competitive advantage within the U.S. in general, and within Black communities specifically. He’s saying we need MORE Black entrepreneurs going into the community, going into the schools and teaching and sharing the ‘magic’ in their success. 

He is saying that in order to eradicate poverty and gain economic empowerment in the Black community it is going to take the Black community, not government, not charity, not handouts, but hard work and each person reaching back to an open hand and providing a hand up out of the pit. It’s going to require Black people with 700+ credit scores teaching those with 550 and lower credit scores how they did it. It’s going to require Black entrepreneurs to hire within their community, to bring on interns to learn the ropes at their company, and to mentor young Black children.

The majority of our role models that our children regularly see come from entertainment and sports backgrounds, which there is nothing wrong with that, except if you lack talent in either area, then what?

Additionally, and no disrespect, but Oprah Winfrey, Magic Johnson, Bob Johnson, and others have built BRANDS that employ–but none to the extent of a Bill Gates level; and all three brands represent entertainment or sports. In 2007, Microsoft employed a reported 79,000 people. That was in 2007. Name one Black-owned company that employs 79,000 people? 

So John Hope Bryant’s article says, “what if Bill Gates were Black?” What changes would you see in the Black community? What would Black children aspire to become if they saw a Black employer hiring thousands of people within their community? How many Black people could be employed (since unemployment is HIGHEST in the Black community)? How many of our children would be encouraged to excel in STEM courses and pursue careers in those fields so that they too could grow up to ‘be like Bill’?

We need to take the emotion out; we need to stop wanting to attack everything we don’t understand, and start acting like we are intelligent enough to ASK for clarification if needed, and to ASK how we can individually and collectively help solve the problem.

How many of you volunteer in the Black community? How many of you work with the underserved and underrepresented? How many of you are helping to work towards a solution? Or are you merely only focusing on picking at and tearing down the things you don’t understand, and the things you are against? If you aren’t doing anything to help the Black community, and other underserved and underrepresented communities, then what does your opinion really mean, and what are you truly adding to this conversation?

John Hope Bryant you did an awesome job with this piece. We need our children to aspire to be entrepreneurs as much as (or more than) they aspire to be athletes and entertainers. Great, they want to be a football star, but let’s teach them to also start and build a business (now) as an additional revenue stream—so when their football career ends, they still have a career…and wealth, not just temporary riches! 

A broke mindset only gets the same results…an unfinished puzzle!

 

 

Copyright 2012. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.