“It’s all about accountability" said Dr. Cornell West
This week we witnessed #45 (as some of you write) or President Donald Trump (as I write) attack LeBron James and Don Lemon within his Tweet. The President states “I Like Mike”. Without much time elapsing, Michael Jordan releases his statement, “I support LJ”. The two greatest basketball players of all-time did not let the hype of who is the Greatest of All Time (or GOAT) get between them. Quickly they told the world as Black people, they were 100% unified.
I would like to explore what the attack and response showed Black America. Namely we can unify. If unity can be achieved at the top levels, what about the display of unity within the masses of all of us?
Christopher Herring And Charles O'Neal
During the NAACP Pre-Convention, the Texas Association of African American Chambers of Commerce provided training to the 30+ Economic Development state leaders on the topic Economic Justice. As the Chairman, I spoke with our State President to the need for the NAACP to work with and collaborate with the other Black national organizations like the US Black Chambers, Inc. to work through the tough issues of discrimination and racist actions that is presented from corporations that demonstrate hostility or racial indifference. While I spoke, the Chairman of the NAACP, Mr. Leon Russell listened attentively to the session, and then stood and spoke to the points that I made, and committed the organization could in fact move forward to work with the concept of creating an operational plan and blueprint for this new model of collaboration. We can work together for the best interest of Black people and Black businesses. In other words, before the national organization calls for a boycott of XYZ Company, the national leaders that operate in the space of Black business and people development, will be put in the position to respond to the call for protest and boycott. While it is easier to work in positions of leadership all by ourselves, there is a greater accountability to the people we serve to take the road that require we communicate and talk out the issues. Whether the problem is with American Airlines, Starbucks, Wells Fargo or Papa Johns, the Black response needs to be swift, and needs to be more comprehensive of getting true justice for our people. In doing this we can't be compromised.
Locally, in the City of San Antonio, I am witnessing several dynamics that concern me about the future of Blacks in our city. Blacks are often marginalized, and discounted and collectively we are not appreciated or respected. We have relied upon the NAACP to handle every issue that pertains to discrimination and overt racism. I personally do what I can and ask for meetings with organizations and businesses that have closed Black people out of participating as employees or as board members. When their is in your face discrimination, I have spoke truth to power and will continue to. Often times the very leaders I have approached are focused on getting rid of the problem. They will do it by doing the very least and often times insulted that the very point of the infraction is brought to their attention. But so what? We have to all be collectively empowered to do what is right. It may even feel very uncomfortable - but so what.
When confronted with the question, some of the most brilliantly held up executives state to me that diversity and inclusion is not just race or ethnicity but they as leaders pick people to join their teams based on a diversity of thought. They mention in their ramblings about the diversity of occupation, diversity of hobbies, diversity of sexual orientation, and really anything other than the diversity of race. This code word for diversity undermines everything that we have fought for historically. Do we need to be diversity advocates? My answer is No, we need to advocate for the best interest of Black people. We have lost ground because of how diversity is being exploited. Unfortunately, this new psycho-babel diversity conversation is nothing more than a series of excuses for why they choose to keep us from being in their closed environments.
As I understand the importance of moving these issues forward, I challenge the power structures to articulate their exclusions and to help them to understand and include Black people and look at the discriminatory practices that have kept us out.
However, we do have some Blacks that are singled out by the purveyors of racism to divide and conquer. The Black people selected by the White mainstream often hold themselves as being the ideal Black person or the new Black standard for what Black people should be. These Blacks also don’t want to see more Blacks at the table. Their attitudes work with the Whites to keep us out. These Black people hold us back because they will sell us out to maintain their status. You also must talk directly and firmly with these people. Ultimately they end up at the White House speaking for us on critical issues or even worse,promote themselves as the photo opportunity to what we should hope to be. Please!
How do we rise above these issues? How do we work together more? Let me know online. Is it important for the community to have the expectation of an internal accountability to advance our race?