Race-related issues continue to be one of the most taboo subjects known to man - at least here in America. We’ve long needed to address the issues surrounding racial differences and disparities in this country as opposed to ignoring and sweeping them under the rug year after year.
Having this important discussion with our youth is extremely beneficial, especially for Black youth in this country.
Keep in mind that it’s only been 50 years since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law, which led to the successful challenging of discrimination in public accommodations, housing, employment and voting. Another important fact is that it’s only been 60 years since Brown v. Board of Education outlawed segregation in public schools in 1954.
There are many of us who are old enough to remember what times were like before laws were introduced that dealt with the issues of segregation in this country.
See, it wasn’t that long ago when ‘Colored’ people were denied the right to drink from the same water fountain; eat from the same restaurant; attend the same schools and universities; ride in the same section of a bus; or be treated the same socially and legally as White people were treated.
History shows that Black people and White people were treated socially and legally different. Those are just the facts that we must acknowledge - not my personal beliefs.
With the facts being stated, let me say this – I believe that God has called all of us to be treated equally and for us to be "one nation under God."
If we’re truly serious about being "one nation under God," then we must change the way we view one another and treat one another - especially if we continue to pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.
I am reminded of a quote by one of my historical heroes, Carter G. Woodson, who said in his 1933 book ‘The Mis-Education of the Negro’ that:
"History shows that it does not matter who is in power or what revolutionary forces take over the government, those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they had in the beginning."
Reading this passage brings me to my point of disappointment with African American people.
I find it deeply discouraging witnessing a Black man or woman shun another Black man or woman for no other reason than to gain the approval, acceptance and validation of people outside our race; particularly White people.
I have literally witnessed my own people deny opportunities to other Black people because they didn’t want to have anything to do with their own people.
Sadly, I’ve seen Black people refuse spend money with Black people; live amongst Black people; go to school with Black people; get a degree from a Black university; do business with Black people; give to Black charities; volunteer and serve on the board of directors for Black organizations; and the list goes on.
Sometimes I ask myself tough questions I wished never crossed my mind, such as, "If I were a White guy, would my people support my business without questioning the quality of my work or coming to me with a ‘one-chance’ mentality?
I ask myself, "If I were a White guy, would my people donate their time, talent and treasure to my initiatives without treating me like I owe them something in return for the rest of my life?"
I ask myself, "If I were a White guy, would Black people spend their money with me without being concerned with how I’d spend it or whether I truly deserved their dollar to make me rich?
Why do we hate ourselves so much and why have we bought into this dangerous mental narrative that ‘Mr. Charlie’s ice is colder’ than ours?
People with this mindset treat Black brothers and sisters as if having Black skin is a curse or a liability. We must change this paradigm and change it quickly.
Black people should not have to jump through hoops to get support from their fellow brother and sister; especially when the same expectations aren’t given to other races.
As a people, our mindsets should be on improving and empowering the African American community, including our businesses and institutions, not belittling them and making them feel less than worthy of our praise and support.
If you are an African American who has the time, talent and treasure to support a Black organization, volunteer or serve on its board of directors - do it and be committed to it.
If you are an African American who chooses to work for a Black business or a Black leader - do it and give your all to work with excellence.
If you are an African American who decides to spend their money with Black businesses - do it and do so without reservation or fear.
If Black people don’t support one other we’ll be headed for collective disaster as a race.
Can we honestly say we’ve made progress in this country when we choose to oppress ourselves and treat one another worse than those who once oppressed us did?
So I am here to tell you that ‘Mr. Charlie’s ice’ is not colder than ours. Interestingly enough, if I were a White guy, this question wouldn’t even cross my mind because I wouldn’t have that problem.