What happened TO him: Born into slavery, Orphaned, Former Slave
What happened THROUGH him: Inventor, Botanist, Agriculturist, Professor, Founder of Tuskegee Institute
His 8 Essential Virtues (Instructed to his students)
• Be clean both inside and out.
• Neither look up to the rich nor down on the poor.
• Lose, if need be, without squealing.
• Win without bragging.
• Always be considerate of women, children, and older people.
• Be too brave to lie.
• Be too generous to cheat.
• Take your share of the world and let others take theirs.
Proof positive that if you have the DESIRE to succeed, what happens TO you will never out shine what can happen THROUGH you.
There may be EXCUSES for why you cannot do it but there are no REASONS.
Last week, a thumbnail for a featured YouTube video caught my eye. It was a picture of Hip Hop DJ/Vlogger Jay Smooth from Ill Doctrine and he had “the face”. I don’t know what else to call his facial expression but I promise you, if you have ever had to give someone “the face”, then you know what I mean.
The headline below the picture told the story of “the face”. It read, “Nancy Giles Awkwardly Assumes Black Radio Host is White (Video)”. I hear myself let out that audible sound that is half outrage and half exhaustion. It is the “Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! Damnit, Man!”
The incident in the video as well as the subject being discussed (Starbuck’s #RaceTogether campaign) were definitely worth of a post, but I did not feel I was the one to do it. Writer friend, Wendy Grossman is my objective source for asking the tough questions (without the undertones of ‘Damnit, Man!’ that kept popping up in my head). To read her post, click her site’s banner below. Comment and let her know what you think.
To Race Together Or Not, That Is The Question..Or Is Knowing Who You Are Talking To The First Question?
I appreciate what Starbucks is trying to do. I mean, at least they are doing SOMETHING! I can’t think of a single corporation who has even broached the subject – so kudos to you! But I don’t that this is the solution to starting a dialogue. I have visited Starbucks a few times. (Okay, more than a few, don’t judge me!) I seldom see people of color (not just Black Americans, but any ethnic group) in the restaurants. If I pick up my “Mucho Grande Deliciousness” from the counter and discover #RaceTogether on the side of my cup, I’m not going up to some random and starting that type of dialogue. For the record, I also would not walk up to a stranger and ask them to give me their candid views on money, politics, religion, same-sex marriage, etc.
As for penning a post to speak directly to Nancy Giles, I think Jay Smooth took care of that when he created this video. Take a look.
It is rare that I am hooked by a title. Too often a brilliant title will hang its hat over a movie, book, article, or post that leaves me wanting to invoice the author for wasting my time. But this was different. The title read, “Traveling While Black: What You Need to Know“.
How could I NOT read it? Clearly, being black, this is information I need to know! It says so right in the title! (Oh snap! It’s true! There IS a black code. I knew it!)
I kid. I kid. Be at ease all my non-black brothers and sisters. There is no (formal) “black code” but there is a very unique, interesting, and often amazing experience in your life when you are afforded to be born within brown skin.
As a frequent traveler, the auhtor’s experience is far more extensive than my own but I found myself nodding my head as I read her words. Her experience in South Africa reminded me of my experience in London almost 20 years ago. I don’t know if anyone ever stared at me. I was too busy seeing what there was to see.
What I do remember is people who were warm, welcoming, and gracious. People stopped me on the street to talk to me. They changed their plans to join me on my adventure. They took me to dinner or to a show. They were engaged and excited about my exploration of their city.
I don’t think that would happen in New York City… but then again, I don’t know that I would be open to being hosted by random strangers in NYC. So is the experience unique to the environment or do we become unique as we are experiencing it?