In a law firm, it is very difficult to make partner if you weren’t one of the founding members. You have to work very hard, show tenacity and be willing to adapt to the culture of the firm. Some lawyers never make partner. When they don’t, they are faced with 2 options: Accept the glass ceiling or strike out on their own to start their own firm.

It’s the same concept for blacks in America. Our first steps on these shores weren’t as founding members. I mean, really, we weren’t even employees. The frustration we feel today is strongly based on this simple concept that has been passed down for many generations. There is a lack of esteem, unity and pride in the black community. This disenfranchisement makes us feel defeated. We march, adapt and strive for acceptance, but this acceptance remains elusive.

I had a conversation the other day about commerce in America. I was explaining the sense of pride and lack of fear a White person has when they walk into any random business. They can enter into a business confidently knowing that the business they are about to patronize will accept them. It is subconscious confidence they never had to think twice about. Blacks, on the other hand, must always ensure we carry ourselves in a manner that allows for us to be “accepted”. If we don’t, we may not get respectable service or employment. See, the government can only do so much for equality. It can force “service” partnersbut it can’t force respectable service; an issue for a separate conversation. This is why arguing, fighting and debating over whom did what wrong and who didn’t, is futile. It is all subjective. But men lie, women lie and money don’t.

In this 21st Century, it is not the fault of Whites, or any other ethnic group, as to why we are fractured. It is that we are simply going about it wrong to make “partner”. We are seeking to become partners by attacking the morals of those that disrespect us. This really isn’t a moral fight, it is an economical one. Until Whites massively begin opening savings accounts at black banks and seeking employment at black businesses to help them grow, I will continue to believe that they are in a symbolic fight; not one that results in real infrastructural change.

Now, there are plenty of individuals that will find my thoughts divisive, and for those people I will strongly disagree. My position is that we should copy the steps of those who have risen to enormous power and unity. What they did, was done over 100 years ago. All they are doing now is maintaining their fort. So though it may seem like different steps should be taken today, those different steps towards morality can’t be taken by us just yet. Steps that derive respect are what should be taken. Those steps must be taken after we have established sound economics.

I am not saying we should pursue becoming superior. I am asking for us to seek partnership. Partnership in a country that we all played a role in to make it the great country it is today. The country I fought for in the military. The country we claim totes the torch of humanity, equality and justice for all.


  • Professor Devin

    Professor Devin Robinson is the founder of Urban Business Institute, host of “Class is in Session” podcast, former economics professor at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, GA, an author of 11 books, including, "Blackpreneurship: 50 Obstacles Black Entrepreneurs Face and How to Overcome Them". He resides in John’s Creek, GA.

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