When It Comes to Business – Never Talk About Religion or Politics

Several coaches and mentors have given me this advice.

“Why would you alienate 50% of prospects? That’s just bad business.”

But this time I’m not listening to their advice… You know why? Because I have the PRIVILEGE to choose to alienate some prospects.

* Our success rates are 5 to 10 times better than any of our competitors
* People fight to get into our programs because the results change their lives and their client’s lives in weeks
* We are the fastest growing privately-held book publishing company in American (as ranked by INC) and the 7th fastest media company overall.

We have the PRIVILEGE to make room for more leadership from people of color.

We will let black and brown people lead the way.

We will create safe spaces and opportunities for more people of color to #getincubated

Maybe if I were gay or African American or still 300+ lbs it would be harder to turn away business, but we are lucky enough to say we have more leads than we can handle and even if that weren’t the case, I HOPE I would be brave enough to say I only want to work with people I am spiritually and yes, politically, aligned with.

So tonight I have added the hashtag to every single page of our website. I understand this means I may have less business. It also means I will sleep better at night knowing in this tiny way I am raising my voice and using my privilege on behalf those who do not share my privilege.

I do believe most Americans as individuals are not consciously racist.

And I think that’s 100% irrelevant.
1) We all have unconscious bias. And I want to work with people who are committed to seeing those and working to improve.
2) Our system is RIGGED against black and brown folks!!!!! It was set up by white men, for white men, and is currently being dominated by white men who are consciously or unconsciously attempting to hold onto power by any means necessary.

*** Silence is an implicit endorsement of the perpetuation of a system of bias that is yes, possible to escape (congrats Condaleezza Rice and Oprah Winfrey) but requires so much more effort, intelligence, grit and luck and frankly, it just puts too many lives in jeopardy. Far more collateral damage than I think we as a society should be willing to tolerate. ***

The other day I took my 11 year old to San Francisco for the day to see the hip-hop musical HAMILTON. We flew first class. (Privilege. Privilege. Privilege again.) And on the red-eye home asked what he thought of the show and you know what he said??? This privileged little brown boy of mine…

He said “Mom, do you know African Americans are incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of whites? Do you think if our Founding Fathers looked like they did in the play tonight that that would be the case?”

He didn’t talk about the songs or the dancing… he talked about RACIAL INJUSTICE. MY 11 YEAR OLD!!! That was his big take away from Hamilton!

If we want peace we MUST stand up for justice. Even if it costs — especially if it costs.

#blacklivesmatter
#makeascene

Happy to engage in meaningful discussion, however, comments with the phrase All Lives Matter will immediately be deleted. If you are unclear about why this is offensive please google it and make your decision. This is no longer up for discussion on my page.

Comments

3 responses to “When It Comes to Business – Never Talk About Religion or Politics

  1. Thank you for this article and for taking this stand. I have been talking about #Black Lives Matter a lot recently. I wanted to explain what that is about from my perspective.
    African Americans have a history in this country that started with bringing us here on slave ships, where we were packed on ships like sardines, so that we could work in this country. Some argue, well African Kings sold their people into slavery. This is true but the meaning of slavery and the way slaves were treated were different. Slaves were more like indentured servants working and receiving their freedom after their negotiated time or service was completed. Never did anyone expect the harsh beatings, rapings and forced separation of families. Ok, many may say that was over 200 years get over it already. At one point I, a West-Indian African American thought the same thing… Until I moved to the south. I realized that the breaking of the minds and the breaking of the spirits that allowed the slaves not to run away and revolt in mass numbers is what makes many of us feel like we are not important. We were raised being told we have to be twice as good to be accepted. What does that tell a child? That he or she is not enough! When you hear you are not enough and feel it deeply you do not value yourself, your race or your history. How many times have I heard parents telling their children they “ain’t #[email protected]! never gonna be #[email protected]! ” They said it because they heard it going back for generations. Maybe not those words, but those feelings. Science has taught us that we pass on through our DNA emotional pain and lessons. I have often used the example of a young man, who was working as a day laborer, tell my husband, at the time, he better put down the book he was reading (while they were waiting for work) because he would get in trouble. People react with the same fear, the anger, the hurt that their ancestors have felt because they do not (and most often unconsciously) feel like they matter. So saying “Black Lives Matter” reminds that little boy or that grown woman that their life is important and that they can contribute to society. Yes, all lives matter! Of course they do, but some of us need to hear that more often. We need to be reaffirmed and lifted out of the proverbial pit that many centuries ago we were pushed into. We need to love ourselves. Afrocentricity was created to be inclusive. For Africans (from the continent or diaspora), it starts with Africa, but then it grows to include all people and all cultures. It is ultimately about unity, not about separation or hate. I pray the actions and dialogue of today, brings this country and this world closer to a place of peace and love.
    Thank you for reading this.

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