A couple of weeks ago I received a very interesting message on Twitter from someone I didn’t know. I have a certain way that I market and promote myself on Twitter, which includes sharing some of the articles that I’ve written for business purposes over the years. Out of the blue I was asked why I was posting links to articles I’ve written that had nothing to do with Black Lives Matter and protests. I was asked that question by a young white man.


Me; deal with it

When the question came in, I have to admit I was a bit shocked. First I was shocked by the question, then I was shocked by the person who was asking. He didn’t explain himself, but I understood the question he was asking after I thought about it. I ignored it at the time because I didn’t think it needed to be address. However, now I think it’s time to answer that question in the open just to be clear about things.

In my opinion, speaking out for the right to live and be treated fairly by everybody, whether it’s employment or the police or the government or each other, does not preclude any person’s right to make a living. After all, what’s the point of trying to get fairness if you can’t earn any money?

Over the last two or three months, I have written a lot of articles and created a lot of videos on the topic of race relations and diversity. But it’s not the only topic I’ve created both of these things about. The truth is one can’t be a one trick pony and progress in life, especially if you’re a minority or someone in a disadvantaged group in America.

Every day when I wake up I strive to be the best that I can be. I work on motivating myself so that I can push forward both in life and my career.

At the same time, every single day I recognize that I am a black person living in a world that either dismisses me or ignores me unless I can make some kind of positive statement. That statement doesn’t have to be me word-smacking or physically smacking anybody else for them to notice that I happen to be a black man trying to get by. Most people who see my picture are going to recognize that, even if, when I’m in a room with certain people, they try to ignore that or forget that. It’s a strange conundrum, but it happens.

If I continue to only write or speak on topics that are related to diversity or race for the rest of this year, that means I’m willing to pretty much ignore the rest of my business and things that I do to make a living. Frankly, I’m not predisposed to do that to myself.

I can’t be a health care finance consultant if I don’t speak about health care finance issues. I can talk about leadership and relate it to diversity, but not everything about leadership concerns diversity issues.

I can still talk about diversity issues, since I’ve presented seminars on the subject, while talking about other things. I can multitask fairly well in this regard, just like every other person in the world can talk about more than one thing at a time. It’s amazing that we can all do that don’t you think?

I wouldn’t want anyone to get the wrong impression though. I’ve been black a long time, over 60 years now, and it’s something that’s not only hard for me to forget, but something I would never want to forget.

True, how people talk about it and act while being black in 2020 is a bit different than it was back in the 70s and 80s. Back then, I was conscious of the fact that I was a trailblazer and that both my performance and my decorum were going to shape how future people of color, because I thought about more than just black people at the time, were going to be thought of and treated by those whose only live standard might be me. It was more common to do that back in the day.

These days a lot of young people will hear me say that and demur, saying they shouldn’t have to worry about how their behavior and their actions are going to modify the thoughts of someone else as it regards people of their race. I totally disagree with that, but I believe that everybody should be able to live the standard they feel like living in public, and I will live to the standard I feel like living.

If my standard says that I need to market or promote myself in business as more than just being black, then that’s what I’m going to do, whether it’s Twitter, LinkedIn, email or snail mail marketing, or whatever else might fit. I doubt, once I put out there, that anybody who sees my picture is going to miss the fact that I’m black.

I hope not anyway, because I certainly can’t turn it on and off and I would never want to do it in the first place. Because I’m black more times during the day than I’m an entrepreneur, it’s prominent in my life. But it’s not the only thing that defines me, and if that’s my point of view about my life then it shouldn’t be anybody else’s point of view about my life, no matter what their background is and no matter what their agenda happens to be at that moment.

I’ma be me regardless, so that you can be you, and maybe we’ll all live in some kind of harmony. Does anybody have a problem with that?
 

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