Religious and spiritual books and every book about success discuss the power of words. The most effective leaders in our world, past and present, have made changes and moved masses with their words. What we say and believe will eventually manifest and perpetuate itself over time.
Why then do we continue to verbally uphold poor standards and stereotypes about black people in business and scratch our heads or get upset when, in too many cases, they turn out to be true?
Our statements, jokes and expectations that a black-owned business will be “bootleg,” poorly run, always out of a product it is supposed to have, or unsafe — or that a black businessperson will be late, unprepared or expecting arbitrary discounts — are completely unacceptable. If you believe the precepts that “thoughts are things” and “words have power” then you know every time we speak this nonsense and dap each other up or affirm the statement with that “girl, I know what you mean” look, we are dooming ourselves to staying trapped on the bottom rung of business success.
When I say it is nonsense, I don’t mean it never happens. I mean that it happens at businesses run by all types of people and I mean that for whatever truth there is to those statements we ought to be focused on using our words, energy and finances in the most powerful way we can: By speaking about, patronizing and operating black-owned businesses that are models of excellence — and demanding that those who are not there yet rise to the standard, starting with self.
There are root causes that create these problems. Let’s solve them: