Retired Professor to Black People: Own Your Grief To Combat Racism
Black Lives Matter Entrepreneurship

Retired Harvard B-School Professor to Black People: Own Your Anger and Grief To Combat Brutal, Systemic Racism

Black people protesting
(Image: iStock/Alessandro Biascioli)

In his latest podcast, retired Harvard professor Steven Rogers departed from his usual format to focus on “the business” of helping Black people respond to the alarming number of casualties from police shootings.

“I do not believe there is any value at this time to tell Black people to suppress their anger and hurt until the voting booths open in November,” asserts Rogers, discarding recent statements made by numerous Black politicians and entertainers. “My advice is that Black people should be authentic and own these feelings. Continue to march and protest.”

In dealing with the “multi-step grieving process,” the leading Black business authority and contributor urges African Americans to “not let any one hoodwink you into trying to skip important steps in the process of grief when a Black man has been lynched by a white cop.”

Rogers usually uses his incisive, witty “Lessons on Black Excellence in Business” podcast to offer advice on areas such as startup financing, operational excellence, and strategic management. A recent episode aptly titled, “Say it Loud, I’m Black And I’m Proud…And I’m Angry And Hurting“—merging the lyrics from R&B legend James Brown’s 1968 classic with a statement from his daughter and co-host, Ariel, that echoes the sentiment of Black people nationwide—was designed to help listeners cope with the painful history of brutal and systemic acts of racism.

He shares his own unshakeable anguish over examples of inhumanity: “I still hurt and grieve from hearing as an 11-year-old my mother crying in her bedroom 52 years ago when the news reported that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had been murdered. I still hurt and grieve from attending a church service at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina, 100 days after a white man murdered nine black parishioners during a prayer service meeting in 2015. And I still hurt and grieve from the photo that I saw of a black family—a father, a mother, and two children—lynched, hanging from a tree by their necks when I visited the lynching museum last year in Montgomery, Alabama.”

In the podcast, Rogers suggests listeners engage in four actions to help African Americans find spiritual upliftment, combat racism, and gain economic empowerment. For instance, he encourages them to “love the Black community” by patronizing those firms that develop products and services that benefit Black consumers and donate to Black causes. “Remember the greatest private sector employer of Black people are Black-owned businesses.”