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Atlanta Business Connection Message Board Archived Discussion › The Barack Obama Challenge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Barack Obama Challenge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pierre D.
user 4852863
Las Vegas, NV
Post #: 43
I attended the Million Man March in 1995. The event was advertised as a day of atonement for black men. I was close enough to the stage to look directly at the speakers of the day without the help of the large TV's set up for those who couldn't see. The most incredible thought I had that day were the number of men who stated that because of the event, they were going to go home and "do the right thing". They were going to take care of their children, pay their child support obligations, stay out of jail and be more of a positive force in the community. While others around me nodded their approval for these men, all I could do was shake my head in complete disgust.

The fact that it took the Million Man March for grown men to do what, as men, we are supposed to do was absolutely stunning to me. I couldn't imagine needing that type of motivation to do what was necessary to improve my life and the lives of those around me.

I was not shocked to see Barack Obama walk out with his wife and children on Tuesday night. It was expected due to the negative conditions in the United States. But reading comments from black people across the country has me thinking back to 1995. I have listened to many people say they now feel that there are no limitations on what they can achieve. In light of Obama's victory, they will work harder to do the things they have always wanted to do because the sky is the limit. Are you serious?

Has it come to this? Do we as black folks need someone else to do something to let us know that anything can be accomplished? President-elect Obama spent at least 16 months trying to walk out on that stage Tuesday. It didn't happen overnight. So how does the motivation to do more with your life happen so quickly? Shouldn't that idea have already been in your head? What were you waiting on to create a better world for yourself? What has held you back in the past? Excuses, no matter how good or bad, are still excuses.

For some reason, expectations are always so low when it comes to black folks. But the low expectations come from OURSELVES. We are as smart and intelligent as any people in this country, but we don't show it. We are often too happy to let someone else do something while we watch the parade go by. Being president is a massive job. But let's not forget that Barack Obama WANTED the job. He WANTED the challenge. He felt that he was up to the task of being the CEO of the greatest country in the world. Are the people who now are feeling so jazzy up to the commitment required to follow through on this new found power?

The Million Man March was 13 years ago. Much has changed since then. Has that movement been successful or a failure? I can't answer that question. But this latest movement, I will call it the Obama challenge, will have legs only if people are serious. If not, we as a people will continue to celebrate the achievements of other blacks who met the challenges in their fields by those not willing to challenge themselves.
A former member
Post #: 85
Though I agree with some of your view points, I must say this.

This is going to sound like a response from a total bigot, or as Ralph Nader would say to FOX News, an Uncle Tom, but I'm a capitalist, so I'm going to say it anyway. Let the children have their Super Man moment.

Barack Obama is the Messiah to a huge number of black people. Not every black person is going to be a business success like you and I and few others in this Meet Up Group. Some of us our losers. Some of us will never achieve more than a crappy apartment and 'supervisor of lettuce' at McDonalds. There is nothing wrong with letting them ease the pain a little by harboring bragging rights due to the new first family.

It doesn't matter how big your corporation gets, you will still need somebody willing to keep your toilets clean and your carpet vacuumed. That's there where these guys come in. The people that think Barack, or Michelle, or Jesus Christ, is going to mystically and magically pull them out of the hood like Super-man pulled cats out of trees, are likely to be a good 80% of your staff that makes under $30K a year.

That's how capitalism works: giving a mass of people the illusion of a golden egg at the end of the tunnel (i.e. heaven, a promotion, more money, more power, a black-owned U.S.A etc.). If everybody does what you mentioned above, then capitalism would fall. We don't want that. God forbid every black person starts picking themselves up by their own bootstraps and showing accountability. Then who would we hire? The wetbacks? We're big bad ballsy grasshoppers, but we need those ants, baby!
Atlanta, GA
Post #: 84

I agree with a lot of what you're saying, but the answer your question is "Yes". It DOES take something like this to motivate most people.

Imagine if your entire life, you were taught (whether through words, the actions of others or experience) that you couldn't do what you wanted in life.

  • You saw your father constantly being discriminated against..
  • Your mother was stuck under the glass ceiling...
  • Your "most successful" uncles and aunts only made it to 'lower management' in their professions
  • Your friends weren't doing any better than you... some in jail, some dead

Imagine this scenario for the 'average' person. This doesn't motivate the average person. Typically, this 'holds them down, deflates their dreams, DE-motivates. Leads them into believing that "this is just the way things are" and I can't make it any better.

Now add the following to the mix:

  • You see people like Elvis stealing from Big Mama Thornton to become the"king of rock and roll" and countless other examples..
  • You see the media constantly portraying people who look like you as "thugs, thieves, etc"
  • Black people who stand up to the "establishment" are assassinated (physically or mentally)
  • The only real "role models" you see are Puff, Jay-Z, Kobe, etc...

You can imagine that this would be challenging to overcome for some people. Others use these type of conditions to motivate them to strive for better, but it's not always the case.

I don't DISagree with Robert's comment of "If everybody does what you mentioned above, then capitalism would fall."

This is true. I wouldn't go as far as saying "someone has to clean your toilets"...but not everyone can be a leader...even it's merely leading themselves.

I don't think it needs to be said that you, Robert and the rest of us in the APB group are exceptional people. We aren't the norm... we're putting forth significant effort to better ourselves and community. Most people don't (and won't) do the things we're doing.

That's what makes us different.

That's what makes Barack Different.

That's why he's inspiring.
A former member
Post #: 3
Greetings, All. I must say, there were some thought provoking responses in this blog. I agree with alot of things said, and disagree with alot of things said. Sadly it sounds like at some point some men lose touch....How different would your life be had you been born in the projects. Raised by a drug-addicted mother. Absentee father. Ever been a child in a house with no food, no lights, no hot water, no screens on the windows. Can you tell the difference between someone raised in India and someone raised in the US ? Can you tell the difference between a stray dog and one that's been raised in a loving home, with obedience ? If you take an American newborn and let an Iraqi family raise him, what do you think the chances are that the child will grow up a Muslim ? Why would that philosophy differ when it comes to how men are raised ? Instead of looking down your nose at people, uplift them, enlighten them.

I am a perfect example of a man pulling himself up by his bootstraps. Despite the odds stacked against me. However I didn't make it out unscathed. But guess what ? There are more men like me that did not make it out than men that did make it out. I know what it's like to feel hopeless. I know what it's like to want to give up. I didn't see successful, hard working Black men and women growing up. Can you honestly say had you not had the guidance you had you would still be where you are today? What kind of man would your son become if you let him grow up in the projects ? Be honest with yourself. Could a doctor practice medicine without first being properly trained ? We should not look down on others without having walked in their shoes.

I am glad to see how far we have come as a people, as a nation. However, I do not feel that because a Black man is president, all my problems will be magically fixed. I accept responsibility for my own success or failure. But I didn't always have this mindset. I blamed how I grew up, what i didn't know. I don't know. Whatever happened to each one teach one ? I guess some people can no more understand my ideals than I can theirs. Some stuff said I just can not relate to. I imagine the same will be said about my response as well.
A former member
Post #: 7
Everyone needs some type of motivation, whether positive (like Obama becoming Pres) or Negative (growing up in the ghetto and wanting better). I think Very few people can 'do it by themselves' most people need to have something pushing (or pulling) them.
Pierre D.
user 4852863
Las Vegas, NV
Post #: 44
I believe in the concept of "Each One Teach One". I have spent a good deal of my adult life building relationships with those less fortunate than myself. But my job is to HELP. Making excuses for failure means nothing to me. There are those who do and those who don't. If you cannot motivate yourself to WANT better, how would you get motivated to DO better? Being poor is as much a state of mind as being rich. You are what you THINK you are, you become what you THINK most about.

It doesn't matter what ghetto you are from or what blue blood family you are from. We as black folk are quick to point out all the reasons why we underperform. But the reality is that if we spent more time working on success and less time talking about who and what are keeping us down we wouldn't be having this conversation. As a man you should KNOW what it means to be one. Black people cheered Obama's win last week yet I have not heard him say one time that he's black, african american, negro, homeboy, cuz or any other word we use to label ourselves. He has stated he is a MAN. To say that our people can't perform without others help is insulting and embarrassing. Motivate yourself. That's what it means to be professional and that's what it means to be a man.

"Excuses are the tools of the weak and incompetent used to build monuments to nothingness. And those who specialize in them can seldom do anything else. Excuses".
A former member
Post #: 5
Very well said, Pierre. And I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said. I do, however, know what it is to not have an example of what a MAN is. But that is not an excuse to remain in the state you're in. It is totally up to the individual to want and pursue better for himself. At the same time, those of us that are more fortunate should not look at others that have not arrived mentally with disdain, instead plant seeds to help and encourage them to rise above their current state.

I do not agree that Black people alone use excuses for failure. I do agree that excuses are weak. I also wish that Black people would stop using them. I do not condone the excuses or behavior, but I do understand what it's like to be trapped, mentally. At some point you have to decide for yourself what type of life you want, and devise a plan to make it happen. Something I realize though, from up-close and personal experience: Some people really don't know.

I applaud to the work you do in reaching back as well. While I haven't quite "arrived", when I do I will be sure to reach back and help anyone making the effort to achieve their idea of the American Dream.
Pierre D.
user 4852863
Las Vegas, NV
Post #: 45
I applaud your efforts as well John. However, I was taught by a sales manager once that "when you're green you grow and when you're ripe you rot". I have done well but there is plenty more for me to do to get where I want to be and plenty more for me to do to help others. But to get there, I take it 1 day and 1 person at a time.
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Atlanta, GA

Founded Dec 31, 2003


Kenisha "K.T." Forbes

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