The 3 Main Missing Links that Catalyzed Black Underachievement Worldwide!
Firstly, I must say that I LOVE BLACK PEOPLE... it is not always because I agree with everything that Blacks at large do or say, rather because I LOVE MYSELF so darn much, and I happen to be Black. But, I also love PEOPLE... I'm a PEOPLE PERSON and secretly a loner or at least an introvert concurrently. Yup, I'm an ENIGMA to most, good luck figuring me out (smile)!
Over the past three decades (30 years) I have often found myself trying to demystify the root causes of Black underachievement, particularly in the United States, the Caribbean and Africa. Admittedly, it’s not easy to be a Black man in America, and it’s arguable that it isn’t easy to be Black anywhere in a post slavery World and a World that has been dominated by Europeans and thus White Supremacy in so many ways, shapes and forms. Sometimes it may even seem like God, himself, might have closed all the doors for the Black man/woman. I know the feeling; I have been Black for my entire life. It’s been said that perception is reality. Blacks have to change their perception of reality if they are to compete well enough to earn the respect of other groups. YES, it NOT EASY… I know and I wish I could personally give an arm to make life fairer, and to minimize the obstacles that many young Blacks have to face, especially those who are from disenfranchised areas. However, that too is wishful thinking… Any change that needs to happen must include a change in PERCEPTION/MENTALITY (i.e., a change in our minds and ways of thinking) as thus far our current way of thinking has not gotten us far enough fast enough. Every great people have had to do the same. it's called a MODEL/PARADIGM SHIFT.
With that that in mind, I want to assert that, modernly, it is a cop-out to blame Black underachievement of any sort on only slavery or Europeans or imperialism. Yes, there is still a component of “Mental Slavery” involved (feel free to see my article entitled MENTALLY ENSLAVED) however, not all Blacks were slaves (i.e., many Africans were never slaves). And arguably there are some countries in Africa that are very rich in oil and/or natural resources that have still underachieved compared to other similarly positioned countries.
Thus, WHAT’s THE PROBLEM? It’s certainly not intelligence, since Blacks have been scientifically-proven to be amazingly intelligent, the original men/women, and thus all human-beings emanated from Blacks. Moreover, Blacks are highly unique, artistic, soulful, and have been proven to be some of the most genius of human beings, which can be linked to our originality. However, collectively, most Black groups or nations have relatively underachieved.
So, again, WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
I am convinced that I have discovered the 2 main missing links that have secured Black (and to some extent MINORITY underachievement Worldwide, and thus conversely the solution to the Black achievement problem/gap. I intend to use them as the three main themes of this article. So, here they are:
Missing Link#1: LOVE or SELF-LOVE
Missing Link#2: LEADERSHIP ISSUE (or missing leadership components)
Missing Link#3: PERFORMANCE ISSUE (or missing performance components)
My goal is to make this article as palatable as possible so that one should not have to have PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) degree to process it. Thus, without further ado, let me get right to the first theme (missing link)
Missing Link#1: LOVE or SELF-LOVE
Every human-being is created in the image of ALMIGHTY GOD (LOVE). Thus, if for any reason any person decides not to love the natural person that s/he is, and feels the need to go the extra mile to look like another group, that is bona fide (good faith) evidence of lack of self-love, self-acceptance, and thus acceptance of inferiority.
Therefore whether the root causes are slavery, White superiority, upbringing, the result is still the same, a search for acceptance not for one’s true worth, natural talent and merit, but rather one’s appearance. However, this is not the only evidence of lack of self-love. One who doesn’t love himself would also tend not to love those that look like he/she does, or those that remind him of who s/he used to be. Essentially, if one doesn’t love himself/herself, s/he cannot also love his community to the point of going the extra mile to make it the best community that it can possibly be.
Rather, that person may feel like s/he has three choices: either to (1) give up, accept his/her perceived inferiority and become his/her own evidence of a self-professed underachiever; or (2) work hard to distance himself/herself from the group that reminded him/her of his/her inferiority by moving into other neighborhoods and partially/thoroughly abandoning any efforts to help those from whom s/he emanated; (3) pretend to be helping along, but simply opportunistically using the plight of Blacks for self-aggrandizement or enrichment.
Accordingly, such a person is incapable for feeling real love, and thus may even purchase a semblance of love in surrogates, and may even get insulted if s/he is reminded of his or her race, which came from suppressing the issue of LACK OF SELF-LOVE, rather than curing its source.
There is a difference between self-love and Black Activism. The latter doesn’t, in and of itself, imply self-love. It is a reaction-based movement to feeling too oppressed; however, it too lacks components of self-love because it lacks an understanding of the underlying cause of what is being reacted to, and certainly lack the other two components of leadership and performance.
Thus, one who lacks SELF-LOVE automatically lacks GOD because GOD is LOVE, and if one is created in God’s image, yet is denying God’s beauty because of some misconceived notion of inferiority that might have been induced by past events, such a person is lost, Godless and mentally-enslaved.
The Bible tells us that “The People Perish Because of Lack of Knowledge (or Understanding of the Truth)”… but knowledge of what… knowledge of GOD/LOVE because if we understand GOD we understand LOVE. While men tend to want to destroy us over any silly things, God is very patient and gives us as many chances as possible for redemption. Therefore to me, God is a lot more merciful than men are.
R E S P E C T
The great Aretha Franklin sang to us about “R E S P E C T”… However respect and love are two different entities. Yet, they go hand in hand. Those that lack self-love will probably also lack self-respect, or at least will fail to earn the level of self-equity to procure the RESPECT of others. In other words, LOVE should be automatic. Just by being a human being we are worthy of being loved because we are created in God’s image. However, RESPECT has to be earned. And modernly, Blacks haven’t earned enough societal respect because of the next missing links/themes.
Missing Link#2: LEADERSHIP ISSUE (or missing leadership components)
A leader is someone one chooses to follow to a place where on would not have gone alone. Usually, the follower lacked the vision, or is hampered by fear. Either way the leader’s job is to FIND, RECOGNIZE and SECURE the FUTURE (which is what the VISION is all about).
Although there are all types of leaders (e.g., charismatic, or bully or transformational), most effective leaders have five things in common
1. CHANGE: They understand that there is a CHANGE that must take place
2. PESUASION: They work hard and smart to PERSUADE others to accept the change by creating a movement (e.g., Jesus, Obama, Dr. King, Trump); and become the change that they want to see happen
3. HARD WORK: They work hard to dissolve their opponents (those who don’t like the change) and not alienate their proponents (those who agree with the requisite change for whatever reason).
4. PERSISTENCE: They keep on keeping on with their main approaches to effectuate the change no matter how controversial it may sound because they understand that by nature people don’t like drastic changes. They expose corruption and distance themselves from it. They also try to minimize faction and/or corruption by either creating strategic alliances or discredit any assertions of their opponents that might have substantially tainted their change message.
5. DETERMINATION & SELF-DISCIPLINE: They never ever give up!
An excellent example of lack of leadership is Kwame Kilpatrick in Detroit who was a promising young Black mayor who could have become a presidential candidate but is rather sitting in federal prison because of lack of leadership.
Missing Link#3: PERFORMANCE ISSUE (or Missing Performance Components)
One can have both SELF-LOVE and LEADERSHIP yet still underachieve. This is the case with so many students. The student may love himself, and might have a great instructor/teacher, yet still fail to achieve enough. The same may happen to a leader who loves himself/herself and has great mentors, yet fail to lead… such is the case of many pastors who fail to lead their church members to the promise land (i.e., spiritual fulfilment, professional fulfilment, and life fulfillment at large)
The Three Components of Performance
According to the field of human performance technology (HPT), one of my sub-specialty fields, a human being needs to have three concurrent components in order to catalyze performance and they are as followed:
While some of us are intrinsically-motivated (self-motivated), and others are extrinsically-motivated (requiring of external input/stimuli/encouragement) to remain motivated, we all need to be motivated in order to perform.
ABILITY/SKILLS or EDUCATION
All human-being need to have the right skill sets in order to do anything (e.g., to be a surgeon, professional truck driver, welder, lawyer, engineer etc.) A person who lacks the right skills sets will either fail to perform or perform inadequately. The proof is in the pudding… in the end, such lack of performance or non-performance will be self-evident in one’s lack of academic, professional, and social achievements.
Without the opportunity to perform even a genius will fail to perform. It’s been said that the World is filled with unrewarded geniuses… Such unrewarded geniuses are people who failed to perform either before they did not seek enough opportunity to perform, or were not given access to such opportunities… the latter might have been the case to a lot of minorities (particularly Blacks) for years, but modernly, legal protection, and social awareness has induced lots of opportunities to be available to Blacks. Moreover, many millennials are more aware of their prejudices and do make an effort to be more inclusive. Accordingly, it is not enough to state that one is not given the opportunity because one is Black. Rather, alliances must be created and efforts to earn the respect of the mainstreams must be fostered like Asians (e.g. Chines and Indians) have been doing lately.
PARTING POINTS and SOLUTIONS
Modernly, wherever we have Blacks in the World, we see a handful of Black overachievers that are typically working for non-Black or government entities, and a majority of Black underachievers. Many have associated being Black with being poor even though there are many wealthy Blacks in the World. However, the inequity of the majority of Blacks makes the equity of the minority of such overachievers negligibly small.
In a nutshell, society has a low expectation of BLACK PERFORMANCE (particularly that of Black males). In fact, many (Blacks/Whites) may even feel threatened by talented Blacks, particularly Black males… and it is partly because of past racism and because modernly Blacks have conformed to a state of “inferiority”. To many Blacks a smart Black male who is more mainstreamed and business-minded may be viewed as “Acting White” or an “Uncle Tom”. Far too many Blacks have accepted a state in which being BLACK can be equated to being GHETTO, POOR, NONACADEMIC, UN-ASSIMILATED, DISENFRANCHISED… The latter has to change in order to foster more MOTIVATION in Blacks, and OPPORTUNITY for them. Moreover, new ACCELERATED SKILLS programs must be created to bridge the gaps between such Blacks and their higher-performing and more advanced non-Black peers.
While Blacks help establish many trends of “COOLNESS”/SWAG, such trends often don’t translate into money into most of their pockets, and have nothing to do with what’s happening in the board rooms unless a mostly White-owned company is benefiting. Yup, this is still true in 2017. Moreover, many successful Blacks tend to have achieved their success without the help of other Blacks (and mostly via alliances created with other groups) and subsequently remain in such non-Black affinity groups and feel no allegiance to the Black communities from which they emanated. Many might have even suffered casualties from their own communities (e.g., homicides) that might have added insult to injury.
Of course, there are issues of tests biases where subject matters on which students are tested favor one group over another. However, most of these tests have test preparation tools that are equally available to both groups. Moreover, there is a role model issue. Many successful Blacks don’t act like role models and have the Charles Barkley Syndrome (“I am not your role model, and I’m not paid to be your role model”). Of course that is utter stupidity. Every successful Black man/woman stands on the shoulders of giants of all colors, particularly Black pioneers who paved the way along. Such successful Blacks can be very good motivation models for younger Blacks.
Personally, many of my role models were non-Blacks, but I was fortunate to have met some good Black role models as well (e.g., Doug Jackson and Richard Parsons). However, there have been far too many Black males who seemed to have had a God complex once they get to the top. Many failed to appeal to other Blacks, even those who shared the same nationality and culture. It is not the same with other cultures. Often the Asians seem to stick together so well, and share so much to assure the success of all Asians that is around the area. Blacks can learn from that.
It is not enough to be “COOL” or to have SWAG unless it also translates into a better life for one’s family and oneself. A penniless man is an emasculated man. And a penniless Black man (particularly in America) might as well be invisible.
To keep it simple I will type the most important keywords and themes in this article in bullets, as if the next generation of Blacks desire to develop true equity/respect, it will have to ensure that the following words, which represent serious concepts are well understood and applied:
1. LOVE & SELF-LOVE
5. SKILLS/ABILITY or EDUCATION
7. RESPECT / EQUITY
e missed out on an opportunity to induce America to heal many wounds, and see itself as a multi-cultural melting pot that is united by one COMPONENT called LOVE/GOD… ONE NATION under GOD with liberty and justice for ALL! He appeared to have been the perfect man for the job, but now I’m left bewildered with the task of asking common achievers of all races, including Blacks to act as a role model to induce the next generation of Blacks to take the above concepts very seriously. I do thank President Obama for being the first non-White-male human being and first bi-racial man to have become President of the U.S. No human-being can become fiscally-responsible and socially-aware without an understanding of the above seven words/concepts. I love Black people, but I am very disappointed at the level of leadership that I have witnessed in the past 30 years. I’m equally disappointed in President Obama because my expectations of him as the GREAT RECONCILER, and PEACE MAKER, and ONE-AMERICA-PROPHET did not come into fruition. Perhaps he was too invested into his health care law (Obamacare) or perhaps he underestimated the gravity of the Presidency. Either way, I'm sure he missed the boat on the topic of achieving success as a Black person in America, and constructively challenging America to believe that when Blacks fail so does America, that there is no White America, Black America, but the United States of America. I was waiting for it for 8 years, and although he sometimes got close to it, he failed to even get a "D" in that department. I have concluded that we cannot rely on one man to do any job. Rather, we need collective efforts on all sides (including Whites and other groups). It takes a village to raise a child, right?
Lastly, the task at hand is never easy when it's worthwhile. Every day I motivate between 15 to 40 people to be better Citizens and about half of that is Black. Again, It is no easy task, but seeing someone turn his life around and go from non-achievement or underachievement to achievement or over-achievement is abso-freaking-lutely PRICELESS. Only LOVE can help us do that, and for sure RESPECT will also follow.
So, the next time you see a Black kid who looks a little lost, talk to him or her, show him/her that you care, and show the only LOVE that can come from GOD and I assure you that you'll change far many lives than you might have anticipated.
"It does take a village not just to raise any good child" , but also to secure the success of society at large... for sure so many Blacks are gifted, but as of now so many have been left behind to join the long list of "GIFTED UNDERACHIEVERS".
Still, the common denominator is GOD because GOD is the true author of TRUE LOVE!