They Got Theirs, We Need To Get Ours

April 19, 2007

Why is it that immigrants have figured out the path to wealth in this country but we haven’t? USA Today had an article about Indian-Americans controlling 43% of the 47,000 hotels and motels in the country. See that….43%…over 20,000 hotels and motels. And Indian-Americans aren’t the largest minority in this country, but yet they control almost half of an entire industry. Latin-Americans seem to be making headway in the home improvement industry. Black Americans? We just want to get a high paying job or play sports. However, as we move up the company ladder and hit the proverbial glass ceiling, we’re moving out to do our own thing.

Minorities are starting their own business at a faster and faster rate. I see this as a very good sign. Let’s face it, corporate American is still White America. We can’t escape racism, but we can step around it. Immigrants have figured that out and they won’t play the corporate game. They come here and start their own businesses. Black America needs to do the same. We might as well give up the hope of ever getting that 40 acres and a mule. Heck, the only thing the government is going to give us is a tax refund and welfare.

Back to the article, as I read it, a few things struck me. Indian-Americans control over 20,000 hotels. That means, they operate a business that they can literally live in. Also, buying a hotel means that they are also purchasing real estate. Have you noticed that hotels control some of the most desired real estate in the country? So that means that they have profit generating assets that appreciate over time. I wonder what the combined value of 20,000 hotels plus the land is? Almost sounds like they bought 40 acres and a mule huh. And Indian-Americans have accomplished this in less that 40 years.

Me thinks we have some work to do. Lets face it, whining about how unfair the world is not going to get us where we want to go. Blacks need to come together and help ourselves. Indian-Americans helped each other and that’s how they now control 43% of the hotel industry. The Latino community helps each other and they become stronger. The Black community pulls itself down. We’ve got to start taking responsibility for our own community. Nobody “wants” to live in the ghetto. We all want the nice house in the nice neighborhood.

Together, we can all find success. Its very hard if I just get my own and let the rest struggle. If I help the next man, we can grow together. We’ve got to get out of this selfish attitude that we have. This is why, on the Tom Joyner show, Tavis Smiley said he wasn’t concerned about Don Imus. He’s stopped trying to fix the “other” people. He’s just concentrating on getting “us” straight. Steve Harvey felt the same way. We have to uplift ourselves, because it’ll be a cold day in h*** before someone else does.


Career Day

April 10, 2007

Last week, I got the opportunity to participate in a local elementary school’s Career Day. Since this school was in a predominately black neighborhood, I jumped at the chance. Being a young, black and professional male, I figured I’d show these kids that there are some of “them” being successful in life.

I was pretty nervous about going, however. I wasn’t sure how I could keep a class of 1st, 2nd and 4th graders interested for three 30 minute sessions. Once I got started though, the time flew by. And let me tell you, 4th graders can ask some very intelligent and world aware questions. I don’t remember being that worldly (or big) at that age.

All in all, it was fun a experience and I can hardly wait to participate next year. The only thing I regretted was not giving a good answer to one question. I was asked, “what type of family life did I have growing up?” Now, my childhood was very “Cosby-esque”. I had a very good childhood with wonderful parents. I’m sure most of these kids couldn’t say the same and I regret stressing that regardless of their home life, they could still be successful in life. In fact, adversity or a hard life can bring out the genius in some people. Next year, I’ll stress that.


Google Releases Broadband Wireless Service

April 2, 2007

You gotta love these guys. I have to remember to go to Google every April Fool’s Day. Sign up for the service here.


You Can Build My House, But You Can’t Have A Credit Card

March 3, 2007

A couple of weeks ago, Bank of America announced that they were going to offer credit cards to people that didn’t have a Social Security number and credit history. Interesting enough, they expanded this program from five branches to fifty-one branches in Los Angeles County. This area just happens to have the largest concentration of illegal immigrants in the United States. In a classic response, some customers closed their accounts in protest because of illegal aliens (read [insert negative adjective here] Mexicans) being able to obtain said credit card.

I’m not exactly sure why people care if illegal immigrants obtain a credit card. Well, other than some racist reason anyways. I don’t see how this is a bad thing. B of A shareholders should be estactic. Just think of all the fee income that will be generated. Actually, most people with a 401K should be happy. B of A’s income goes up, which means their stock goes up, which means peoples’ 401K goes up. Oh, and to get the credit card, the customer has to have a checking account. Since these account holders have to go through the Patriot Act scrutiny, I really don’t see the problem. Plus, you know B of A is going to charge a crazy interest rate.

So I say again, what exactly is so bad about this? All I can see is the positive effect that this will have on our economy. I’ve heard the arguments about Mexicans taking our jobs. Honestly though, I just think White America is worried about becoming the minority. The Hispanic and Black populations are growing at a much faster rate. The interesting thing is, Hispanics tend to take the jobs that no one wants, especially in construction. How long do you think it will be before Hispanics pretty much control the construction industry? Hispanics also start businesses at a higher rate. Blacks need to start paying attention. Instead of trying to be accepted in White America, Hispanics are building a country inside the US. Notice how everything is starting to have a Spanish translation on it? Now that’s power. And that’s really what it boils down to, loss of power.

 


Do You Bear The Torch For Your Race?

February 17, 2007

On the Black In Business blog, Jim posted about personal weaknesses and improving them. I made a comment about how one of Jim’s weaknesses (poor spelling) could be interpreted as making blacks in general look like poor spellers. His response was very profound:

Every thing we do as black people reflect upon the whole race. If a white man cannot spell, he may be excused or just be a dumb white man, for us we carry the burden of representing the whole race. Until we are allowed to be one aspect of a diverse race of people, we risk never taking risk for fear of making all black people look bad.

Now in my defense, my comment was from the point of view that his misspellings would be interpreted as ignorance, which in turn would unfairly reflect on blacks in general. I correctly determined that he wasn’t very proficient with using a computer. Still, I’m embarrassed that I too fell into stereotyping.

Jim’s response made me think about how I also often bear the torch for my race. There have been plenty of instances in my life where I’ve been the first or only black to accomplish something. Whether it was the first to receive the Eagle Scout award, or being the only black at a technology company, I felt that I was representing my whole race. Even today, I feel that I have to be successful so that I can open doors for other blacks. Chris Rock said it best in “Head of State” when his aide said he shouldn’t quit in his campaign for the presidency:

“I wish I could quit. I wish it was that easy. You’re lucky, you are so lucky. You don’t know how good you got it. You just represent yourself. Me, I represent my whole race. If I quit, there won’t be another black candidate for 50 years.”

I’m willing to bet that most successful blacks feel that way deep down, that they have to succeed for our race, not just themselves. No other race gets this level of scrutiny. No other race has this level of pressure placed on each individual of that race. The Asian and Middle Eastern cultures probably come the closest, in that family honor is important. But like my wife said, “it takes a special person to be black. Most people don’t have the inner strength to live out what we go through in our lifetime.”


Just for her or both of us?

February 14, 2007

Well, it’s that time of year where your love is measured in gifts, cards and flowers. Honestly though, I rather enjoy Valentine’s Day. I guess it helps that I’m married to someone that reciprocates my love. It certainly makes it easier and a lot more fun to find that one card that’s just right. However, when I was younger, I really disliked Valentine’s Day. From what I could see, it was just a holiday for females. They were the ones that got all the gifts while us guys had to scrounge up money to pay for said gifts. That’s probably why a lot of breakups happen in October and November. Gotta avoid “gift-giving season”. A prior relationship that I had was the main reason I was turned off on celebrating “V-Day”.

 

While in college, I dated this female for about a year and a half. We met while we were both at same college and then each transferred to different schools. Her school was close to my hometown and I would visit her and my parents every other weekend. Well, being a college student with no job, funds were pretty tight. When Valentine’s Day rolled around, I didn’t really have any spare money to get a nice gift. My girlfriend picked me up that weekend and brought me home. She let me borrow her car to drive back and forth between her and my parent’s place. That Sunday was Valentine’s Day. While on the way to pick up her up so that she could take me back to school, I stopped and picked up a nice card. When I got to her dorm, I left the card on the passenger seat and went up to her room.

 

Once I got there, she reached out her hands and said, “where’s my gift?” I told her that I hadn’t gotten her anything and she proceeded to go off on me. I remember something about “not caring about her” and “being too cheap to even get a card.” By this time I was pretty annoyed and ended the conversation by suggesting we leave so she could take me back to school. When she got in the car, she saw the card and looked at me and apologized. Needless to say, that was a pretty quiet two hour drive back to school. After she dropped me off, we kissed each other good-bye and she apologized again. She hopped back in her car and left while I settled into my dorm room. I thought about everything that happened and then it hit me, “that triflin’ chick didn’t even get ME anything. And she cusses ME out?!?!?”

 

Sad to say, but we weren’t together a few months later. I did learn a lot from that relationship though. That’s why it’s so nice to finally be with someone that appreciates and cherishes you as much as you do them. So to my wife…Happy Valentine’s Day baby.


DRM Go Bye-Bye?

February 8, 2007

Even Steve Jobs thinks DRM sucks. I must say, I almost feel vindicated. Total vindication will happen when music companies totally do away with this DRM nonsense. Believe me, I understand the arguments for it. I just feel that in the long run, its futile. I’m firmly in the camp that believes that if I already paid for the digital media, I shouldn’t have to pay again just to have it in another format. Music companies didn’t have a problem when we made copies with tapes. They only began to care when copies were able to be distributed to millions at a time for free.

 

One interesting point I’d like to make is, the rise in illegal downloads coincides with the decline in music singles. Right around the time Napster hit the scene, I found it hard to find singles to music I wanted to buy. Those I did find, cost almost as much as the whole album. And record execs wonder why their sales started slipping. Some how, they forgot about the whole “demand” thingy in “supply and demand”. Hopefully Apple will help the music companies see the light. Then I won’t have to register every single computer I use my iPod on.