Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness

( 22 )

Overview

If the name Randal Pinkett sounds familiar, it may be because Pinkett was the first African-American winner on The Apprentice. When he won, this black man also became the only contestant to be asked to share his victory—with a white woman. The request (and Pinkett’s subsequent refusal) set off a firestorm of controversy that inevitably focused on the issue of race in the American workplace and in society.

For generations, African-Americans have been told that to succeed, they ...

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Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness

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Overview

If the name Randal Pinkett sounds familiar, it may be because Pinkett was the first African-American winner on The Apprentice. When he won, this black man also became the only contestant to be asked to share his victory—with a white woman. The request (and Pinkett’s subsequent refusal) set off a firestorm of controversy that inevitably focused on the issue of race in the American workplace and in society.

For generations, African-Americans have been told that to succeed, they need to work twice as hard as everyone else. But as millions of black Americans were reminded by Pinkett’s experience, sometimes hard work is not enough. Black Faces in White Places is about “the game”—that is, the competitive world in which we all live and work. The book offers 10 revolutionary strategies for playing, mastering, and changing the game for the current generation, while undertaking a wholesale redefinition of the rules for those who will follow. It is not only about shattering the old “glass ceiling,” but also about examining the four dimensions of the contemporary black experience: identity, society, meritocracy, and opportunity. Ultimately, it is about changing the very concept of success itself.

Based on the authors’ considerable experiences in business, in the public eye, and in the minority, the book shows how African-American professionals can (and must) think and act both Entrepreneurially and “Intrapreneurially,” combine their collective strengths with the wisdom of others, and plant the seeds of a positive and lasting legacy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“…important and groundbreaking book…provides the tools necessary for African Americans and members of other minorities, to achieve success and respect on their own terms.” —BlogBusinessWorld

“…Pinkett and Rutgers Business School Professor Jeffrey Robinson present a trailblazing path for leveraging ethnic and cultural assets to not only win the game of success in any arena, but to reshape America and leave a powerful legacy for generations to come…. They show how to achieve professional and personal success while affirming and amplifying racial pride by learning, mastering, and ultimately redefining ‘the ever-changing game’ - their new metaphor for our competitive world of work and life. Building on the four dimensions of the contemporary Black experience - identity, society, meritocracy, and opportunity their book provides a strategic roadmap to keep African Americans moving forward in their journey toward not simply equal treatment but equal respect for their diversity and uniqueness. Covering ten groundbreaking strategies, they inspire and empower every Black man and woman.” -- Career News Service

“…a trailblazing path for leveraging ethnic and cultural assets….[the authors] inspire and empower every Black man and woman.” -- Career News Service

“A helpful handbook designed for the average African-American armed with credentials yet in a quandary about how to flourish in the midst of a corporate culture tainted by intolerance in terms of skin color.” -- Caribbean Life

Black Faces in White Places is the perfect book for any Black job hunter who seeks a real career….[a] thoughtful, helpful book.” – The Chicago Crusader

Library Journal
Pinkett (Campus CEO) won season four of The Apprentice, the first African American winner. Here he offers ten strategies not simply for successful entrepreneurship but also successful "intrapreneurship," gaining success through knowing oneself and the realities of functioning in today's society.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814416808
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 10/27/2010
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 236,968
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

RANDAL PINKETT, PH.D. is the co-founder, chairman and CEO of BCT Partners, an information technology and management consulting firm. He was the season four winner of “The Apprentice.”

JEFFREY ROBINSON, PH.D. is a leading business scholar at Rutgers Business School.

PHILANA PATTERSON is a business news editor for the Associated Press.

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Read an Excerpt

Introduction

I wrote these words for everyone who struggles in their youth.

Who won’t accept deception instead of what is truth.

It seems we lose the game, before we even start to play.

Who made these rules? We’re so confused. Easily led astray.

—Lauryn Hill, “Everything Is Everything”

Not Getting Trumped: Randal’s Nationally Televised
“Black Faces in White Places” Moment

It had all come down to this moment: Onstage at New York’s Lincoln Center, on live television with millions of people watching the possibility of me, Randal Pinkett, being chosen as real estate mogul Donald Trump’s next Apprentice.

It was the fourth season of the NBC hit reality show The Apprentice, and Trump would ultimately choose one person, out of eighteen candidates—selected from more than one million applicants—to work for The Trump Organization. At stake: the $250,000 prize and the opportunity to be part of a renowned company that runs—in addition to real estate—gaming, entertainment, media, and educational enterprises.

The competition was whittled down to Rebecca Jarvis—a financial journalist who had previously worked for a short time in investment banking and trading—and me.

I believe Trump’s choice should have been clear. Each week on The Apprentice, teams were charged with tasks under the direction of the team member selected as project manager. As project manager, I was undefeated, while Rebecca had a record of one win and two losses. When other project managers had a chance to choose team members, I was picked far more often. Rebecca was twenty-three years old at the time, and just beginning a career in business journalism. Ten years her senior, I was running BCT Partners, a multimillion-dollar consulting firm, and had already founded four other companies. Rebecca did have great education credentials, having earned an undergraduate degree from the prestigious University of Chicago. Still, my academic experience included five degrees, including an MBA and PhD from MIT, and a Rhodes Scholarship to attend Oxford University.

But this was reality television, and things turned on the unpredictable, so I was prepared for almost anything to happen. The final show of the season was a two-hour live event. Our final tasks, the outcome, the boardroom evaluations, and the debriefing of our team members had been taped and aired. It was time for Trump’s choice.

For those of you who missed it, or need a refresher, here’s how those final seconds went down:

Trump said, “Randal you’re an amazing leader. Amazing. Rarely on this. . . (Applause) Rarely have I seen a leader as good as you, and you lead through niceness. I mean, you really lead through example, and I think you’d be the first to admit that, Rebecca. People follow Randal whenever there’s a choice—we want Randal—I mean it just happened four or five times. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.”

Then he declared, “Rebecca, you’re outstanding. Randal, you’re hired.”

I leaped out of my chair, did a bit of an end-zone-esque celebratory move, and was embraced by several of the previously “fired” Apprentice candidates. My family and friends in the Lincoln Center audience and a group at a party in Newark, New Jersey, cheered my victory.

Then, the “moment.”

My celebration was stopped short when Trump’s voice called over the applause and well-wishes.

“Randal. Randal. Randal. Randal. Randal,” Trump said. “Sit down for a second. I want to ask your opinion.”

I took a seat at the “boardroom” table next to Rebecca.

Trump continued: “You two were so good, I have to ask your opinion. What do you think of Rebecca? If you were me, would you hire Rebecca also?”

I thought, Is he serious? Apparently he was, and I was insulted and angered. No previous winner had ever been asked that question before. That marked my nationally televised “Black Faces in White Places” moment.

—Randal Pinkett

w   w   w

Your “moment” may not have been viewed on-air by millions of people, but if you’re Black, it’s likely you’ve had one. Perhaps you are the only Black in your predominantly white high school and have been asked to speak to the student body, as if you represent the entire Black community. Perhaps you serve as the founder and CEO of a Black-owned business that constantly has to prove and re-prove itself to the marketplace while larger firms are allowed to fail without any repercussions. Perhaps you work for a corporation with little to no minority representation and, for some reason, your opinion seems to fall on deaf ears, while the opinions of your colleagues somehow always carry weight. Perhaps you are one of the few, if not the only person of color in your department, division, or even company, and feel the weight of your race with regard to basic performance. You’re worried that if you’re late, all Black people are considered tardy. If you fail, all Black people are considered failures. But if you succeed, you’re the exception!

The range of such moments is as varied as we are as a people. While the larger society often views Blacks as a monolithic group, we know better. We are liberals and conservatives. We are rich, poor, working, and middle class. We are laborers, blue-collar and white-collar workers. We are Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, and agnostics. Though small in number, there are even Black Jews. Some of us have dropped out of school and some of us have earned multiple degrees. We are diverse—but at the beginning of the day, in the middle of the day, and at the end of the day, we are Black. And at some point—whether it’s early in life or late, we all will have our “moment” when we are confronted with a challenge related to our race.

Coach C. Vivian Stringer and the women of the Rutgers University women’s basketball team had their moment when radio personality Don Imus decided to refer to them as “nappy-headed hos” the morning after they played in the championship game of the NCAA Tournament. But they spoke back with dignity and held their heads high as they graced the cover of Newsweek magazine and received the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award from the Women’s Sports Foundation—awarded to female athletes who exhibit extraordinary courage and surmount adversity. Coach Stringer and her team “redefined the game.”

Olympic speed skater Shani Davis had a moment when he was unfairly criticized by a white skater (who had previously lost a race to Davis) for not being a “team player” when he chose to participate in an individual competition over the team event: an educated decision that was actually as much (if not more) for the benefit of the team than for himself, since Davis had never practiced or participated in the team event. But rather than submit, Davis stood by his decision and redefined the game when he became the first Black athlete to win a gold medal in an individual sport at the Winter Olympics.

Cathy Hughes had her moment when she realized the inherent limitations of remaining at a white-owned radio station, WYCB. Though she had faced thirty-two rejections before a bank granted her husband and her a loan, she persevered and redefined the game by creating Radio One, the largest radio broadcasting company targeting African American and urban listeners.

And perhaps the most stunning “Black Faces in White Places” moment of our time: Barack Obama making the bold decision to run for the presidency of the United States when many, including prominent Civil Rights leaders, said America wasn’t ready. But not only did he win the Democratic nomination, he redefined the game by becoming the first African-American president of the United States in the face of millions of naysayers—a Black man in the White House.

What all these people have in common is that they learned the game, played the game, mastered the game, and, at that “Black Faces in White Places” moment, found themselves in a position to redefine the game.

So how did Randal perform in his moment? Read on . . .

w   w   w

Randal: Mr. Trump, Mr. Trump, Mr. Trump. I firmly believe that this is The Apprentice—that there is one and only one Apprentice, and if you’re going to hire someone tonight it should be one.

Trump: Okay.

Randal: It’s not “The Apprenti”!

Trump: Okay.

Randal: It’s “The Apprentice.”

Trump: All right, I’m going to leave it at that, then. I think I could have been convinced, but if you feel that’s the way it should be.

Randal: I think that’s the way it should be.

Trump: I’m going to leave it that way, then. Congratulations.

Randal earned the right to be named the soleApprentice and refused to be one of two apprentices. (The plural form is, of course, “apprentices,” not “apprenti”—but, hey, it made for a great one-liner!) He asserted himself and did not allow the rules of the game to change at the last minute. In front of millions of Americans, in his own modest way, he redefined the game. And Trump never asked that question of any winner on The Apprentice again.

But you don’t have to be a college basketball player, a world-class Olympic athlete, a radio titan, a presidential candidate, or a reality TV star to have such a moment. Many others have overcome their moments, too. This book is designed to help you transcend your own “Black Faces in White Places” moments, redefine the game, and make it easier for the next generation to do the same.

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Table of Contents

Foreword

Acknowledgments

Introduction 1

Not Getting Trumped: Randal's Nationally Televised "Black Faces in White Places" Moment 1

The Four Dimensions of Black Faces in White Places 9

A Roadmap for Redefining the Game and Reshaping America 14

The 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness 16

PART I LEARNING THE GAME 21

America's Story: The United States and Race 21

Learning What the Game Is All About 23

Strategy 1 Establish a Strong Identity and Purpose 28

Identity 29

Purpose 35

Identity and Purpose for African Americans 37

Self-Determination: Your Identity as an Asset and Your Purpose as a Source of Power 45

The Interdependence of Strategies 1 and 2 47

Strategy 2 Obtain Broad Exposure 48

Your Comfort Zone and Growth Zone 50

Why Moving Beyond Your Comfort Zone Is Important 51

Pursuing Broad Exposure and Diverse Experiences 54

Looking Back, Looking Ahead 56

Strategy 3 Demonstrate Excellence 58

One Playing Field, Two Sets of Rules 60

Defining Excellence 62

Why You Must Be Excellent 79

Game-Changing Strategies for Demonstrating Excellence 80

From Independence to Interdependence 86

PART II PLAYING THE GAME 87

Three Trends in a More Interconnected World 87

Relationship Building: The Power of Connectedness 89

Playing the Game: Relationships, Relationships, Relationships 91

Strategy 4 Build Diverse and Solid Relationships 92

Personal Diversity 93

Relationship Building 96

Three Compelling Ideas about Relationships 98

The Strength of Weak Ties 99

Bridging Network Gaps 102

Game-Changing Strategies for Networking and Relationship Building 107

Strategy 5 Seek the Wisdom of Others 110

What Is Wisdom? 110

The Five Tenets of Seeking Wisdom 112

Developmental Relationships 114

Mentors and Proteges 117

Game-Changing Strategies for Mentors and Proteges 121

Strategy 6 Find Strength in Numbers 126

The Power of Strength in Numbers: Don Imus Gets Taken Down 126

Group Relationships 131

Strength in Smaller Numbers: Inner Circles, Teams, and Partnerships 134

Strength in Smaller Numbers Leads to Strength in Larger Numbers 143

Strength in Larger Numbers: Organizations 144

Game-Changing Strategies for Organizational Involvement 150

Strength in Numbers Sets the Stage 155

PART III MASTERING THE GAME 157

The Entrepreneurial Mindset 157

Intrapreneurship and Entrepreneurship 158

Five Ways to Master the Game 161

A Two-Pronged Approach for Redefining the Game 163

Strategy 7 Think and Act Intrapreneurially 165

African-American Intrapreneurship 166

Game-Changing Strategies for Intrapreneurship 168

Social Intrapreneurship and Community Investment as a Competitive Advantage 178

The Cycle Continues 182

Strategy 8 Think and Act Entrepreneurially 183

African-American Wealth Creation 185

Applying the Entrepreneurial Mindset 191

Game-Changing Strategies for Entrepreneurship for a Profit 194

Social Entrepreneurship 200

Game-Changing Strategies for Entrepreneurship for a Purpose 203

Institution Building 210

PART IV REDEFINING THE GAME 213

Prerequisites to Redefining the Game 213

What We Mean by "Redefining the Game" 215

Changing the Game vs. Redefining the Game 216

Strategy 9 Synergize and Reach Scale 219

Creating Synergy 219

Reaching Scale and Expanding Scope 222

Profiles of Synergy, Scale, and Scope 224

The Critical Importance of Synergy and Scale to African Americans 228

Strategy 10 Give Back Generously 233

Leaving a Positive Legacy 234

America's Shape and Reshaping America 239

The African-American Tradition of Giving 240

The Four Foundations of Giving 244

Strategy 10 to Strategy 1: Identity and Purpose Revisited 249

Final Quotations and Final Questions on Giving Back 251

What Does Redefining the Game and Reshaping America Mean to You? 251

Epilogue: Is Success the Standard or Is Greatness the Goal? 253

Success vs. Greatness 254

Notes 259

Index 261

About the Authors 267

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First Chapter

Black Faces in White Places

10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness
By RANDAL PINKETT JEFFREY ROBINSON PHILANA PATTERSON

AMACOM

Copyright © 2011 Randal Pinkett and Jeffrey Robinson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8144-1680-8


Chapter One

Establish a Strong Identity and Purpose

Thank you [God] for allowing me to see myself the way you see me.

—Kirk Franklin, "Imagine Me"

IDENTITY IS NOT particular to African Americans, but it can present some unique challenges. Everyone asks themselves certain general questions: What are my values? What principles do I stand for? What are the beliefs I hold near and dear? However, for African Americans, having specific answers to these questions is of paramount importance, especially when you inevitably find yourself in environments that challenge or attempt to define you based on racial stereotypes, baseless assumptions, or ignorance. Establishing a strong identity can be the difference between thinking that people who look like you can succeed at anything and knowing it to be the case.

Learn more about us by visiting our websites: www.randalpinkett.com and www.jeffreyrobinsonphd.com. You can also subscribe to Randal's e-newsletter, "Elevate Your Game."

You may be a Black youth growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood, which was Randal's experience. Or you may be a recent graduate from a historically Black college or university experiencing your first foray into corporate America. Or you may be the sole person of color in a company or a city that lacks diversity. In each scenario, as you become more attuned with your identity, you fortify your ability to stay true to who you are in any situation, and you prepare yourself to effectively deal with any circumstance that challenges your core being.

Identity

As the first dimension of Black faces in white places, identity is a complex subject. But we believe it is an important and appropriate topic to confront early on because establishing a strong identity is a vital component of the foundation on which you can build careers and businesses and undertake other activities that will transform your life and the lives of others. It is also an important consideration for parents raising children in a race-conscious society.

To do this the right way, we'll need to start by defining a few things up-front.

Your identity is comprised of all those things that make you, well, you. Identity represents all of the characteristics for which you can say, "I am . . ." When we talk about identity we are actually talking about three aspects of the same idea, as shown in Figure 1–2:

* Personal identity (how you define yourself)

* Social identity (how you define yourself in relation to society)

* Identity negotiation (the interaction between your personal identity and social identity)

Society may seek to define certain people as African American based on their physical characteristics (social identity). However, those same individuals may not define themselves as African American. By contrast, there are people who do not look Black (that is, they could "pass" for white) who still define themselves as African Americans (personal identity). The process of working through all of these considerations is the negotiation of identity.

PERSONAL IDENTITY

Personal identity represents the myriad things that make you unique. It embodies characteristics such as gender, height, weight, physical ability, and race. The formation of personal identity happens early in our lives, and parents play an important role. They tell us if we are a boy or a girl. Parents teach us language and are the first to tell us about our relationship to the world and to each other. These are defining moments that paint a picture of who we are.

For African Americans, you can't underestimate the role of parents in the process of forming a positive racial identity early on. The Pinketts were among a small number of Black parents living in the mostly white and Jewish town of East Windsor, New Jersey, who decided not to leave the development of their children's racial identity to chance. They helped form a group called "Our Kids" that provided opportunities for their children to interact with other Black children through trips to museums and amusement parks and homegrown cultural events like Black History Month programs, where the children starred in short plays. Sometimes the activity was as simple as just getting together at someone's house to have a meal and hang out.

The importance of their identity as Black people was further reinforced in the children through a Kwanzaa celebration. Between Christmas and New Year's, the family lit red, black, and green candles in a Kinara, with each candlestick representing one of seven principles (more on that later). Under the glow of the candlelight the family said out loud what each of those principles meant to them. It is these kinds of experiences—no matter where you live—that can help reinforce a positive self-image.

Of course, there are things that we learn on our own as well. We learn that we are tall or short by comparing ourselves to others. We observe that some students are better at math while we may be better at science. We learn that we are faster or more athletic than other children our age. Both of us learned we had athletic ability, for example—Randal while pursuing several competitive sports from junior high school through college, and J.R. (Jeffrey Robinson) while playing basketball in a competitive league through church.

What we learn about identity on our own is heavily shaped by communities, schools, friends, and extended family members. These influences—for better or for worse—are beyond our parents' control. Parental influence diminishes as we reach adolescence and the influence of peers becomes one of the most significant influences on personal identity, either serving to support a strong sense of who you are or making you question your identity.

SOCIAL IDENTITY

Your social identity defines how you view yourself in relation to other people. As you gain greater awareness of self, you are able to further define and position your identity within the context of the broader society. For example, it is intuitively obvious that you speak a language. But it is not until you hear someone speak another language that you begin to define yourself as English-speaking.

Another way to consider social identity is to realize that we each have multiple social identities. Social identity includes, but is not limited to:

* Cultural identity (membership in a cultural group)

* Gender identity (the gender with which a person identifies)

* National identity (membership in a nation)

* Spiritual or religious identity (belief in a faith)

* Professional identity (career affiliation)

These broad categorizations, whether deliberate or not, help us decide with whom and where we spend our time and how we think of ourselves. What makes groupings distinct is that "members" of groups typically share certain characteristics, norms, and values.

During our years as engineering students, our identities as academically talented, responsible African-American students were supported and celebrated at Rutgers where we joined the chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). NSBE cultivated a culture that promoted students working together. They'd say hey, we're doing study halls Tuesday night; you all need to meet there and start working on that physics exam because it's coming. We'd work on problems from old exams so that we'd be able to handle the ones we'd encounter on our test the next week.

NSBE believed in recognizing academic performance. Through the first semester we both got "shout outs" for strong performance on our exams. At the beginning of the second semester members were asked to voluntarily share how the previous semester went. Randal stood and said, "I got a 3.9 (GPA). I got an A in almost all my classes." and then sat down. The decision to share came with a great deal of trepidation because he did not know if being academically excellent was going to make him more or less popular. Was he going to get stigmatized or stereotyped as an academic nerd, as a loser, as a geek?

Well, it didn't end up being a problem—in fact, the opposite happened. Randal became a campus celebrity, or at least in Black engineering circles. People whispered on campus, "That's the guy that got the 3.9." or "Did you hear about the Black guy who got straight A's in engineering—him right there."

Black students started to congregate around him. People wanted to study with him. They wanted to come to his dorm. The public nature of his academic performance allowed him to be accepted. It was academics, ironically, that became a conduit for his social connections.

The affirming connections we made through our association with NSBE are just one of many examples of the groups that have helped shape our social identities over the years. We are members of, or are affiliated with, many different kinds of groups, including racial and ethnic, religious, educational, and geographic communities. For example, we are both African-American men, Christian, alumni of Rutgers University, and were raised in New Jersey.

Identifying with a particular culture or nationality, for instance, likely means that you subscribe to the norms, customs, and/or values of that group. At the same time, it also suggests that in identifying with that group you are also helping to shape its ever-evolving norms, customs, and values. In other words, if being African American is part of how you construct your identity, then you not only reflect African-American culture, you also influence African-American culture.

Did our academic performance help encourage a culture of striving for excellence among Black engineering students at Rutgers? We certainly hope so.

IDENTITY NEGOTIATION

There is an interaction between your personal identity and your social identity. They can reinforce one another or they can be in conflict. This negotiation takes place during our formative years, but it also takes place every time we find ourselves having a "Black Faces in White Places" moment.

For example, if you believe you are intelligent and those around you believe you are intelligent, then your identity of being intelligent is reinforced.

But what if you believe you are intelligent, but others tell you that there is no possible way that you are intelligent because people who look like you are not intelligent? This conflict poses a challenge to your identity. Do you really believe you are intelligent, or do you believe what others have said about you or people who look like you?

The negotiation of identity is the reconciliation of how you define yourself in relation to society. You must take into consideration how society may seek to define you. Accordingly, there are several "social identifiers" or discernable characteristics by which society can seek to define people. The "Big 9" social identifiers are: race, class, gender, sexual orientation, physical/ psychological ability, ethnicity, language, age, and religion.

These characteristics are the markers of human difference through which power and privilege have been differentially distributed and prejudice may accrue. Each dimension meters power and privilege in the dominant culture of America. To the extent that an individual is or is perceived to be white, wealthy, male, heterosexual, able-bodied and rational, European-American, English-speaking, young (or in the "prime" of one's life), and Christian, that individual has unearned advantages of which he or she may well remain unconscious.

So it stands to reason that individuals who deviate from these norms have, in effect, unearned disadvantages of which they may or may not be aware. While a person who embodies the characteristics associated with privilege may enjoy easy success in some areas, a person who does not embody these characteristics likely faces a harder road.

Redefining the game and reshaping America is fundamentally about moving toward a society where advantage and disadvantage are independent of identifiers. But to ignore or deny the gross and subtle effects of these identifiers and the role they play in generating and prolonging inequality, is to ignore or deny the very dynamics that underlie our society.

The reality for Black people is that race and ethnicity continue to be among the most salient of these social identifiers in twenty-first-century America. Consequently, while it is important that we establish a strong identity, it is of paramount importance that we establish a strong racial and ethnic identity. Our race and ethnicity must engender a sense of genuine pride.

The navigation and negotiation of identity that takes place in the lives of African Americans can carry a unique set of considerations. Among them is a fundamental decision about how your identity interacts with society. Will you completely assimilate—adopt the values of popular American culture—or will you negotiate—challenge these norms and leverage your AfricanAmerican identity in engaging others?

Perhaps one of the best descriptions of the complexity of Black identity in America comes from activist and author W.E.B. DuBois in his classic work, The Souls of Black Folk. DuBois describes African Americans as possessing two "warring souls," one African and one American, a sort of "double consciousness" or a "veil." DuBois writes:

It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.

A strong identity finds harmony between these two perspectives. And while this identity may be informed by your history, it is not defined by your history. We must comfortably embrace our history as both descendants of Africans and residents of America. But we must also acknowledge that while America has come a long way in its perception and treatment of people of color, it still has a long way to go.

Purpose

Purpose is the remaining pillar of the first strategy for redefining the game and reshaping America. Your purpose is your reason for being. Purpose answers the question, "Why do I exist?" It explains your existence. It sheds light on what you are living for. It helps define your destiny. And there are a few considerations that can shape how you conceptualize and ultimately come to define your purpose.

* You were made to serve multiple purposes. Your purpose could be to serve as a loving and responsible parent; to uplift and inspire others through music as a composer; and to mentor young people in your neighborhood. You are not confined to one purpose and, in fact, you may serve different purposes at different points in your life. For example, if you are diagnosed with sickle cell disease, you may dedicate your life thereafter to increasing awareness of how others can live the healthiest life possible with the condition. Life's circumstances, including tragedies, may change or redefine your purpose.

* You have an individual purpose and one that is shared with others. Part of your purpose is particular to you, while in some instances it is intertwined with other individuals. For example, your individual purpose may be to serve as an advocate for quality education in urban schools, while your shared purpose may be to work with others to establish a charter school in an underserved community. We (the authors) have long believed that we have a shared purpose. Throughout this book you will learn about some of the products of our collective purpose, such as the businesses we have co-founded and the ways we have touched people's lives together. In fact, this book is one of those products!

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Black Faces in White Places by RANDAL PINKETT JEFFREY ROBINSON PHILANA PATTERSON Copyright © 2011 by Randal Pinkett and Jeffrey Robinson. Excerpted by permission of AMACOM. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Check out new millennium strategies for people of color in Corporate America! A MUST read!

    In a world where everything is neat, pristine and without blemish it's the perfect type of environment to feel that a favorable existence would be most desirable. It would be par for the course not to assume that the races are not bonding and getting along the way God intended in such a scenario. All of the aforementioned is fine and perfect, and the way it should be...but if you are a person of color you would not believe any of this is possible now, and surely you have no reason to believe it wouldn't be attainable in the foreseeable future if change wasn't eminent. As an African American you may have done all you can feeling that you are ready for the world, ready to ascend corporate American and show her what you can do and what you're made of...you're credentialed and well-learned; and you feel that you've arrived -- been there, done it and certainly ready to prove that you belong. Alas, along the way to reality there's a few obstacles in your way. In your mind you would know that strategies and a viable plan would definitely be needed because things just haven't gone right with you stumbling every now and then and feeling that it's no fault of your own. Or is it? "Why am I not looked upon with the same accolades as my white counterparts, some whom I consider peers, even", you may say. Sure, you've put yourself in these shoes because they are real and it may have already happened to you. And you also ask yourself, "what can be done to turn the tide...how can we stay in place without having to prove that we can hang with whomever has been deemed the ones we should emulate"? Now comes authors Randal Pinkett and Jeffrey Robinson who has answers and devised how the game should be played, and how you can stay in place and THRIVE! Their new book, Black Faces in White Places not only has a plan of action, but it comes intact with ten game changing strategic gems to achieve long-lasting success where greatness isn't a second thought to destiny.

    This is no ordinary 'how to' book with rudimentary precepts that cannot be used with a sense of continuity. Black Faces in White Places is a mindset written and designed for Black folk to change the game and score repeatedly. I feel that there's greatness in all that apply and are able to persevere against all odds. The ten strategies are well-placed and thought-provoking to elicit challenges and changes. The book is divided into four parts with each strategy interspersed in subcategories with its own topical subjects. The authors' voices are vociferous with all of the analogies and objectives loud enough as if to jump off the pages to keep you rooted to the cause.

    reading this outstanding book gave me hope that there's a method to the madness, and ways to build beneficial relations and powerful networks. In closing, social responsibility is ours to exact ways to diffuse inferiority complexes that we have allowed ourselves to operate from. For sure, Black Faces in White Places is a 'must read' tome for us to redefine the rules, narrow gaps (real or imagined), and to master the inherent 10 strategies to navigate the authors' roadmap to respectability. I'm more than ready, what about you? Buy this book , do an about face and create your own space in the place!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 5, 2012

    I really found this book to be informant and enlightening. While

    I really found this book to be informant and enlightening. While I often am told that the key to success is building the right relationships, the authors were put into more context for me. When I was asked by fellow co-workers why I was reading it, I was able to clearly say because if I don't strive to be successfully from those who are successfully, then how can I help those at the bottom. The strategies were brought to real life experiences and the authors not only provided great information, its a book that can be used as a reference. Definitely a good read for everyone, especially minorities:-)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2012

    Nope

    Lol

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