Nonfiction Societal The Word 3 minute read



There is no doubt that we Black folks don’t get much shine in mainstream society.  Sadly, we are rarely named to leadership positions, despite the fact that we are often qualified or over-qualified.  It unfair and it sucks.

It is understandable that we crave the power and recognition that comes with being the boss.  Who wouldn’t?

BUT, we must stop being assholes when we get into a position of “power” within our own Black organizations.  I’m serious.  I have seen 70-year-old, great grandmothers become as evil as a mob boss when they become the head of the usher board at church.  Some of the stories my aunts have told me about what has gone down in the choir room would make even Black Jesus blush.


I’m now in a couple of social clubs to which I pay substantial annual membership dues.  Notwithstanding this significant investment, I have sometimes received terse emails from the organizational “leadership” that I frankly wouldn’t accept from clients who pay me.

What is striking is that I know that these women know better because we are all professionals.  I also know that none of us would talk to others at work this way (or we wouldn’t remain gainfully employed for long if we did).  So why — when we are among our sisters and brothers working to do good – do we act the worse?


Now I understand that family will fight, but family shouldn’t abuse.  Don’t use your power just because you have it.  Remember, a few very important guidelines:

  • At the end of the day, it’s just a club—a club. No one is getting paid. Everybody is a volunteer (or, in many instances, they are even paying to participate).
  • There is no tenure. Your term is temporary.  Don’t create enemies
  • Leaders make people want to follow them. They can’t just make people follow them.
  • Your Napoleanic complex makes you look a bit pitiful—like the organization is more important in your life than it should be
  • Truly powerful people don’t trip over minutiae because they are comfortable in their skin and don’t need to prove anything. I have spent time with a president of a Fortune 20 company, Governors, Judges, Ambassadors, Senators, millionaires, and . . . . leaders of Black social clubs and organizations.  Hands down—who has given the most attitude and expected the most deferential treatment?  Can you guess?  I’m just sayin’ . . .

Our organizations should not be the places where we feel the most victimized.  Let’s allow love and friendship to lead and check our egos at the door.

My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more


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