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.

8 Responses

  1. Thanks for the blog….another thought provoking message…

    I will check my relationships to make sure I’m not a blacktaitor and more sensitive to those that mean a lot to me.

  2. I have said this so many times its ridiculous. I was just talking about this the other day with someone. This is why I try to be selective in my time, because I could not believe the behavior of my club members! I took a step back and wondered for WHAT was I paying? You could not have expressed this better, and I swear we had to be sisters in a previous life? Had to be.

    On another note, I just signed up for your blog, I am so pleased and proud that I did. You are even MORE phenomenal than I thought. You say the things that others thing but too afraid to say out of fear of being rejected. Keep it up my sister.

  3. Let me be clear, I love our organizations. They are necessary. The majority of the people are incredibly loving and participate for the right purpose. But there are those who take the focus way from the organization & the membership and place it on to themselves.

  4. This was good and needed to be said. I was completely taken aback by some of the behavior I witnessed in an organization I am part of. Never one to be quiet long, I ran for a leadership role and was elected. Things did get better but there is still the occasional person who wants to take it “there”. Thanks for putting it in to words.

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About Randi B.

Randi is a diversity and inclusion strategist, speaker, trainer and writer, focusing on making connections and cultivating empathy in this diverse world one trip, speech, article, book and conversation at a time.

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