While most people who have not lived in the Black Community are not aware of how we SERVE one another they may be mislead by what they've heard on CNN as it relates to the recent interview with Donald Sterling. But I would like to add my voice to Spike Lee's and Michael Jordan's.
While I can't speak for all Black Americans in business I can say that the methods I learned about Serving people in our Community and SERVING Customers actually was handed down to me by my blind Great Grandmother Mahalia Thomas whose Father was a slave. What she taught me was really quite remarkable. For someone who had no formal education at all just a long life of contributing to the black community. I remember her telling me often saying that we have an obligation to help all people in our community regardless of their color, race, gender or religion. She also taught me that all success has a far reaching impact not only into your community but even far beyond the next generation. For someone who had a life of ignorance forced upon her through the American legal system she was quite clear that the impact was much Greater than the material benefits it brings you alone.
With what my Great Grandmother taught me I am honored to say that the multiple community awards I have won (American Red Cross Hometown Hero "Educator" Award and the "Acres of Diamonds" Lifetime Achievement Award by Nightingale Conant) are all a reflection that was anchored deep into my heart because of the Black American History given to me by Mahalia Thomas. But I've also won the highest Awards in the nation as a Customer Passion Evangelist for the companies I've worked for and this is because Serving was handed down to me as a tradition of the Black American experience. We not only believe in helping those in our community but we believe in helping All Cultures. We not only believe that it is our obligation to give back to our community but we believe it is our responsibility to give back to the world.
Here's an example of the kinds of things we do in the black community. Last weekend I traveled out of town just to attend a College graduation by a young man I started mentoring in 2002 named Cody Jeralds. I left a well paying job in Corporate America as a leading Security Consultant for ADT and a Speaking Career. I even left my home just so I could go and live with this young man over seeing him as a father figure, houseparent and teacher when he was just in the fifth grade. I not only sacrificed an opportunity to make hundreds of thousands of dollars but I put on hold all of my desires to continue a very lucrative future as a successful speaker & trainer and for the next 12 years of his life I poured a lot of my time and energy into his. Over the 12 year period I've mentored over 1,131 children for a minimum wage life style just so I could see him walk across the stage of NIU (Northern Illinois University) and receive his degree in Business. Now that's what we do in the Black community...in a world where we often have to hear people spout off all kinds of negative things about the Black culture. I can tell you it get's old quick. Might I also mention that during that time period I cared for Cody just like he was one of my sons and he'll tell you the same. I really don't need to mention that Cody was white but a third of the children I mentored are white...the other third are hispanic & asian and the other third are black. Personally none of that makes a difference but it is important that you understand this so that you can see the story more accurately...the part that reflects that a black man leaves everything to mentor children not only from the black community but from all communities. Finally allow me to also say that I was raised that all people are my community and that this notion of community far transcends race.
So it appears that SERVING people in our Community is a strong part of our tradition in the Black culture. We not only believe in helping people in our community but we are firm believers in helping all people in our community. Martin Luther King, Oprah Winfrey, and Michael Jordan, and Lebron James are all living proof that when Black American's have an opportunity to make a difference in their community (like all normal people from all other cultures do) we not only help Black people we also help people of other cultures too!
If you just examine what Martin Luther King did you can easily see how many other cultures benefited from what he did. Not only have people outside of the Black Community benefited but genders, ethnicities, religions and even countries have benefited from what Martin Luther King did. Unfortunately in Donald Sterling's Interview with Anderson Cooper he mis-referenced Magic Johnson as someone who has not done anything to help the Black community but that is far from the truth. Just GOOGLE Magic Johnson's Foundation and you'll see what I mean.
I stand in agreement with Magic on the fact that we have to forgive Donald Sterling and I'll go one step further...we also have to Love him...that's what Martin Luther King would have did.