Good stuff ~ the "conversation" has begun around the piece I wrote this week for Bloomberg Businessweek, entitled IF BILL GATES WAS BLACK. See the full comment stream, as well as my response to some of the more (and even less - smile) thoughtful commenters here.
I knew when I wrote the piece that it was going to be a very different, and maybe even a very controversial piece for me to write. That's fine with me. But I also would like for it to become an important start of a new national dialogue around the very real future of Black America itself. Black America on reset in a reset world.
Mind you, I am not saying in a piece that a friend yesterday called "radical," that I have the answer to all of our problems. Nor am I criticizing (Black people, nor white people for that matter). I am certainly not criticizing our President, if that was on anyone's mind. I actually commend our President for giving us this Black political leadership role model, at the highest level of government. A public sector role model experience that is nothing short of transformation for those who are paying attention and following his lead.
Criticism is not an answer, and 100% of what I seek now are real answers to our problems. And this is precisely why I wrote an article posed almost like a question ~ IF BILL GATES WAS BLACK...
I wanted to ignite a dialogue, and maybe even a debate, that respectfully, we just are not having right now in any meaningful way in the Black community.
How do we get out of the mess we are in (and for good), and get on with building a sustainable storyline for our people? One that has true staying power.
Whatever that answer, the one thing I do know is that it must include a powerful, sustainable and growing agenda for jobs, and we all know (or at least we should) that the overwhelming majority of "jobs" come from the private sector, not government.
And get this; even good (and necessary) government jobs, are actually only possible because you and me pay our taxes. Mostly once again, as a result of private sector jobs. Individuals and responsible companies that employ 100 million plus Americans.
Fact: 91% of all jobs in America come from private enterprise, with 8% of all jobs coming from government.
Fact: 99% of all employing organizations are small businesses, and more than 53% of all jobs actually come from small business. And this is actually an opportunity for the Black and Brown community, as we can more easily impact job creation in our own local communities. Being Bill Gates can also be a mentality.
Join the debate, comment on the article (preferably within Bloomberg Businessweek), and let me know what your vision is for the Black (and Brown) community in America. I am all ears. Answers, are what I seek.
Okay, let's go...
John Hope Bryant is a thought leader, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass) the only African-American bestselling business author in America, and is chairman of the Subcommittee for the Under-Served and Community Empowerment for the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability, for President Barack Obama. Mr. Bryant is the co-founder of the Gallup-HOPE Index, the only national research poll on youth financial dignity and youth economic energy in the U.S. He is also a co-founder of Global Dignity with HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Professor Pekka Himanen of Finland. Global Dignity is affiliated with the Forum of Young Global Leaders and the World Economic Forum.