Ace's View

Dedicated to minority issues, topics and everything in between

Archive for April 2014

Wake Up. Now.

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I took a hiatus from writing in here for a myriad of reasons, the main of which I’ll get to towards the end of this piece.

But one thing that I missed greatly was reading the different opinions that came across my page; whether in the comments section here or on my Facebook statuses (and, by default, the statuses of others, since I’m pretty active in responding to things that interest me)–the debates and discussions that are had are usually nothing short of awesome.  

One of my favorite Jay-Z lines from one of the worst Jay-Z songs (“Change Clothes”) goes “but, if I write/I use the space to say whatever I like.” 

And so it goes on social media.  

Which is why the stories that have come across my newsfeed in the last few weeks have consisted mainly of the following:

a) My fraternity brothers doing great things all across the country and the world, which make me immensely proud.  More on that later in this writing, too;

b) Ridiculous and copious amounts of racism.  And not just covert racism.  Between the Bundy saga (which, as someone so eloquently put it, let a black man say that he’s not paying any taxes to the government and then takes up arms against them AND calls in his friends, he’d be dead before he could say “freedom” 0_o) and Donald Sterling’s longing for the days when darkies knew their place, there’s no running out of this, either.

c) Finally, the newest trend in multi-level marketing called “Wake Up Now”.  And I’m probably about to hurt some feelings with this one while making my point about this.  

Somehow, I feel like this all ties together.

I’ll explain.

See, a couple months ago, I wrote about my frustration that my fraternity, with the exception of a few that were featured, had no interest in promoting themselves to the masses.  Instead, they would be willing to just settle for the same ol’ same ol’, and be perfectly content with just sitting back and watching other organizations gain repute for the exact same ideas we’ve either done or are still sitting on the drawing board.

What good is 20,000 plus college-educated men going to do if people don’t see us regularly and noticeably?  We are Iotas, not the Foot Clan.

My point was that we can’t expect others to promote us if we’re unwilling to promote ourselves.

With the recent upswing in blatant racism in American society (we’ve known it was there, but some people are really pulling the sheets off of it lately), I’ve seen a lot of people come forward to speak out against it.  Minorities are mobilizing in ways that I never imagined possible, partially thanks to social media, and people appear to be being held accountable at much quicker rates than in years past.

But (and of course there’s a but)–I’ve also seen a great deal of people who are quick to defend their oppressors and people who do not have their best interest at heart.  Just because it is, again, comfortable.  They have no interest in rocking the boat or creating waves; they would rather ride in the bottom of the ship as long as the ride is smooth and they have something.

I won’t go into all the examples here, but I’m sure you’ll find plenty just looking in your feeds on any controversial issue involving race.  There always appears to be a chorus of voices who are quick to deflect attention from the actual subject at hand to discuss an alternate topic.  Why are we talking about Donald Sterling when we can discuss why Michael Jordan avoids talking about racial controversies?  Why discuss why black dollars don’t circulate among the black community nearly as easily as within other cultures (the disparity is amazing), when we can discuss why black kids are killing black kids in Chicago?

Let’s not talk about the issue at hand, let’s talk about something else.  It’s more comfortable to take that on right now.

As one of my more outspoken colleagues aptly noted yesterday during one of these discussions that was derailed by such talk, divergence doesn’t work.  For most of us who are focused on the actual issues at hand, it only serves to frustrate us.

Finally, I’ll be blunt: multi-level marketing at its core is designed to make sure that the people at the top stay rich while the entry level people have to do all of the footwork to make sure the pyramid does not collapse.  It’s not any different than a major corporation, with the exception that when you’re working for a major corporation, you’re at least guaranteed a check if you show up and work.

Also, please be wary of things that tell you that it’ll cost you nothing to get started; if it was that simple, we’d all do it and quit our day jobs.  It’s not that cut and dried.

There is no easy path to money.  There are no shortcuts to riches.  I hate to break it to you, but you can bookmark this page and a year or so from now, come back, print it out and use it to wipe your tears of sadness from wondering why your stint as an IBO didn’t work for you.  

No, not everyone is destined to fail at this.  But most of you will.  It’s the nature of that kind of business structure.  

It’s the nature of American business.

I tie these together today because the first two things go hand in hand to me.  My fraternity is a big part of who I am.  My race and culture is a big part of who I am.  And if I can do something to promote them both, while uplifiting, educating, and informing others, that’s just what I’m going to do.

The third is here because it illustrates perfectly what I see my people get caught in too often; thinking that the road to where we want to be is going to be easy because it comes with a smooth marketing pitch combined with a little bit of smoke and mirrors.

(I’ve gotta say this.  Please, please, someone show me where ANY celebrity has openly endorsed this and wasn’t being sarcastic or facetious.  They’re not with this and you know it deep down; it just helps the marketing to say they’ve mentioned it.  If you can show me I’ll delete this entire paragraph and issue a retraction.  And by celebrity, I mean currently relevant, not “C” list or below.)

So starting tomorrow, the features in the “50 Iota Men and Sweethearts You Should Know” continue.  And there are some good ones to come, folks.  

There will also be an initiative launched June 1st that I’m pretty excited about.  I can’t wait to see what comes of it.  But know that the goal will be using my God-given talents to do all of the things I mentioned above.  Promoting.  Uplifting.  Educating.  Informing.  So watch this space.

In the meantime, please know that there is nothing more that I want for people than to Wake Up. Now. and realize that the world that we live in, as much as it has changed, is still the same.  History repeats itself, and if we aren’t paying attention to the trends that follow, we’re bound to stay in the same cycle we’ve been in.

Don’t know about you, but I refuse to stay there.

Join me, won’t you?

More tomorrow.