Thursday, March 25, 2010


An Excerpt: Attitude and Business

Chapter 10-
Only recently are some of our leaders beginning to assert the importance of maintaining a positive attitude.
In his book "Racism or Attitude"?, James L. Robinson, Ph.D. drives the point home:

What is the difference between an overachieving racial group like Asian-Americans and underachievers like members of the black underclass? The difference is attitudes: attitudes about life, attitudes about values and success, and most importantly attitudes about self. Attitudes explain why some blacks are successful and others are not, even though they grew up in the same neighborhoods. Attitude determines behavior, and behavior determines success or failure.[1]

We should also consider changing our attitude towards America. Understandably, because of past experiences, our attitude in terms of positive race relations or our general attitude about our ability to succeed in this country has been more negative than that of others. This is extremely critical. The very purpose of past intimidation, verbal assaults and racial stereotyping was to undermine our confidence. That very element- confidence - is what inspires a group of people to set up business organizations, form partnerships and establish other commercial associations. It is a confidence not only in oneself but also in others. It is a mutual confidence. When this is taken away it becomes impossible to do business. If we allow past discrimination to affect the confidence in ourselves and in those presently around us, we simply surrender our economic future in this country.

Business is built on optimism. The greatest entrepreneurs have, of course, been optimists. The power of their confidence in the future gave them vision; and that vision urged them to take risks the average individual would avoid. The result was success far beyond their expectations. If our people continue to harbor an attitude of distrust and hostility toward each other and the outside world, our fate is already sealed.

Again, this is not to say that there aren’t many positive minded optimistic African Americans doing business or ready to enter the field of business, the point is that we have to acknowledge that these negative attitudes do exist and affect the way all of us do business. Our attitudes about ourselves as a whole and attitudes toward business in general do reflect a character that our people share across the United States. Once this is acknowledged we can begin to shape a more positive, productive business outlook for ourselves.

[1] James L. Robinson, Ph.D., Racism or Attitude?, p. 204, Insight Books New York and London, (1995).