Black Lives Matter? - Kendrick Shope
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Black Lives Matter?

I’ve been in work-a-holic mode recently. It’s “Sales School Season” and my favorite time of my business year.

Head down.
Nose to the grindstone.
Whatever it takes.

Not the formula for a balanced life but that’s reality in July around here.

I heard mention of the Jesse Williams, BET speech and “Black Lives Matter” but had no clue what it was about. I didn’t desire to pull myself away from chasing my dream to learn more about it.

My belief was that we fueled hate by giving it a voice and segregating this issue into only a black one. I believed one of the best ways to end racism was to stop talking about it

I mean, of course, black lives matter..all lives matter.

Do we really need to call attention to the fact that “black” lives matter?

Ninety minutes ago, I was reading the news and was horrified to learn all that is going on in the country I love so dearly. I was saddened to learn of the hate going on in Dallas where snipers are killing police officers, and law enforcement are killing citizens.

I’m embarrassed that I’ve been lost in my world and was unaware of the shootings in Minnesota or Louisana until I learned of the above standoff.

It’s now 3:23 am, and I find myself awake and disturbed by the videoes of these two gut-wrenching events.

My thoughts turn to children, and the realization that everyone who died in Texas, Louisiana, and Minnesota, was someone’s baby.

One of the most precious moments when raising Halianna was when we discovered that kids don’t see skin color, they simply see people.

As Halianna entered preschool she never described her new friends by skin color; it never occurred to her. That’s not because we are amazing parents, it’s because that is the way we are born.

It’s simply beautiful to watch the world through a child’s eyes and see only love, wonder, and new friends. I remember telling my husband, “I want to protect her from learning how ugly and ignorant people can be. I don’t ever want her to see skin color, only people”.  Until now, I believed the way we beat evil is not to teach it or give it a voice.

As lovely as that sounds, I now understand that hope for my daughter is a fairy tale and only keeps her sheltered from the world in which we live.

A dear friend, Curtis, once shared with me stories of growing up in downtown Chicago and the racism he saw and experienced as a black human being. I was dumbfounded. This past year, as I watched Straight Outta Compton, what Curtis described to me, came to life on the screen as I looked at the scene where white law enforcement officers mistreat Dre, Cube, and NWA simply because they could. Even still tonight, as I’m writing this I want to know the numbers, the real data behind this nasty thing called racism.

All of the below data is quoted from a  2015 “US News And World Report”.

  • “According to the Department of Education, K-12, black children are three times more likely to be suspended than white children.
  • According to the American Press Association, black children, are 18 times more likely to be sentenced as adults than white children.
  • Black college graduates are twice as likely as whites to struggle to find jobs.
  • A study even found that people with “black-sounding names” had to send out 50 percent more job applications than people with “white-sounding names” just to get a callback.
  • The median net worth of white families is about $265,000, while it was just $28,500 for blacks.
  • In New York City, blacks and Hispanics were three and four times as likely to be stopped and frisked as whites while driving”.

And there you have it. The numbers don’t lie. I regret that I was so hopeful for our country that I actually believed I would be able to avoid the race discussion with my daughter.

The way to eradicate racism isn’t to stop talking about it, no matter how much I wish that were true.

The first step is knowledge and awareness of the actual state of our nation and what our fellow Americans who happen to be black, face every single day. With that knowledge, we can stand up for what is right and moral and work towards a world where hate speech and behavior is no longer tolerated.

I don’t have the answers, but maybe there is power is in education, non-judgement, and treating others the way we want OUR kids to be treated.

  • I’m thankful for influences in my life like my grandmom who hosted a diversity summit in the 60’s and taught my mom that black lives were absolutely equal to white lives. (Regardless of what others in the deep south did or said)
  • I am thankful for people like Curtis, who didn’t judge me because of my naivety and ignorance but rather saw an opportunity to educate me about what happens outside of the small town of Sweetwater to people who happen to be black.
  • I am thankful for news reporters who share what’s going on around the world to remind me of what really matters.
  • I’m grateful for people who have the courage to stand up and tell their story of discrimination, unafraid of consequences.

What is the Authentic Selling Lesson from this?
People act (purchase) because of emotion and justify with logic. I did the same thing when I was emotionally moved to write this in the middle of the night, and I then defended my position with stats and numbers. Your prospects will behave the same with buying decisions. The emotional response is what gets someone to say yes

What’s the life lesson? 

Below are a few things I’ve will think differently about moving forward.

  • Don’t be so involved in our own world that when presented with true injustice, we roll our  eyes and turn a deaf ear….or don’t even know this injustice is going on
  • Don’t assume these men were “up to no good” and just sweep it under the rug.
  • Look at the numbers. It’s no wonder that Jessee Williams felt the need to clearly point out that black lives do indeed matter.
  • Black Lives Matter? You’re absolutely freaking right they do. 

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